In 1995 a group of 19 talented and dedicated soccer players13 Nova Scotians along with 6 imports from Ontario and Englandbrought home a national Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) championship title for Dalhousie University. This was the first, and to date the only, national win for a men’s university soccer team in Nova Scotia.
The Tigers squad had an undefeated regular season with eight wins and three ties. The team then hosted the Atlantic University Athletic Association (AUAA) championships at Dalhousie’s new artificial Wickwire field, defeating both UPEI and UNB without allowing any goals from either team. They would then advance to nationals at the University of Quebec, Trois-Rivieres.
The success of the Dalhousie team, while fuelled by a roster of raw talent, can be mainly attributed to the group’s excellent chemistry both on and off the field. The strong leadership of the coaching and management staff was also a key asset en route to .the CIAU win.
The Tigers arrived in Trois-Rivieres as the underdogs of the tournament and had to first face Ontario champions Brock University. After tying Brock 1-1, Trevor Chisholm‘s goalkeeping skills were invaluable for a 2-1 win over the highly skilled McGill team. Dalhousie was then set to battle the Alberta Golden Bears in the national final. The Golden Bears were the favoured team to win and champions of the powerhouse Canada West conference. In the group stages of the CIAU competition, Alberta, with seven national team players on its roster, had easily defeated the host team 6-1. Prior to the final, the Dalhousie team encountered members of the Golden Bears who prematurely congratulated the Nova Scotia team on their silver medal. Winger Paul English used this taunt as fuel to fire up his fellow teammates and rally their spirits for the big game.
The unity of the team was put to the test the next day as Dalhousie took on Alberta in a howling snowstorm. Dalhousie proved they had the greater thirst for gold by grabbing an early lead thanks to a goal by winger Chad Thorpe, strong defence from players like Chris Devlin and Stephen Cormier, and intimidating goalkeeping by Mike Hudson.
The Golden Bears tied the game in the 67th minute, but the Tigers regained their lead in the 81st minute when Dartmouth-born Graeme Allardice, who was celebrating his 21st birthday that day, made his first goal of the season to secure Dalhousie’s place as national champions. Mark Ellis then ensured the win with another goal in the final minutes of the game. The Dalhousie squad was soon singing “Silver Bears” after defeating the Alberta team 3-1.
The team included AUAA All-Stars Trevor Chisholm, Paul English, Chris Devlin, Marc Rainford (team captain), and Ante Jazic. Jazic, a midfielder hailing from Bedford, was also named AUAA Rookie of the Year and CIAU 2nd Team All Canadian, later playing professionally for 16 years. Paul English and David McFarland earned CIAU Tournament All-Star status, with English later becoming CIAU MVP for 1996.
Players: Graeme Allardice, Mike Ayyash, Trevor Chisholm, Stephen Cormier, Chad Denny, Chris Devlin, Mark Ellis, Paul English, Jeff Hibberts, Mike Hudson, Jeff Hyles, Ante Jazic, Gregor MacAskill, David McFarlane, Sean Pedersen, Eric Pinfold, Marc Rainford, Matthew Serieys, and Chad Thorpe. Coaching and Management Staff: Darrell H. Cormier (Assistant Coach), Ian Kent (Head Coach), Paul Repp (Manager), Jamie Sawler (Assistant Coach), and Keith Souchereau (Assistant Coach).
• CIAU national champions, 1995
• Only NS mens soccer team to win CIAU title
• Defeated Alberta Golden Bears 3-1 in a snow storm
• 2 CIAU Tournament All-Stars
• CIAU Tournament MVP
• CIAU 2nd Team All-Canadian
• AUAA champions, 1995
• Undefeated regular season in 1995: 8 wins, 3 ties
• 5 AUAA All-Stars & AUAA Rookie of the Year