Blue Gold

BC Recreation offers a variety of summer camps that teach teamwork, dedication, respect, honesty, accountability, healthy living, hard work, fairplay, and fun. Our diverse programming includes sports, adventure, arts, music, and enrichment activities. We provide both high performance and recreational programs for all ages and skill levels, from beginner to advanced, from toddlers to teens.

BC Recreation offers a variety of summer camps that teach teamwork, dedication, respect, honesty, accountability, healthy living, hard work, fairplay, and fun. Our diverse programming includes sports, adventure, arts, music, and enrichment activities. We provide both high performance and recreational programs for all ages and skill levels, from beginner to advanced, from toddlers to teens.


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lockerroom 2014 hall of fame inductees big block club<br />

<strong>Blue</strong>;<strong>Gold</strong><br />

gothunderbirds.ca<br />

spring 2014

2014<br />

SPRING<br />

SUMMER<br />




UBC Recreation offers a variety of summer camps<br />

that teach teamwork, dedication, respect, honesty,<br />

accountability, healthy living, hard work, fair<br />

play, and fun. Our diverse programming includes<br />

sports, adventure, arts, music, and enrichment<br />

activities. We provide both high performance and<br />

recreational programs for all ages and skill levels,<br />

from beginner to advanced, from toddlers to teens.<br />


This year, you can combine morning and afternoon<br />

camps for your child. Add our Lunch Service and<br />

UBC Camps staff will make sure your child gets<br />

where they need to go for an afternoon of fun!<br />


If your child finishes school early, join us from June<br />

17-21 for a Pre-Summer Camp. This camp offers<br />

a preview of the programs UBC Camps will be<br />

offering throughout the summer.<br />



#liveactiveUBC<br />

www.camps.ubc.ca<br />



Every child registered in a UBC Camps program will receive a<br />

complimentary Junior <strong>Blue</strong> Crew & UBC Camps Card. Show this<br />

card for free admission to all UBC Thunderbirds home games and to<br />

access great discounts from UBC Camps partners.

<strong>Blue</strong>;<strong>Gold</strong><br />

spring 2014<br />

<strong>Blue</strong>;<strong>Gold</strong><br />

Editor Don Wells<br />

Assistant Editor Steve Tuckwood<br />

Designer Sharm Thiagarajah<br />

the lineup<br />

principal Photography Richard Lam<br />

bob frid<br />

wilson wong<br />

BLUE+GOLD is published twice a year by the<br />

UBC Department of Athletics and is distributed<br />

free of charge to UBC Alumni and friends.<br />

Opinions expressed in the magazine do not<br />

necessarily reflect the views of the Department<br />

of Athletics or the University.<br />

9<br />

10<br />

Address correspondence to:<br />

The Editor<br />

UBC Department of Athletics<br />

272 – 6081 University Blvd.<br />

Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1<br />

email to don.wells@telus.net<br />

5<br />

15<br />

advertising rates<br />

Matthew Tan<br />

Business Development Officer<br />

604.822.2532<br />

UBC Athletics contacts<br />

General Inquiries 604.822.2503<br />

; departments<br />

4 Message from the managing director<br />

5 locker room<br />

9 big block club<br />

BLUE+GOLD Editor 604.812.5613<br />

War Gym Box Office 604.827.4547<br />

Group Tickets 604.822.3094<br />

Development Office 604.822.1972<br />

Sponsorship 604.822.2532<br />

Address Changes 604.822.8921<br />

alumni.association@ubc.ca<br />

Return undeliverable Canadian<br />

addresses to:<br />

Development Office<br />

UBC Department of Athletics<br />

272 – 6081 University Blvd.<br />

Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1<br />

; features<br />

10 women’s hockey: gaining<br />

altitude<br />

15 2014 sports<br />

hall of fame inductees<br />




SPRING 2014<br />

Volume 10, Issue 1 • Printed in Canada by RR Donnelley<br />

Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #41473026<br />

Scores, news & event info:<br />

gothunderbirds.ca<br />

On the Cover }<br />

Graduating team captain Christi Capozzi finished<br />

off her UBC career at the top of her game.

