Field Hockey Canada > Preview of the FHC - CIS Women's Field Hockey Championship

The race is on for the 2011 McCrae Cup and, to no one’s surprise, the Toronto Varsity Blues and UBC Thunderbirds are once again among the favourites in the five-team battle for CIS women’s field hockey supremacy this week. 

The Field Hockey Canada – CIS championship, hosted for the third time in history – and for the first since 1994 – by the University of Calgary, gets under way Thursday at Hawkings Field. The round-robin portion of the tournament runs until Saturday, with the event culminating Sunday at 1 p.m. Mountain with the gold-medal final.

The top two squads at the end of the preliminary round will square off in the title match.

Competing for the McCrae Cup will be the reigning national champion and top-seeded Varsity Blues, the second-ranked Thunderbirds, as well as the No. 3 Calgary Dinos, No. 4 Guelph Gryphons and No. 5 Alberta Pandas. 

The championship kicks off with a bang Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Mountain when Toronto opens its title defence against UBC. Other opening day matchups will feature Calgary-Guelph at 11:50 a.m., UBC-Alberta at 3:30 p.m., and Toronto-Guelph at 5:50 p.m.

A year ago, the Varsity Blues edged the T-Birds 2-1 in the gold-medal match to claim their 11th CIS banner, which tied them with Victoria for second on the all-time list of national championships won, one title behind UBC.

The Blues are red-hot going into this week, having crushed Western 7-1 in the OUA semifinals and Guelph 6-0 in the conference final. Toronto was as dominant on defence as it was on offence throughout conference play, allowing a remarkably stingy three goals against in 12 games while finishing second in league scoring with 51 markers en route to an 11-1 record.

The Blues’ lone loss came in their regular season finale, a 2-1 result against archrival Guelph. Toronto had taken the first head-to-head meeting of the fall 3-0 at the end of September and more than made up for the late-season setback with their rout of the Gryphons in the OUA championship game.

“We played really well today. I think we made a statement, especially on Guelph’s home turf and we kept distractions to a minimum,” said OUA coach of the year John DeSouza following the Ontario final. “Now we’re focused on the CIS championship and excited to see what we can do in Calgary.”

Guelph also finished conference play with an 11-1 mark, thanks in large part to the offensive prowess of Brittany Seidler, who was named OUA player of the year after scoring a mind-boggling 26 goals in 12 contests.

Last year, it was the Gryphons who entered the CIS tournament as No. 1 favourites. However, Guelph lost its tourney opener 2-1 to UBC and never recovered, en route to a fourth-place finish.

“We came off a rough game… against Waterloo in the (OUA) semifinals and I think the nerves were there,” said head coach Michelle Turley after the OUA final. “It was anybody’s game… and they (Toronto) came out flying and we didn’t carry out our game plan. The one fortunate thing is that we won a silver medal and there is a silver lining in that.

“We just have to be much better at the CIS championship,” added Turley, whose program’s best result at the national tournament is a silver medal in 2007. “Every single person has to play to the best of their ability. We’re not as deep as were last year and we have a lot of young kids, so the experience will be new to them.” 

In Canada West, where there are no playoffs and the regular-season champions are crowned, UBC claimed a ninth straight banner thanks to an 8-2-2 record. Calgary (5-3-4) was second and Alberta (4-6-2) third.

While the T-Birds have racked up a record 12 national titles since the inaugural CIS tourney in 1975, the Pandas have won a single title (2005) in 14 previous appearances and the Dinos, about to compete on the national stage for the first time since 1997, are still looking for their first gold medal.

UBC has played in 13 straight CIS tournaments since 1998 and has amassed an amazing 11 medals over that period, including seven gold, three silver and one bronze. This season, the ‘Birds posted a 3-1 record against Alberta and went 3-0-1 versus Calgary.

“I am very happy with our performance this season,” said Calgary sideline boss Jenn Swagar, the 2010 CIS coach of the year. “We battled through some hard games. Being down 3-0 and coming back against UBC was a huge emotional boost.

