Vikes, Thunderbirds renew field hockey rivalry

The shifting dynamic of the UVic Vikes women’s field hockey season returns to normal this weekend as the UBC Thunderbirds visit

Kathleen Leahy fires a pass against Mexico during the 2012 Junior PanAm championships in Mexico last week. Canada won silver. Leahy returns to the Vikes against UBC this weekend.

Kathleen Leahy fires a pass against Mexico during the 2012 Junior PanAm championships in Mexico last week. Canada won silver. Leahy returns to the Vikes against UBC this weekend.

The shifting dynamic of the UVic Vikes women’s field hockey season returns to normal this weekend as the UBC Thunderbirds visit for two games.

Start time is 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the UVic field hockey turf.

It’s the first meeting between the Vikes and T-Birds, who have each swept the Calgary Dinos for two wins.

Without the Alberta Pandas this year, the Canada West conference is limited to the Vikes (2-0), Thunderbirds (2-0) and Dinos (0-4).

“It’s a tough matchup this weekend,” said Vikes assistant coach Krista Thompson. “UBC is very strong.”

The Vikes will benefit wit the return of Oak Bay High grad Kathleen Leahy, who helped the junior national team win silver at the Junior Pan American Championships and qualify Canada to the 2013 Junior World Cup last week.

The Thunderbirds, however, have seven players returning from the junior national team. UBC is the Canada West

favourite with senior national team midfielders Poonam Sandhu and Natalie Sourisseau.

The top two teams will advance from Canada West to the CIS nationals in Ontario this year, which is good news for the Vikes, who hold a two-game lead on the Dinos.

“We still have to do our job against Calgary,” Thompson said. “They’re similar to us in that they are young.”

The Vikes have 11 new players, while Calgary lost eight from their silver-medal team that made the national finals last year. One of those new Vikes, incidentally, is second-year player Alanna MacDonald of Coquitlam, who was orphaned from the Alberta Pandas. The rest are rookies.

So to further develop the young core of players and keep the team on the field, the Vikes are competing in the premier division of the Vancouver Women’s Field Hockey Association.

It adds seven games and means the Vikes will be playing beyond Christmas, well past the usual end date. And that doesn’t include the Vikes weekly exhibition matches against the Island Wildcats, Victoria’s 2012 entry into the premier league.

UBC also plays in the Vancouver premier league, which boasts ex-CIS players, as well as junior and senior national players past, present and future. But the Vikes preference is to play CIS first, Thompson said.

“The premier league games are tough, and the Wildcats give us a very difficult game every Wednesday to help us develop,” Thompson said.

Later this fall, CIS and Field Hockey Canada will meet with the goal of preserving women’s field hockey as a Canada West sport.

“They would like to come up with a proposal to keep it healthy in Canada, as Field Hockey Canada would like to maintain their relationship with the CIS,” Thompson said.

The hope for the Vikes is to stay in the CIS, and use the premier league as a complementary resource. There’s no obvious answer to how that will shake out, except that the format of the nationals will probably change, Thompson added.

A secondary option could see the Vikes enter the premier league full time, but that is a less desirable fallback at this point.

“There’s a few models where teams aren’t in the CIS but are playing in the championships, such as UVic rowing,” Thompson said.

The Vikes annual Ivy League tour taken in August is also an important part of the schedule. This year the Vikes beat Harvard and Brown universities, but lost to Dartmouth and Yale.

sports@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read