Message<br />

from the managing director<br />

Greetings from Point Grey to all<br />

alumni and friends of the UBC<br />

Thunderbirds.<br />

As many of you know, the objective<br />

of the recent UBC varsity sport review<br />

was to create a framework to deliver<br />

new levels of excellence with long term<br />

financial sustainability. After receiving<br />

much feedback, and carefully assessing<br />

the potential of each team, we have<br />

retained 24 teams and placed each<br />

into three groupings (enhanced varsity,<br />

continued varsity, and hybrid funding<br />

varsity). Although grouping teams, given<br />

the complexity and uniqueness of each<br />

team’s landscape, is not perfect, this<br />

approach begins to provide a common<br />

structure for teams with similar potential<br />

and needs. The framework helps us<br />

make choices about where and how to<br />

invest resources, and how to maximize<br />

the return on those investments for<br />

our athletes, our students, and our<br />

community. There are three key<br />

outcomes to highlight.<br />

First, we now have valuable information<br />

– never gathered before - on each team.<br />

With comprehensive baselines and targets<br />

now in place, we can measure the success<br />

of our teams in a more rigorous and<br />

objective manner. This sets a foundation<br />

for a culture of accountability, where<br />

targeted support and adjustments can<br />

be made based on a team’s performance<br />

against measures of success. Coaches<br />

are leaders in performance, but they are<br />

often left to operate in isolation and it<br />

can be a lonely, difficult job. Support,<br />

interaction, feedback - these are things<br />

on which our coaches will thrive.<br />

Secondly, we are now in a better<br />

position to bridge the very real gaps<br />

between Athletics and Recreation and<br />

the University that were identified in<br />

the 2012 review of the department. We<br />

have formally dropped our ancillary<br />

status, and will pursue opportunities to<br />

create enhanced student learning and<br />

engagement across campus. Over the<br />

coming years, we will foster partnerships<br />

with expert faculty in areas such as<br />

sports administration, sport marketing,<br />

event management, athlete training,<br />

sport science and sport medicine. We<br />

will work with our UBC colleagues to<br />

help our community better connect with<br />

UBC, offering sport and the Thunderbird<br />

experience as a tool for growth in social<br />

engagement and school spirit.<br />

And finally, we can now sharpen our<br />

focus upon being a more integrated<br />

part of Canada’s sport community. Our<br />

success in swimming through partnerships<br />

with competitive swim clubs on the one<br />

hand, and our national team program<br />

on the other, is a superb example of how<br />

UBC can be a part of the playgroundto-podium<br />

continuum of athlete and<br />

coach development. Our mandate has<br />

formally grown beyond inter-university<br />

championships to include progression to<br />

national and professional teams. Over the<br />

years, we will align with local, provincial<br />

and national sport organizations including<br />

the Canadian Sport Institute.<br />

Looking to the immediate future, our key<br />

areas of focus will be converting the review<br />

information into action, consolidating<br />

our visions and emerging with five-year<br />

sport plans for each team; harnessing our<br />

resources in varsity, recreation, facilities,<br />

marketing, and finances to support our<br />

vision with a review of our organisational<br />

structure, roles and responsibilities, and<br />

addressing the considerable challenges<br />

we face over sustainability, including<br />

fundraising to meet the income required to<br />

support our 24 teams.<br />

Although at times tumultuous, this process<br />

has sparked our community to support our<br />

teams in new and encouraging ways. I was<br />

delighted, for example, to overhear one<br />

of our alumni recently say: “I took what I<br />

needed from my Thunderbird experience,<br />

and for years, I walked away. Now, I’m<br />

back.”<br />

In support of the challenges and<br />

opportunites before us, my hope is that<br />

alumni and friends will remain engaged.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

Ashley Howard<br />

Managing Director<br />

UBC Athletics and Recreation<br />

4<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014

Locker oom<br />

R<br />

Another big season is closing out for the<br />

kids from Point Grey. At press time,<br />

Thunderbirds teams had staked claims to<br />

three CIS National Championships in 2013-14 and<br />

one NAIA crown, with the track, baseball, softball,<br />

golf, rowing, men’s field hockey and rugby teams<br />

still in the hunt for more hardware down the home<br />

stretch.<br />

The women’s swim team cruised to a third straight<br />

and CIS-leading 19th national title, ending with a<br />

combined team score of 802.5 points, 397.5 points<br />

ahead of the Montreal Carabins (405), setting the<br />

CIS championship record for the largest margin<br />

of victory. UBC’s Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was<br />

named both the CIS Female Rookie of the Year<br />

and CIS Swimmer of the Year after winning three<br />

individual events and picking up a total of five<br />

medals over the three-day championship meet at<br />

the University of Toronto. Other highlights included<br />

two-time Olympian Savannah King claiming her<br />

fourth straight 800 freestyle title on day three,<br />

while Tera Van Beilen took top spot in both the 50<br />

and 200 breaststroke and helped UBC’s 400 medley<br />

relay team to a CIS championship record in the<br />

final women’s race of the meet. Not surprisingly,<br />

UBC’s Steve Price was honoured as CIS women’s<br />

team Coach of the Year. On the men’s side, the<br />

host <strong>Blue</strong>s finished with 690 points to edge out the<br />

Canada West champion T-Birds who racked up<br />

609.5. UBC’s Coleman Allen was honoured as the<br />

CIS male Swimmer of the Year with a seven-medal<br />

performance. Allen anchored UBC’s Canadian<br />

record-breaking 800 freestyle relay team while also<br />

setting a new CIS championship mark in the 100<br />

butterfly.<br />

The most recent national title came on the heels of<br />

fall championship victories for the Thunderbirds<br />

well as a NAIA Cross Country crown.<br />

UBC’s women’s cross country team were national<br />

champions for a second consecutive year while<br />

the men were eighth, good enough to give UBC a<br />

combined team championship.<br />

The T-Birds women’s volleyball team went into last<br />

month’s CIS championship tournament looking<br />

for a record seventh consecutive national title. But<br />

the Manitoba Bisons, who had lost to UBC just<br />

one week earlier in the Canada West championship<br />

final, had other ideas. Reserving their finest play of<br />

the season until the end, the Bisons cruised through<br />

the tournament without losing a set, including a<br />

3-0 win over UBC (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) in the<br />

gold medal match. Ironically, UBC had defeated the<br />

Bisons the week before in the Canada West final.<br />

It was Manitoba’s first win over UBC in 18 starts<br />

and its first national title in the sport since 2002.<br />

The disappointing loss notwithstanding, UBC’s<br />

Lisa Barclay added further honours to an already<br />

impressive resume. The Brandon, Manitoba native<br />

was named an All Canadian, a CIS Tournament<br />

All-star and took home the Mary Lyons Award as<br />

CIS Player of the Year. It was the fifth consecutive<br />

year the trophy has been awarded to a UBC<br />

player, following Shanice Marcelle (2013, 2011);<br />

Kyla Richey (2012) and Liz Cordonier (2010).<br />

Team mate Abbey Keeping was also named a CIS<br />

Tournament All-Star.<br />

Honour Role<br />

Canada West women’s hockey scoring leader<br />

Tatiana Rafter becomes the first UBC<br />

Thunderbird to win the conference’s Player of<br />

the Year award. The fourth-year forward from<br />

Winnipeg was the major offensive force behind a<br />

men’s soccer and women’s field hockey teams, as continued on page 6<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 5

