Field Hockey Canada > Hall of Fame Class of 2021 - 1956 Women's National Team

1956 National Team pioneered traveling for international hockey

In the teams category of this year’s Hall of fame, Field Hockey Canada honours a team who blazed a trail for Canadian field hockey. The 1956 Canadian women’s field hockey team were the first to travel abroad to play international hockey. Their efforts helped pave the path for the future generation of players.

“These really are the first inaugural group to build an international women’s team and go offshore to represent Canada at home and abroad,” said Field Hockey Canada CEO Susan Ahrens. “To get us on the map was a really important part in our history.”

The idea of forming a national team began through the Greater Vancouver Grass Hockey Association. Members of the team had the ambition to go abroad but needed funds and a representative from another association to be able to do so. Eventually enough money was raised and a field hockey association from Victoria got on board. This new Canadian national team was then off to the races at the IWFHA field hockey tournament in Australia.

“Without this team going in ‘56, it could’ve been another 3,6,10 years,” said fellow Field Hockey Canada Hall of Famer, Barb Hart Harris.

While abroad, the team had the opportunity to compete and collaborate with some of the world’s best. This included the opportunity to train with the English national squad, who at the time were considered the “Queen’s of field hockey.”

“When we were in Australia, we toured with the English team who were the best in the world and they taught us a lot, and they were so nice to us,” said 1956 team member, Pat Manson.

Sixty-six years later, that team is now being inducted into the Field hockey Canada Hall of Fame Barb Hart Harris decided to put together a special event to honor and acknowledge the team’s accomplishments.

“It was really important to me to nominate the team in the first place because it’s such a big part of our history to start international play,” said Harris.

Remaining team members and their respective families were able to celebrate one together in Vancouver, and were given awards for their achievements. Today they are memorialized in the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame forever. When looking back on what the team was able to accomplish, many of the team members are proud to have been the first to accomplish what they did

“It means a lot to me because it’s the first time I ever went overseas. To be acknowledged like this is fantastic,” said player on the team, Shirley Topley.

Congratulations on all members of the 1956 Canadian women’s national team for being inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame.

1956 Women’s National Team

Lucille Van Hees
Berta Whittle
Margaret McLean
Patricia Manson
Heather Glover
Shirley Topley
Doreen Armour
Barbara Wilson
Florence Strachan
Reneth MacKay
Moira Rerrie
Betty Best
Lilliane Beauregard
Pam Edens
Audree Rees
Team Manager: Dr. Lila Scott