U Prairie Challenge kicks off this fall

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: July 7, 2022 1:45 p.m.

The U Prairie Challenge celebrates university sports in Saskatchewan.
The U Prairie Challenge celebrates university sports in Saskatchewan. University Advancement and Communications

The University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan have jointly announced the launch of the U Prairie Challenge, a new, season-long, points-based competition between the U of R and the USask involving 11 different men’s and women’s sports. The annual series will celebrate university sports in Saskatchewan with the goal of generating greater spirit and support for varsity sport and student-athletes. Launching in Saskatoon on September 2 with women’s soccer, the official celebration and kickoff event will be held on September 17 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina as the U of S Huskies and U of R Rams go head-to-head on Football Weekend in Saskatchewan.

“Varsity sports are a source of great pride for our campus communities,” said Dr. Jeff Keshen, University of Regina president and vice-chancellor. “Our student-athletes are deeply engaged with their universities — training and competing at the highest level while pursuing their studies with the same dedication and focus. As ambassadors for our universities and role models for youth in the province, they deserve more of our support, whether that be in the form of donations from individuals or organizations, coverage by local media, or fans in the stands.”

The original idea for the U Prairie Challenge came to Dr. Keshen after he drew inspiration from similar varsity sports rivalry competitions in the U.S. — as well as those closer to home, including the Crowchild Classic between the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. When he brought the idea to the University of Saskatchewan, President Dr. Peter Stoicheff was quick to get on board and express his school’s enthusiasm.

“This Challenge will offer new opportunities to connect, compete, and celebrate, building pride in our programs and opening the door to new fans and new supporters, as we highlight and spotlight one of the best rivalries in the country,” said Dr. Peter Stoicheff. “Like the Cougars and Rams, our Huskie student-athletes are outstanding players and also wonderful ambassadors for our university every time they put on a jersey. We are extremely proud of their efforts, on the field and the track, in the gymnasium and the arena, and in our classrooms, labs and research facilities.”

The tournament presents exciting possibilities for student athletes representing both schools. “I’m super excited about it because it’s a good rivalry we have and USask are a great team to play,” said Allyson Schneider, a mid-fielder with the U of R Cougars Women’s soccer team. “Being able to compete at the one of the highest levels in Canada, at the university level, is an opportunity I never thought I could have. As an athlete, it means the world to me.”

The 2022-2023 U Prairie Challenge begins with a women’s soccer match in Saskatoon on September 2.

The official kickoff event takes place on Saturday, Sept.17 at 7 p.m. when the Rams host the Huskies at Mosaic Stadium in Regina as part of the recently announced Football Weekend in Saskatchewan. In partnership with the Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. (REAL), Saturday will feature a pre-game concert and tailgate party outside of the stadium along with other activities to enhance the fan experience. REAL will announce concert details at a later date.

Football fans have the opportunity to take in multiple games that weekend at a discounted price. On Friday, September 16 the Saskatchewan Roughriders face off against the Edmonton Elks. Games continue through Saturday when the Saskatoon Hilltops visit the Regina Thunder in the afternoon and the Huskies play the Rams Saturday evening. Bundled tickets are available now.

Football player U of R Rams
The U Prairie Challenge is a season-long, multi-sport competition between U of R and USask. Photo by University of Regina Athletics

The U Prairie Challenge season series will culminate in Saskatoon where a winner will be crowned after the Huskies host the Cougars in Men’s Hockey at Merlis Belsher Place in early 2023. The U Prairie Challenge kickoff and final events will alternate locations between Regina and Saskatoon on an annual basis.

More information is available at uregina.ca and usask.ca where fans can also purchase tickets to all U Prairie Challenge events, follow their favourite teams, and support our student-athletes.

Save the Date

U Prairie Challenge kick-off event
Saturday, September 17
Mosaic Stadium, Regina, SK

Visit the U Prairie Challenge site for the full season schedule and ticket information.