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continued from page 5<br />

UBC team that won 20 regular season games for<br />

the first time in program history. With 20 goals and<br />

18 assists in 28 games, Rafter finished the season<br />

seven points ahead of her closest competitor in the<br />

Canada West scoring race. She led the league in<br />

goals, points and power play goals (9) and tied for<br />

first in shorthanded goals (2) and game-winning<br />

goals (6). Back in December, she scored 15 points<br />

in seven games to help Canada win the gold medal<br />

at the 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy.<br />

UBC head coach Deb Huband recorded her 400th<br />

career win February 1 in Calgary with a 56-53<br />

victory over the Dinos. After completing her 19th<br />

season at the helm, the former national team<br />

standout and 1984 Olympian’s overall record is<br />

404-213, including three CIS championships. A<br />

member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame,<br />

Coach Huband had a similarly extraordinary<br />

university playing career at Bishop’s University,<br />

where she set an all-time CIS record for points in a<br />

game with a 50-point performance in 1981-82.<br />

UBC outside hitter Ben Chow was named a First-<br />

Team All-Canadian, while setter Milan Nikic<br />

was named a Second Team All-Canadian for<br />

their outstanding play during the 2013-14 men’s<br />

volleyball season. Chow was a crucial part of<br />

UBC’s finely tuned offense this year, finishing tied<br />

for fifth in the conference with 3.72 kills per set.<br />

UBC led the conference in assists and kills this year<br />

and finished second in team hitting percentage,<br />

thanks in large measure to the stellar play of Nikic,<br />

who finished second individually in Canada West<br />

with 10.55 assists per set.<br />

Men’s basketball team’s Kedar Wright was named<br />

to the 2014 Canada West All-Rookie Team after<br />

an impressive first season for the Thunderbirds.<br />

Wright averaged eight points per game in 27<br />

games this season. He was one of the best players<br />

in the T-Birds three-game quarter final playoff<br />

series against Alberta, averaging 18 points a game,<br />

including a season-high 28 points in game two.<br />

Bruchet Breaks Speed Record<br />

Luc Bruchet won the men’s 3,000 metres of the<br />

University of Washington Indoor Preview back in<br />

January in a blistering time of 7:54.57 breaking not<br />

only the 18-year-old UBC record but also the meet<br />

record of 7:54.88 set by Irish Olympian Alistair<br />

Cragg. Bruchet bettered the former UBC record<br />

of 7:59.29, set in 1996 by two-time Olympian Jeff<br />

Schiebler who holds multiple Canadian distance<br />

records. Bruchet joins Olympian and UBC alumnus<br />

Michael Mason in the record books for the<br />

Washington event, as Mason set the meet high jump<br />

record of 2.30m back in 2008. Bruchet has been<br />

impressive all season long, with an NAIA 1500 title<br />

and Canadian Cross Country Championship to his<br />

credit back in November.<br />

Previous page: CIS<br />

Player of the Year<br />

Lisa Barclay; CIS<br />

Champion Swim<br />

Birds; Canada<br />

West Player of<br />

the Year Tatiana<br />

Rafter. This page:<br />

Deb Huband<br />

