By Carter Brooks
Photo by Jeff Miller
The University of Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team will begin its preseason schedule on the other side of the world. Following similarity in the footsteps of the women's hockey team (who travelled to Finland in 2017), the Bisons will fly to the United Kingdom for exhibition contests with teams from the British Elite Ice Hockey League.
Before returning home to open the 2018-19 season on the road against the University of Calgary Dinos on September 28th, the Bisons will play two home-and-home weekend sets against the University of Regina Cougars. Those back-to-back weekend matchups will take place mid-September, closing out Manitoba's preseason schedule. The Bisons' home opener will go October 12th from Wayne Fleming Arena as the Herd takes on the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
This past June, Brett Stovin and the Bisons organized a golf tournament at Bridges Golf Course as a fundraiser for the upcoming trip to Europe, to help with the costs associated with the team's European endeavour.
While in Europe, the Bisons will face off twice against the Belfast Giants and now the Manchester Storm and the Fife Flyers. Although earlier landing dates with other EIHL clubs, some scheduling changes needed to be made and both Manchester and Fife gladly welcomed the University of Manitoba into its own exhibition season.
With a bevy of Canadian talent representing both the Flyers and Storm - led by Fife's Winnipeg-born Head Coach Todd Dutiaume - the 2017-18 Gardiner and Patton Conference champions will play host to a Bisons squad coming off of a 17-14 2017-18 campaign that saw the U of M knocked out of the Canada West quarterfinals by Mount Royal in mid-February.
Interestingly enough, the Flyers (33-21-2), Storm (35-16-5) and Giants (34-20-2) all posted extremely similar 2017-18 regular season records. Although serving as the EIHL's newest team (founded in 2015) Manchester held the upper hand in the postseason, finishing as the runner-up to back-to-back British Champion Cardiff Devils.
With upcoming dates in Europe, the University of Manitoba Bisons will head overseas in mid-August in preparation for their four contests in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. A full schedule can be seen below.
August 21st vs. Manchester Storm
August 23rd vs. Fife Flyers
August 25th vs. Belfast Giants
August 26th vs. Belfast Giants