Spring convocation postponed to avoid playoff hockey conflict
The University of Winnipeg will reschedule its 2019 Spring Convocation ceremony to ensure it doesn’t conflict with a deep Stanley Cup playoff run by the local NHL franchise. The annual two-day academic celebration was initially planned for June 13 – 14, but will be held over the summer break to ensure diehard hockey fans aren’t torn between attending the graduation and expressing enthusiastic support for the championship-contending Jets.
Though a scheduling conflict is not assured, it is a distinct possibility. Last year’s NHL playoff tournament concluded on June 7, but previous Stanley Cup winners were crowned on June 11 (2017), June 12 (2016), and June 15 (2015). While UWinnipeg’s convocation ceremonies are typically held during the day, associated gatherings are held in the evenings — which is prime time for playoff hockey fans. As well, many hardcore supporters require daytime flexibility to sleep in after late-night “white-outs,” stencil letters on their “Go Jets Go” placards, and find the best deals on zany wigs and costumes.
Delaying the convocation celebration wasn’t a decision the University’s administration took lightly. Prior to a unanimous Senate vote on the matter, several unorthodox ideas were floated in hopes of preserving the normal schedule — including allowing graduates and faculty members to wear hockey jerseys instead of traditional academic regalia during the ceremonies, displaying playoff coverage on giant screens above the podium, and awarding an honorary degree to Don Cherry.
Ultimately, a potential date conflict was deemed too big a risk, according to Susan Ewanika, Manager of Conference & Event Services.
“If the Jets are playing for the cup that night, we can’t be responsible for making people late for the broadcast or rushing their face paint and it ends up all uneven,” said Ewanika.
While mid-July is not an ideal time to hold the University’s largest annual event — given that most students will have left campus and many people will be on summer vacation — the four-week delay is sufficient to guarantee no overlap with a Stanley Cup parade down Portage Avenue.
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