NPH CIS Preview: Mount Royal Cougars

Last Season (CCAA)












W 8




Head Coach: Marc Dobell

Assistant Coaches: Tyler McVicar, Craig Jantzen, Cam Dodd, Mike Myers.

2011-12 Record: Regular Season: 9-1 (CCAA: Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference – South).

Key Players: Nick Loewen, Awet Abraha, Olawafemi Ogun, Jalen Gardner

Incoming Recruits: 

  • Jalen Gardener – 6’2”, Calgary, AB / Bowness
  • Matt Matear – 6’5”, Calgary, AB / Bishop O’Byrne
  • Deng Awak – 6’1”, Brooks, AB / St. Joseph’s Composite
  • Ray Goff – 6’7”, Okotoks, AB / Foothills Composite
  • Aloysius Callaghan – 6’0”, Calgary, AB / Lakeland College
  • Deiter Posein – 6’9”, Calgary, AB / Bishop Grandin
  • Noah Lewis – 6’4”. Comox, BC / Highland

Departures: Steve Trinidad, Kyle Newman

Mount Royal Cougars enter their first year in the CIS
Mount Royal Cougars enter their first year in the CIS

Entering their first season as a member of the CIS, the Mount Royal Cougars have plenty of new faces, and head coach Marc Dobell will work to keep them competitive this season, with an eye towards building the program long term.

The new look Cougars will feature a total of nine new players — including five first year players — but of all of the losses from last year’s team, Coach Dobell acknowledged that 2011/12 leading scorer Steve Trinidad (20.3 points per game) will be the toughest to replace.

“We lost Steve Trinidad who was our leading scorer, and by all accounts our top player last year, so that was a big loss for us. Of course we lost numerous other people, but Steve being a real key loss for us. “

Coach Dobell identified the mix of veterans and first year players that he expects to contribute right away, with 6’5”, fifth year forward Nick Loewen leading the way.

“He was an All-Conference player last year in the ACAC and we expect him to be a very solid player at the CIS level as well.”

Coach Dobell continued, “With our first year players, we think all of them are guys that are going to compete at the CIS level and make significant contributions throughout their careers, and a couple of them are ready to play right away. Jalen Gardener has been playing well, as well as Matt Matear.”

The other key contributors are expected to be: NAIT transfer Deng Awak, who Coach Dobell is hoping to convert to a lead guard; third year forward Olawafemi Ogun, who is returning to the Cougars after one year away from the team; and returning third year wing Awet Abraha.

In terms of style of play, look for the Cougars to play an aggressive and uptempo game. Coach Dobell emphasised the message that he has been giving to his team.

“We want to be proactive in whatever we do, so we don’t want to sit back and react. We want to be the instigator at both ends of the floor.”

Although Mount Royal is located less than ten minutes from the University of Calgary, the Cougars will not be joining their Alberta neighbours in the Prairie division, but will instead compete against the British Columbia based teams in Canada West’s Pacific Division. Coach Dobell mentioned that this will give his team the opportunity to build some unique rivalries.

“Calgary, I think, will always be a game that will be circled on our calendar with the local rivalry, and a lot of familiar faces across the street. We don’t really have that provincial rivalry with the Bears and Lethbridge because we’re only going to see them once a year.  Our rivalries right now might be the CCAA schools that have moved on (to the CIS). UBCO, UNBC, those are the schools that we’re a little more familiar with. We’re hoping in a few years our rivalries will be with the UBC and Victoria and the top-dwellers.”

Coach Dobell recognized that leading a first year program also presents a unique set of challenges.

“We’re excited about the move and looking forward to the new competition, but we’re certainly not blind, and know that we need to make a lot of progress in terms of our program, with our recruits, development, and everything else that goes along with being competitive in the CIS. It will be a process for us to get to where we want to be, but we’re excited about being a part of it.”

The Mount Royal Cougars will tip-off their inaugural campaign in the Canada West on November 3rd, when they host the UFV Cascades at Kenyon Court.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.