Field Hockey Canada > FHC-CIS Women’s Championship preview

FHC-CIS Women’s Championship preview

October 31, 2012 | Field Hockey Canada |

OTTAWA (CIS) – Four usual suspects and a new kid on the block will battle for the McCrae Cup later this week when the top university teams in the country gather in Toronto for the Field Hockey Canada – CIS championship.

The five-team tournament gets under way on Thursday at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre with the first of three days of round-robin competition. The top two squads at the end of the preliminary round advance to Sunday’s gold-medal final at 1 p.m. All 12 matches from the tourney will be webcast live on

The reigning champion UBC Thunderbirds have been seeded No. 1 for the event, followed by the No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues, No. 3 Guelph Gryphons, No. 4 Victoria Vikes and No. 5 Western Mustangs.

UBC (13), Toronto (11) and Victoria (11) have combined to win 35 of 37 national banners since the inaugural CIS championship back in 1975. Dalhousie (1976) and Alberta (2005) are the only other schools whose name appears on the championship trophy.

Guelph’s history of success on the national stage is both more modest and recent but the Gryphons, although they are still looking for that elusive first McCrae Cup title, have now been a CIS powerhouse for almost a decade. Guelph will compete at the CIS tournament for the seventh time in the last eight years and in its last five appearances has claimed a silver medal and a pair of bronze.

And then there’s Western. Thanks to a 2-0 win over Waterloo in Sunday’s OUA bronze-medal game, the Mustangs qualified for the nationals for only the second time in program history. The ‘Stangs went 0-3 in their first appearance in 2003 en route to a sixth-place finish.

The 2012 championship kicks off with a bang Thursday at 9:30 a.m. when top-ranked UBC opens its title defence against No. 2 Toronto. Opening day will also see Guelph battle Victoria at 11:50 a.m., Toronto take on Western at 3:30 p.m., and UBC face Victoria at 5:50 p.m.

The Thunderbirds beat Calgary 3-1 in last year’s title match to claim their record 13th McCrae Cup. They resumed their domination this season in the three-team Canada West conference, winning their four contests against Victoria by a combined score of 15-3 and their four games versus Calgary by a 19-2 margin.

While they lost CIS player of the year and national team member Robyn Pendleton following their 2011 triumph, the T-Birds found a new leader this fall in Kate Gillis, a Boston College transfer who was named Canada West MVP after scoring a league-leading seven goals in eight outings.

“The thing that she does for us is lead on and off the field,” said UBC head coach Hash Kanjee of the daughter of Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis. “She’s always ready to play and I think the younger players see that. And of course she has a great skill set and can really put the ball in the back of the net.”

In his 20th season at the helm, Kanjee has guided his troops to a remarkable 14 straight CIS tournament appearances since 1998. Over that period, UBC has reached the podium 12 times, including eight gold medals.

Championship host Toronto is also undefeated going into the CIS tourney. The Varsity Blues kept a 12-0 mark in league play before adding two wins in the playoffs, including a 5-2 domination of Guelph in the OUA final.

Playing in front their fans, the OUA champs hope to fare better than a year ago when they entered the national competition as the No. 1 seed but finished a disappointing fourth. The last time the Blues competed for CIS supremacy on home turf, in 2007, they thrilled their supporters with an exciting 1-0 overtime victory against Guelph in the championship final.

Guelph is led by forward Brittany Seidler, who was voted OUA MVP this season after scoring a league-high 19 goals.

“We have a very strong team,” said Gryphon head coach Michelle Turley. “The enthusiasm amongst the group is high. I’m very optimistic about our chances.”

Victoria returns to the CIS championship this year after missing the event for only the second time in 29 years in 2011. The Vikes field a very young team, with 12 players in either their first or second university season.

Western went 1-4 combined against Toronto and Guelph this fall. The Mustangs defeated the Gryphons 4-2 in their regular season finale on Oct. 21 but Guelph quickly avenged that loss six days later with a 4-1 head-to-head win of its own in the OUA semifinals.

