Field Hockey Canada > Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame Class of 2022 - Florence Strachan Petersen

A shining example of relentless spirit, dedication and leadership

In the Builder’s Category of the Hall of Fame, Field Hockey Canada proudly inducts Florence Strachan Petersen. Known for introducing Canada to the global stage of field hockey, Florence’s legacy is one of dedication, leadership, and pioneering spirit.

Among Florence’s many accomplishments, she made history as an umpiring pioneer and the first Canadian delegate at the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA). She led Canada to its inaugural international appearance at the 1956 IWFHA World Tournament in Australia. Her dedication to the sport was evident in the number of roles she took on, including playing, managing, umpiring, and coaching.

A trailblazer from the beginning

Growing up in Burnaby, BC, on Capitol Hill, Florence was introduced to field hockey in 1943 at Burnaby North High School. She played as a forward and was coached by her mentor Ella Haswell. Post-graduation, she was part of a driving force in the Greater Vancouver Women’s Hockey League, winning five league championships as a centre forward for the Kitsilano team. She also became one of the first A-rated umpires who contributed to the development of future officials down the line.

In her profession as a teacher, she broke barriers in her local community. She became the first female head of a PE department in the District of Burnaby at Burnaby North High School, challenging the status quo at a time when men typically held such positions.

Early beginnings as a visionary

Florence’s administrative career started in 1951 as a secretary for the Greater Vancouver Women’s Grass Hockey Association. Later, her involvement in the sport led to the expansion of the game across Canada, a testament to a bigger vision she had for Canadian grass hockey.

Her keenness led her to attend the international tournament and conference in England in 1953, where represented Canada as an International Field Hockey Delegate. This experience led her to spearheading Canada’s involvement in international play, which ultimately led to Canada’s qualification for the 1956 IFWHA tournament in Australia.

When faced with the challenge of raising funds to support Canada’s participation, Florence rose to the occasion. She took on the role as Co-Chair of a local committee which raised funds for Canada to attend that tournament.

Barb Hart Harris, a fellow FHC Hall of Famer, described Petersen’s success in getting the community involved. “Everyone’s brother, sister, aunt, and uncle who had anything to do with field hockey wanted to Flosse help the team.” said Harris. “It was Flossie, who got us who got us on the road to international play.”

She orchestrated various initiatives, including the publication of a ground-breaking history booklet of grass hockey in Greater Vancouver which she sold at 25 cents. To many, initiatives like the booklet, which is still used today, showed the level of dedication she had toward making sure Canada got onto the international stage.

Leaving a lasting legacy

Florence’s tireless efforts put Canada on the global field hockey map. The 1956 tournament paved the way for Canada’s participation in the 1959 IFWHA tournament in Holland, for which Florence was a Selector, an Umpire, and the Team Manager. She also played a role in the 1973 Canada Summer Games and the 1979 World Tournament at UBC. Serving as a board member and president of the 79ers Club, Florence was indispensable to the Canadian field hockey community.

Though Florence passed away in August 2012, her legacy continues to thrive. In 2021, the 1956 team she championed was inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame. Colleagues and friends reflected on her exceptional impact as an administrator, and they are pleased to see her individual efforts receive national recognition.

Florence Strachan Petersen’s journey in field hockey remains an inspiration for generations to come. Her relentless spirit, dedication to fairness, and pioneering leadership have left an incredible mark on the sport’s history. As her colleagues and friends celebrate her induction into the Hall of Fame, they honour a woman whose legacy will forever be etched in the annals of Canadian field hockey.