Heartbreaking 2018 paved way for 2019 gold, says UNB coach

There was little rest for U Sports champion University of New Brunswick Reds after they claimed their third gold medal in five years.

They were able to leave Lethbridge, Alta., which hosted the championships, at 2 a.m. Monday but didn't arrive in Fredericton until 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Needless to say, the team didn't get a lot of sleep.

"Well we've got a couple hours," said Gardiner MacDougall, UNB head coach.

"You know that trip, I think, it was 22 hours from Lethbridge. But it's always rewarding when you have your last game a win."

The Reds downed the University of Alberta Golden Bears 4-2 Sunday.

Redemption

The win was extra special for the Reds after having to settle for bronze last year on home ice.

"You know they get the bronze, which was probably the start of this season, that game," said MacDougall.

"That helped, and I think just [as] a group they cared so much, they grew so much that they weren't going to be denied."

The win marked the fifth strait medal finish for the team.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Olson

The Reds are now tied for second for most appearances in finals, behind the University of Toronto, and they sit in third all time for championship victories, at eight.

MacDougall, who's coached the team since the 2000-01 season, said recruitment of players is an important aspect of the team's success, but so is finding the right support staff.

"I think we're really fortunate getting great people," said MacDougall.

"I think everybody just really cares about giving their best to the program, and that's what makes it work."

The future

MacDougall said the team has "a real good nucleus" going into next season, but several players are moving on after graduation.

He said the character of the players on the team has been an important component and it can be boiled down to one thing, grit.

"That is an indicator of, you know, high performance in not only sport but in anything really in life now, and that's the ability to find a way to get the job done."

Even though MacDougall has won seven U Sports Championships with the Reds he isn't showing signs of slowing down.

He said his next goal to accomplish is to "get the next win."