Official championship website:


No. 1 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champions)

Head Coach: Hash Kanjee (20th season)

Regular season record: 8-0-0

Regular season standing: 1st Canada West

Playoff record: No playoffs in CW

Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW

Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 4-0 (4-0 vs. Victoria)

Conference award winners: Kate Gillis (MVP), Hanna Haughn (rookie)

Conference all-stars: Miranda Mann (D), Hanna Haughn (M), Natalie Sourisseau (M), Kate Gillis (F), Poonam Sandhu (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 33 since inaugural championship in 1975

CIS championship best result: 13-time champions (2011, ‘09, ‘06, ‘04, ‘03, ‘01, ‘99, ‘98, ‘90, ‘83, ‘82, ‘80, ‘78)

CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (champions)

CIS championship sequence: 15th straight appearance

No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA champions)

Head Coach: John DeSouza (7th season)

Regular season record: 12-0-0

Regular season standing: 1st OUA

Playoff record: 2-0

Playoff finish: OUA champions

Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 5-0 (3-0 vs. Guelph, 2-0 vs. Western)

Conference award winners: None

Conference all-stars: Kaelan Watson (D), Amanda Woodcroft (M), Tegan Stairs (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 36

CIS championship best result: 11-time champions (2010, ‘07, ‘96, ‘93, ‘88, ‘86, ‘85, ‘81, ‘79, ‘77, ‘75)

CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (4th place)

CIS championship sequence: 9th straight appearance

No. 3 Guelph Gryphons (OUA finalists)

Head Coach: Michelle Turley (9th season)

Regular season record: 8-3-1

Regular season standing: 2nd OUA

Playoff record: 1-1

Playoff finish: OUA silver medallists

Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 2-4 (0-3 vs. Toronto, 2-1 vs. Western)

Conference award winners: Brittany Seidler (MVP), Allison Chute (rookie)

Conference all-stars: Brittany Seidler (F), Allison Chute (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 7

CIS championship best result: 1-time finalists (2007)

CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (bronze medallists)

CIS championship sequence: 6th straight appearance

No. 4 Victoria Vikes (second place Canada West)

Head Coach: Lynne Beecroft (29th season)

Regular season record: 3-4-1

Regular season standing: 2nd Canada West

Playoff record: No playoffs in CW

Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW

Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 0-4 (0-4 vs. UBC)

Conference award winners: None

Conference all-stars: Carly Krestanovich (D), Kyla Kirby (D), Annie Walters-Shumka (D)

CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 31

CIS championship best result: 11-time champions (2008, ‘02, ‘00, ‘97, ‘95, ‘94, ‘92, ‘91, ‘89, ‘87, ‘84)

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (4th place)

CIS championship sequence: Return after 1-year absence (28th appearance in last 30 years)

No. 5 Western Mustangs (OUA bronze medallists)

Head Coach: Jeff Pacheco (4th season)

Regular season record: 7-4-1

Regular season standing: 4th OUA

Playoff record: 2-1

Playoff finish: OUA bronze medallists

Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 1-4 (0-2 vs. Toronto, 1-2 vs. Guelph)

Conference award winners: Jeff Pacheco (coach)

Conference all-stars: Katelynn Roganowicz (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2012): 2

CIS championship best result: 6th place (2003)

CIS championship last appearance: 2003 (6th place)

CIS championship sequence: Return after 8-year absence


2011 UBC

2010 Toronto

2009 UBC

2008 Victoria

2007 Toronto

2006 UBC

2005 Alberta                                       

2004 UBC                                                      

2003 UBC                                                      

2002 Victoria                                      

2001 UBC                                                      

2000 Victoria                                      

1999 UBC                                                      

1998 UBC                                                      

1997 Victoria                                      

1996 Toronto                                      

1995 Victoria                                      

1994 Victoria                                      

1993 Toronto                                      

1992 Victoria                                      

1991 Victoria                                      

1990 UBC                                                      

1989 Victoria                                      

1988 Toronto                                      

1987 Victoria                                      

1986 Toronto                                      

1985 Toronto                                      

1984 Victoria                                      

1983 UBC                                                      

1982 UBC                                                      

1981 Toronto                                      

1980 UBC                                                      

1979 Toronto                                      

1978 UBC                                                      

1977 Toronto                                      

1976 Dalhousie                                  

1975 Toronto 


Wednesday, Oct. 31

18:30 All-Canadian Awards Banquet (Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel)

Thursday, Nov. 1

9:30 Game 1: UBC vs. Toronto ( webcast)

11:50 Game 2: Guelph vs. Victoria ( webcast)

15:30 Game 3: Toronto vs. Western ( webcast)

17:50 Game 4: UBC vs. Victoria ( webcast)

Friday, Nov. 2

10:00 Game 5: Guelph vs. Toronto ( webcast)

12:20 Game 6: Victoria vs. Western ( webcast)

16:00 Game 7: UBC vs. Guelph ( webcast)

Saturday, Nov. 3

10:00 Game 8: Guelph vs. Western ( webcast)

12:20 Game 9: Toronto vs. Victoria ( webcast)

16:00 Game 10: UBC vs. Western ( webcast)

17:30 Tie-Breaking Strokes (if necessary)

Sunday, Nov. 4

10:00 Bronze medal ( webcast)

13:00 Championship final ( webcast)

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 54 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit or follow us on: