Watch fourteen National Program athletes live online November 5-8
The four best Canadian university hockey teams are set to do battle this week in Victoria as the University of Victoria hosts the 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport-Field Hockey Canada Women’s Field Hockey Championship.
Victoria’s Vikes, the nation’s number one ranked team, welcome competitors from the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Toronto (U of T) and the University of Guelph and throughout the rosters of the four finalists is a strong presence from Canada’s Women’s National Field Hockey Program.
Fourteen athletes in total represent Canada’s Senior National Team and Senior and Junior Development Squads.
“It’ll be nice to see everyone for sure,” says the University of Toronto’s Amanda Woodcroft, who is a member of Canada’s Senior Development Squad and competed at the 2015 Pan American Games on her home turf at U of T. “We’ve all been texting each other a lot see how everyone’s team has been doing.”
Toronto’s Varsity Blues bring five Canadian National Program athletes to Victoria. Woodcroft is joined by her younger sister and Junior Development Squad (JDS) member Nikki. Junior Emma Wingrave and senior squad athletes Tegan Stairs and Alison Lee round out the five.
The host Vikes are led by Senior Development Squad (SDS) members Kathleen Leahy and Rosie Beale.
“We have a brand new athletic facility and we have a really nice turf and we have a great venue to host,” says Leahy.”Our athletics program is pretty excited about field hockey and about hosting this week.”
Leahy and Beale are joined by Canadian juniors Alexis de Armond and Lindsay Cole.
Defending National champion UBC is led by Canadian National Team member Hannah Haughn, who, in her next international tournament with the team, will play in her 100th international match for Canada, and become the youngest Canadian woman ever to reach that milestone.
Haughn knows it will be a tough task facing her National Program teammates this week.
“Obviously I would prefer them to be on my team,” she says. “It’s always great to be reunited with the girls, especially the girls out east who we don’t see very often.”
“It will definitely be challenge and bit of a duel on the field but afterwards it will be nice to catch up with them for sure.”
Junior athlete Olivia Lane represents the National Program for the University of Guelph Gryphons.
Over the years, the CIS has proven to be a perfect training ground and springboard for National Athletes, giving them exposure and opportunity to grow with a high level of play.
This year, sixteen National Program athletes in total competed on CIS teams, with more athletes likely to be identified throughout the course of the tournament, asNational coaches and scouts are set to be on the sidelines.
“The development that you get going to university and competing at a bit of a higher level at the CIS with more mature players is really beneficial to our National program,” adds Leahy. “It’s nice to be able to pull players from different environments, where they’ve learned different skill sets and bring all of those together.”
The Championship tournament begins on Thursday at 4pm with Guelph facing UBC. The Championship game is scheduled for Sunday at 3:00pm PT. All matches will be broadcast live here.