does the honours<br />

after 400th UBC<br />

career win; record<br />

breaker Luc<br />

Bruchet; Rugby<br />

Birds bring the<br />

Boot Trophy back<br />

to UBC.<br />

6<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014

Photo: Jack Prior, www.newtonsportsphotography.com<br />

Clerc Receives Governor General<br />

Commendation<br />

UBC men’s soccer’s Paul Clerc was distinguished<br />

as one of the top eight Academic All-Canadians<br />

for the 2012-2013 season at a ceremony hosted<br />

by Governor General David Johnston in Ottawa<br />

last November. Of the more than 2,500 CIS<br />

student-athletes who earn Academic All Canadian<br />

status for achieving an academic average of<br />

80% or better, the top male and female from<br />

each conference are honoured as The Governor<br />

General’s Academic All Canadian Commendation<br />

Recipients. A three-time CIS Academic All-<br />

Canadian in kinesiology, Clerc maintained an 84.5<br />

per cent average in 2012-13, was named a Canada<br />

West all-star and a tournament all-star after<br />

contributing to a record 12th CIS Championship.<br />

Rugby Birds Get The Boot<br />

For the first time since 1996, the Thunderbirds<br />

rugby squad claimed the Wightman Boot as series<br />

victors over the University of Victoria in an annual<br />

tradition that dates back to 1967-68. UBC defeated<br />

the Vikes 29-16 in Victoria back in November to<br />

win the first leg of the series and then followed<br />

up with a 22-8 win at UBC January 18 to win the<br />

two-game total-point affair 51-24. The Boot is<br />

the annual home-and-home series named after the<br />

late Brian Wightman, who coached at UBC from<br />

1964 to 1967, and has featured many of Canada’s<br />

greatest players over the years. At press time,<br />

the Birds remained atop the Okanagan Springs<br />

Brewery Division One league with a perfect 10-0<br />

mark, but fell 33-24 at Witter Field in Berkeley,<br />

California to the Cal-Berkeley <strong>Gold</strong>en Bears in the<br />

first leg of the near century-old World Cup series.<br />

The home leg is scheduled for March 23 at the<br />

Thunderbird Stadium.<br />

Sport BC Awards Honour T-Birds<br />

The 48th annual Sport BC Awards were handed<br />

out March 5 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver to<br />

recognize B.C.’s top amateur athletes, coaches,<br />

and officials in 2013. The winner in the University<br />

Athlete of the Year category was UBC volleyball<br />

alumna Shanice Marcelle, who wrapped up<br />

her phenomenal career in 2013 by winning the<br />

Canada West title, a fifth consecutive CIS national<br />

championship, her second CIS Player of the Year<br />

honour and the Jim Thompson Trophy at the<br />

BLG Awards as the top university female athlete<br />

in Canada. In the summer, Marcelle continued<br />

playing with the senior women’s national volleyball<br />

team and was the flag bearer for Canada at<br />

the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Summer<br />

Universiade in Kazan, Russia. UBC’s second<br />

continued on page 8<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 7

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continued from page 7<br />

Women’s hockey coach Graham Thomas was named 2013 Sport BC Coach of the Year; Sean Callegari struck out eight<br />

