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05-24-2008

Great Lakes Scientists Hit the Ice

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/iaglrhockey.jp g ]

Usually these types of events are reserved for Olympic or world championship games, but participants at this year's annual International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) Conference have placed themselves against each other in test of international collaboration: an ice hockey game of Team IAGLR Canada versus Team IAGLR USA. Scientists hit the ice

The game closed the 51st Annual IAGLR Conference, which was held at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, from May 19 to 23. At the conference more than 400 scientific presentations on recent research on the Great Lakes/St Lawrence River ecosystem were presented, in addition to two special presentations by Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar and Waterkeepers Alliances founder Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Clarkson University Associate Professor Michael Twiss organized this inaugural match. "There is indeed some professional rivalry among scientists in these two countries that share the largest source of surface freshwater on Earth," said Twiss. "I thought it would be nice to put that to a test that also gets us physically active during a week of meetings. The idea of a hockey game was welcomed by many of my colleagues and IAGLR and they all helped make this possible. Since some of us have benefited from an IAGLR Scholarship during our studies, I thought it would be a nice way to give something back to this organization."

The teams vied for the '"Defy Cup," a trophy created from Potsdam Sandstone and Adirondack maple, donated by Clarkson University President Tony Collins. Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, in the northern reaches of New York State, has 84 years of tradition playing collegiate hockey and the Defy Cup befits this initiative.

"We have balanced the teams with the intention of maximizing the skill equality," explained Twiss. "This meant trading players of one nationality to play on the other team. This may seem to defy convention, but international collaboration is not new to these researchers. These two nations have agreed to peacefully share these waters since the War of 1812, and from an environmental view point, the Boundary Water Treaty of 1909 specifically outlines sharing these waters to protect their integrity.

"Much of the research presented at each IAGLR conference is conducted to great extent by collaborative efforts among governmental, academic and non-governmental organizations between both countries - something that most people may not be fully aware of. This is an exciting test of that international collaboration. And, of course, all players want to win the Defy Cup! We are already looking forward to next year's game at the IAGLR Conference in Toledo, Ohio."

Team IAGLR USA rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game 4-4 in the second period but fell short despite scoring a goal in the last minute of play to surrender a 6-5 Team IAGLR Canada victory.

Photo captions: Betsy McGregor, mother of former Clarkson Golden Knights Men's Hockey Captain Mac Faulkner, drops the puck at the ceremonial face off with Team IAGLR USA player Professor Mike McKay of Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio) (left) and Team IAGLR Canada Graduate student Shannon LeBlond of Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario).

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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