Home game drought

Over 9,100 people watched the Gaels' Homecoming football game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees in 2010.
Over 9,100 people watched the Gaels' Homecoming football game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees in 2010.

Since 2005, Queen’s Athletics has submitted a scheduling request for a home football game to coincide with Homecoming (or Fauxcoming) weekend. This year, they didn’t. The team hosts the Laurier Golden Hawks at Richardson Stadium on Saturday and won’t return until they play the Waterloo Warriors on Oct. 15.

Athletics director Leslie Dal Cin said the decision to refrain from a request for a late-September home game was done in support of the University’s decision to cancel Homecoming.

“Did the decision to move away from Homecoming have an implication on our hosting? Of course it did,” she said.

Dal Cin said University administration didn’t specifically ask Athletics to avoid a home game in late September.

“There was no deliberate attempt to dodge the game,” she said.

She said Athletics didn’t expect the football team to be scheduled for a three-game road stint between Sept. 17 and Oct. 15. The only other school with three consecutive away games is York University.

Teams are required to submit requests for home or away games to Ontario University Athletics (OUA) a year in advance.

OUA sports programming staff member Michael Bianchi said schools can submit as many requests as they want, but they generally only request a home game for their Homecoming weekend. In the past three years, the league hasn’t declined a Homecoming request to any team, Bianchi said.

In 2006, Queen’s submitted five requests for home games, asking to play at Richardson Stadium on Sept. 16, 2006; Oct. 13, 2007; Sept. 27, 2008; Sept. 26, 2009; and Sept. 25, 2010.

The request to play on Sept. 26, 2009 was withdrawn after the University cancelled Homecoming in November 2008. The request to play on Sept. 25, 2010 wasn’t withdrawn despite the absence of an official Homecoming that year.

Last year, the Homecoming football game was the most widely attended home game of the season by a wide margin. The Sept. 25, 2010 game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees drew 9,103 people. Only 5,427 people came to the Sept. 12 home opener against the Windsor Lancers. Richardson Stadium’s capacity is 10,258.

Head coach Pat Sheahan said “hopefully the Homecoming, one day, will come back.”

“Over the last two years, we’ve had some great home crowds,” he said. “The more people in the stands, the better the guys feel about playing for Queen’s.”

Drew Soleyn, assistant manager of interuniversity sport, said Athletics requested a Sept. 5 game to coincide with Frosh Week. He said they requested an Oct. 22 game “to make sure that if we are hosting, we’re hosting towards the end of the season as we get ready for playoffs.”

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