Cal Ice Hockey won big in Big Freeze, Women's Rugby 7s are 4th in the country

A generic hockey photo since I forgot to ask Cal Ice Hockey permission to use their photos - Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

'Tis time to give some love to a couple of Cal club sports in this special Cal Olympic Sports Recap.

We typically focus our attention to the 29 Cal Varsity Sports. They are not the only athletes that represent our beloved university, however. In a also very competitive club sports scene, many athletes, who probably could have played sports in some Division II or III schools but chose to come to Berkeley for the academics, wear the Blue and Gold in representing Cal in some less heralded arena.

While I was a student back in the early '00, I do recall attending the Big Freeze (possibly the best nickname for a Cal-'Furd rivalry sporting event) in my freshman year. Back when the match takes place in the much more convenient to get to Berkeley Iceland, rather than somewhere in Oakland, the Big Freeze was the one collegiate hockey match that was kind of on my radar (I did get into College Hockey a lot more as a grad student at Yale living on the same block as the hockey rink...this was still a long time before Yale somehow won the NCAA for the first time last year).

The only Cal club sports event where I willingly paid a few bucks to see, was a men's volleyball match against UCSB (I think). That was a match that featured a certain American Idol reject performing at half-time where he was also presented with a contract offer. Unlike the bulk of the crowd, I actually hung around for the second half, although I am only sort of sure that it was a Cal victory.

Nevertheless, let's take a quick glance at some of the Cal club sports achievements during the fall of 2013.

If you are a member of a Cal club sports (and I'll count E-Sports as a thing) that won something this fall. Feel free to share that in our comment section below (and you will be included if we do this post again in the future).

Cal Ice Hockey

Cal may not have won the Big Game, or the Big Spike, or the Big Splash in 2013, but Cal destroyed 'Furd 15-6 in the Big Freeze.

How about that?

I can't find an official boxscore as to who scored all those goals, but you can find some photos from that match and more from the Cal Ice Hockey Facebook page. Their main webpage (does not appear to be as up-to-date) is here.

They do have some pretty neat looking gear.

The Cal Ice Hockey season is on going for those interested in checking them out.

Cal Women's Rugby

During the Thanksgiving break, I was channel surfing one day and found that ESPNU was broadcasting some college rugby. It was the USA Rugby 7s tournament which the Cal men did not participate in (possibly due to the ongoing feud between Cal Rugby and USA Rugby which led to the formation of the Varsity Cup that was separate from the USA Rugby National Championship in Rugby Union/15s). Somewhat surprising however, a Cal Women's team was present. You can watch the Cal Women Rugby in action here via ESPN3. The women's semifinal match against James Madison University starts at around 1 hour 4 minute mark.

Sadly, the Bears lost 15-12 to JMU and eventually finished 4th.

There is also this following video floating around the internet:

I don't know about Cal administration adding any varsity sports any time soon, particularly a sports that include that many athletes. Still, Cal Women's Rugby becoming a varsity sports had been brought up during the sports cutting fiasco few years ago. To my outsider knowledge, I am not sure the Cal Rugby men program is particularly in favor of their women's counterpart's fight to become a varsity sports.

It should be pointed out, however, that the upcoming Olympics will include Rugby Sevens for BOTH the men and the women. From a feature on the Cal Women's Rugby head coach Ellen Owens in the UC Berkeley New Center article earlier this month:

It helps that rugby's an Olympic sport again: It will be included in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro after an absence of nearly a century, and Owens thinks Cal rugby could be represented. For instance, Irene Gardner, a 2007 Berkeley grad who currently plays on the women's national sevens team, is a strong contender. (Sevens is the rugby style that will be played at the Olympics.) And several current and former Cal players have been invited to national women's team camps, giving them a shot at team membership.

"There's a good chance that more than one member of the 2016 squad could be a Cal grad," says Owens.

The Cal Women Rugby will also shift their focus to the traditional Rugby Union for the spring season.

Find more info on Cal Women's Rugby here.

On the topic of potential new varsity sports at Cal (for an even 30), I can see maybe Sand Volleyball (the newly established NCAA championship that is not called "Beach Volleyball" so the schools in the middle of the country won't feel left out) as a new sports first, particularly if Cal Volleyball would need to fight with some other program for recruits who want to pursue an Olympic path via beach rather than indoor volleyball. I believe that Cal Sand Volleyball is a newish program at the club level that allows some of the current volleyball players to get some experience playing on sand during their offseason, though Cal doesn't really have good facilities other than the courts next to Clark Kerr.


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