A classic for a quarter-century
The 25th anniversary of the Duckworth Challenge goes February 4
On February 4, the University of Manitoba Bisons take on their cross-town rival, the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, in the annual Duckworth Challenge.
The event has been a fan favorite for the past 25 years. It was created by the late Dr. Henry Edmison “Harry” Duckworth.
Born in Brandon, Duckworth received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1935, a Bachelor of Science degree in 1936, and a teaching certificate in 1937 from the University of Manitoba.
In 1965, he was appointed vice-president academic at the University of Manitoba. He was Chancellor of the University of Manitoba from 1986 to 1992. He was also president of the University of Winnipeg from 1971-1981.
Duckworth served as President of the Royal Society of Canada and was inducted into the Order of Canada and the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Manitoba (1978) and Brandon University (1982), and a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).
The Duckworth Challenge, which he started in 1991-1992, began as a way to encourage a friendly rivalry between the two universities. Originally it was a competition between volleyball and basketball – with each university alternating the hosting duties – more recently, women’s soccer was added to the lineup and this past year was the first women’s university soccer match played in a former World Cup venue.
“It is always exciting for the coaches, players and staff to see the presidents of both universities, members of senior administration, faculty and staff supporting the event,” said Bison Sports Athletic Director Coleen Dufresne. “It is part of a concerted effort by both universities to promote the high level of varsity sport within Winnipeg. Any game between the two universities is always intense but the Duckworth games bring an elevated level of excitement.”
The Bisons have won 14 challenges of the 25 years. The Wesmen have won six. Five times, the teams have tied and no official winner could be declared.
So far this year, the Bisons lead 1-nothing from a win that came from the October soccer match up.
Dufresne is looking forward to this year’s games: “The crowd is typically larger, the student support is higher and there’s the added dimension of pride and bragging rights for the winner!”
For a further look at this year’s teams and what to expect in terms of pre-game entertainment and activities, click here.