to lead UBC to 3-1 early season win over Concordia Cavaliers.<br />

nominee in the category was rower Maxwell<br />

Lattimer, who finished fifth in the lightweight<br />

men’s pair event with partner Evan Cheng at the<br />

2013 World Rowing Under-23 Championships.<br />

Back in November Lattimer was honoured as the<br />

Canadian University Rowing Association’s Male<br />

Athlete of the Year for an outstanding performance<br />

at the Canadian University Rowing Championships<br />

in Montreal, which included a gold medal and two<br />

silvers.<br />

Graham Thomas, head coach of the women’s<br />

hockey team, took home honours for Male Coach<br />

of the Year. In his first season at the helm of the<br />

T-Birds in 2012-13, the Calgary native led the team<br />

to a 17-7-4 record, an unprecedented improvement<br />

from the 1-21-2 campaign the year before. Thomas<br />

guided his squad to a Canada West title in the postseason<br />

and a berth in the CIS championship, where<br />

UBC finished fifth. His debut efforts earned him<br />

Coach of the Year honours from both the Canada<br />

West conference and the CIS.<br />

Not surprisingly, the CIS champion UBC men’s<br />

soccer team was named Team of the Year. The<br />

Thunderbirds went 19-1 in non-conference,<br />

regular season and playoff action in 2013 and<br />

swept every major Canada West individual award.<br />

After clinching a long-overdue CIS Coach of the<br />

Year title, head coach Mike Mosher guided his<br />

team to a 3-1 win over Laval in the championship<br />

final, a record 13th national championship for the<br />

Thunderbirds. It was the first time Mosher has won<br />

the honour in his 18 years as head coach at UBC.<br />

Midfielder Reynold Stewart and defender Paul<br />

Clerc were named CIS First Team All-Canadians.<br />

Still Ahead<br />

The Thunderbirds baseball team went 7-3 in a<br />

pre-season schedule that saw numerous weather<br />

related cancellations both at home and on the road.<br />

The 28-game NAIA regular season schedule goes<br />

March 7 to April 19 with all home games played<br />

at Thunderbird Park. The NAIA West tournament<br />

goes May 2-5 in Portland and the NAIA World<br />

Series May 23-30 in Lewiston, Idaho. The 2014<br />

schedule includes a pair of home and away double<br />

headers against Thompson Rivers and Okanagan<br />

College.<br />

The women’s softball team faced similar weather<br />

cancellations and a postponement of a home<br />

March 1 double header versus SFU, but is assured<br />

of competition in mid-March at the Tuscon<br />

Invitational. The T-Birds are scheduled to face<br />

SFU in a double-header at Beedie Field April 9. For<br />

schedule updates, visit gothunderbirds.ca.<br />

UBC’s men’s and women’s golf teams are in full<br />

swing and looking ahead to NAIA Championships<br />

May 20-23. The women narrowly missed out<br />

on the NAIA title last year with all five UBC<br />

tournament competitors named All Americans.<br />

Both teams will then travel to Winnipeg for the<br />

Golf Canada University Championships June 3-6<br />

where the men’s team will be looking to defend<br />

their 2013 national championship. ;<br />

8<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014

lock<br />

News ; notes from the big block club<br />

Former UBC defensive<br />

coordinator Bob Laycoe<br />

was honoured by alumni at<br />

annual TFA Gala; Former<br />

UBC coach Bruce Enns<br />

was welcomed back to War<br />

Memorial Gym by alumni<br />

and coach Kevin Hanson.<br />

A<br />

good-sized crowd of friends and alumni<br />

of UBC football were on hand at last fall’s<br />

Thunderbird Football Association Gala at<br />

Richmond’s River Rock Resort. Various awards<br />

were handed out, graduating seniors were saluted,<br />

and UBC media relations manager Dan Elliott<br />

hosted a panel discussion featuring fellow UBC<br />

football alumnus and former CFL linebacker Javier<br />

Glatt, BC Lions alumnus Brent Johnson and current<br />

BC Lion and Harvard grad Marco Iannuzzi. But<br />

hands down, the highlight of the evening was<br />

the poignant Thunderbird Football Hall of Fame<br />

induction of former defensive coordinator Bob<br />

Laycoe, who guided some of the stingiest defensive<br />

units in CIS history, including those that helped win<br />

Vanier Cup championships for the Thunderbirds in<br />

1982 and 1986. Laycoe went on to a successful run<br />

as head coach at the University of Toronto where he<br />

won a Vanier Cup in 1993.<br />

A sizable contingent of basketball alumni turned<br />

out to welcome former coach Bruce Enns back to<br />

War Memorial Gym at a January 10 game against<br />

Saskatchewan at which he was honoured with a<br />

presentation from head coach Kevin Hanson. Enns<br />

came to UBC from the University of Winnipeg in<br />

1985 and patrolled the T-Birds’ sideline until 2000.<br />

With a roster that included Hanson as a fifthyear<br />

point guard, sharp shooter Paul Johannson<br />

and a trio of talented Okanagan freshmen named<br />

Mike Clarke, Al Lalonde and J.D. Jackson, Enns<br />

guided the Thunderbirds to an unforgettable 1987<br />