“I feel that our best game is still out there, that we have not played at our best as a team. I hope that our preparation to this point will help us with the physical demands of playing five games in four days,” she added. “I am very proud of my players, but I know they all have an extra gear and skills in their tool box. I look forward to our next challenge, and we’re excited to have it on our home field.”

Official championship website


No. 1 Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA champions)

Head Coach: John DeSouza (6th season)

Regular season record: 11-1-0

Regular season standing: 1st OUA

Playoff record: 2-0

Playoff finish: OUA champions

Conference award winners: Amanda Woodcroft (rookie), John DeSouza (coach)

Conference all-stars: Kaelan Watson (D), Hannah Tighe (M), Amanda Woodcroft (M), Alexandra Evanyshyn (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 35 since inaugural championship in 1975

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

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (champions)

CIS championship sequence: 8th straight appearance


No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champions)

Head Coach: Hash Kanjee (19th season)

Regular season record: 8-2-2

Regular season standing: 1st Canada West

Playoff record: No playoffs in CW

Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW

Conference award winners: Robyn Pendleton (MVP), Sarah Keglowitsch (rookie), Hash Kanjee (coach – co-recipient)

Conference all-stars: Miranda Mann (D), Kirsten Bertsch (D), Robyn Pendleton (F), Poonam Sandhu (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 32

CIS championship best result: 12-time champions (2009, ‘06, ‘04, ‘03, ‘01, ‘99, ‘98, ‘90, ‘83, ‘82, ‘80, ‘78)

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (silver medallists)

CIS championship sequence: 14th straight appearance


No. 3 Calgary Dinos (second place Canada West)

Head Coach: Jenn Swagar (5th season)

Regular season record: 5-3-4

Regular season standing: 2nd Canada West

Playoff record: No playoffs in CW

Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW

Conference award winners: Lindsay Koch (Gail Wilson award nominee)

Conference all-stars: Carolina Romeo (D), Serena Lockhart (M), Courtney Campbell (M), Kaitlyn Longworth (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 6

CIS championship best result: 4th place (1987, 1982)

CIS championship last appearance: 1997 (fifth)

CIS championship sequence: 1st appearance since 1997


No. 4 Guelph Gryphons (OUA finalists)

Head Coach: Michelle Turley (8th season)

Regular season record: 11-1-0

Regular season standing: 2nd OUA

Playoff record: 1-1

Playoff finish: OUA silver medallists

Conference award winners: Brittany Seidler (MVP)

Conference all-stars: Kaye McLagan (G), Brittany Seidler (F)

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 6

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

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (bronze medallists)

CIS championship sequence: 5th straight appearance (6th in 7 years)


No. 5 Alberta Pandas (third place Canada West)

Head Coach: Stefanie Sloboda (2nd season)

Regular season record: 4-6-2

Regular season standing: 3rd Canada West

Playoff record: No playoffs in CW

Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW

Conference award winners: Stefanie Sloboda (coach – co-recipient)

Conference all-stars: Jackie Trautman (D), Julianna Cormier (D)

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 15

CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (2005)

CIS championship last appearance: 2009 (silver medallists)

CIS championship sequence: 6th appearance in 8 years


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 


CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (All times local: Mountain Time)

Wednesday, Nov. 2

19:00 All-Canadian Awards Banquet (Four Points Sheraton)

Thursday, Nov. 3

9:30 Round-Robin Game 1: Toronto vs. UBC

11:50 Round-Robin Game 2: Calgary vs. Guelph

15:30 Round-Robin Game 3: UBC vs. Alberta

17:50 Round-Robin Game 4: Toronto vs. Guelph

Friday, Nov. 4

10:00 Round-Robin Game 5: Calgary vs. UBC

12:20 Round-Robin Game 6: Guelph vs. Alberta

16:00 Round-Robin Game 7: Toronto vs. Calgary

Saturday, Nov. 5

10:00 Round-Robin Game 8: Calgary vs. Alberta

12:20 Round-Robin Game 9: UBC vs. Guelph

16:00 Round-Robin Game 10: Toronto vs. Alberta

17:30 Tie-Breaking Strokes (if necessary)

Sunday, Nov. 6

10:00 Bronze medal

13:00 Championship final


About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Fifty-two universities, 10,000 student-athletes and 550 coaches 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