Dorothy “Dot” Asuma paved the way for international women’s field hockey in Canada and for her contributions and dedications to the sport, is being inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame in the Builder’s Category.
A resident of the Sunshine Coast, Asuma was the women’s national team manager in the 1970s and was crucial in bringing the English National Team to Canada for a cross country tour in 1974. The English team landed in Halifax and the tour included stops in St. John’s, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary and Victoria among other Canadian cities. It was truly a cross-nation event.
“That was the one tour that we were able to do,” said Asuma. “Bring another team here, have our girls experience and watch how good some of these girls are. That English team was very good.”
That experience opened the program’s eyes to what truly elite international hockey could look like. That experience among others led the IFWHA Women’s World Championships to be held held in Vancouver in 1979 and the natural choice was to make Asuma the Chair of the organizing committee for the tournament. She convinced Canada and the International Field Hockey world that Canada can host a major Field Hockey Tournament. “When we started, it was just so huge,”said Asuma. “I couldn’t just get my head around it. And then as we started to pull it apart, put everything down, like ‘what do we do?’”
However it was Asuma’s dedication, leadership and positive attitude that helped make the tournament a success. It was the first major women’s international hockey games to be held in Canada and set the foundation in which to grow the sport domestically.
“We have instances where sometimes a person isn’t quite suited for what we thought she could do,”Asuma said. “We make changes and we did that and without any hard feelings whatsoever. We found that it’s better to face these things because we’ve got a long way to go with this tournament, and we’ve got to make sure that everybody’s in a position that they’re suited to be in.”
Field hockey brings people together and Asuma said that’s what made her fall in love with the game and she still does to this day. “I’m not as involved anymore, but I’ve been there and I’m always willing to help,” she said. Asuma’s induction into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame is a celebration of a pioneer of women’s field hockey.