Canada West Championship victory over Ken<br />

Shields’ Victoria Vikes, ending the Vikes sevenyear<br />

reign as CIS title holders. Former Bobby Gaul<br />

Award winners Perrie Scarlett and Ken Morris<br />

were among the cadre of Enns’ former players who<br />

showed up for the reunion, which included a pre<br />

and post-game reception. The highlight of Enns’<br />

visit, according to Hanson, was an articulate and<br />

inspirational locker room speech after the Birds’<br />

Thursday night practise. Enns led the T-Birds to a<br />

total of four Canada West men’s basketball titles<br />

and four appearances at the CIS men’s basketball<br />

national championship tournament.<br />

UBC’s women’s team held a reunion of its own<br />

at the final regular season tilt on February<br />

15, which saw the T-Birds secure home court<br />

advantage for the conference quarter-final with<br />

a win over the Vikes. At the end of the game, the<br />

members of Coach Deb Huband’s 2003-04 CIS<br />

championship-winning team were honoured ten<br />

years after they won the school’s first national<br />

title in three decades and sparked two more<br />

national championships in a five-year span.<br />

Those in attendance included the trio grande of<br />

Erica McGuiness, Julie Little and Cait Haggarty;<br />

continued on page 18<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 9

Two decades ago when a group of UBC students banded<br />

themselves together to resurrect a varsity women’s hockey team,<br />

it would have been difficult to predict what was in store for<br />

the women’s game at the university level, let alone how a UBC<br />

team might fare. Now with back-to-back seasons of stellar play<br />

boosting their confidence, can the high-flying Thunderbirds<br />

maintain altitude at the summit of CIS women’s hockey?<br />

photo by martin dee<br />

10<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014


by Don Wells<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 11

‘‘You can set goals all you want but you need the<br />

Prior to the first game of the 2012-13<br />

season, the founder of UBC’s modern<br />

women’s hockey program stood in its<br />

dressing room to share thoughts on the<br />

team’s humble origins. She reminded them to<br />

appreciate the full-time coaches, the modern<br />

arena and other amenities that previous teams did<br />

not have, certainly not the short-lived women’s<br />

team of the 1970s, nor the team of six players in<br />

wool skirts that represented UBC in its inaugural<br />

1915-16 academic year. But as she spoke about<br />

99-year-old Evelyn Lett, one of the original six,<br />

being so enthused about a women’s team starting<br />

anew in 1994 that she insisted on making her way<br />

to center ice to drop a ceremonial face-off puck,<br />

Laura Bennion suddenly felt a tinge of emotion.<br />

And the room was so silent you could have heard<br />

a tear drop.<br />

Minutes later, the Thunderbirds hit the ice to<br />

begin the most successful season in team history,<br />

one that culminated in a first-ever Canada West<br />

championship. After an unprecedented 20 wins the<br />

following year, there can be no doubt that the 21st<br />

century version of the team constitutes the newest<br />

beacon of success within Canada’s most decorated<br />

varsity athletics program. Bennion is thrilled to<br />

acknowledge that something truly special has<br />

evolved from the group that she spirited into<br />

play in a little-known club league back in 1994,<br />

and theorizes that the sweet taste of triumph has<br />

instilled the most essential competitive asset of all.<br />

“The girls have started to believe in themselves,”<br />

said Bennion in reference to the recently concluded<br />

20-6-2 regular season, in which a solitary shootout<br />

loss spoiled an otherwise perfect mark on<br />

home ice. “I think there has been a cultural shift<br />

on the team. You just need a little taste of success<br />

and confidence and it builds momentum. Once<br />

you have a couple of years of a winning culture, it<br />

becomes easier to keep it going.”<br />

While success came quickly in the sport at other<br />

schools after official CIS play began in 1997, it has<br />

been a long road up for UBC. But if you ask head<br />

coach Graham Thomas how the breakthrough<br />

occurred shortly after his arrival in 2012 from<br />

a job as an assistant at Syracuse University, he<br />

begins to shift nervously in his chair. Modest and<br />

deeply respectful of coaches and players who went<br />

before, he insists that the dramatic turnaround has<br />

little to do with him, and much more to do with<br />

the current crop of Thunderbirds and the solid<br />

foundation he inherited.<br />

“The girls have done well, they’ve worked really<br />

hard for it,” says the 32-year-old Calgary native.<br />

“But our success is also due to the support the<br />

program has had from a lot of people over the<br />

years; players and coaches before us, the athletic<br />

department, parents and donors. There is also<br />

a fantastic group of men’s team alumni who<br />

have provided financial support for scholarship<br />

endowments.”<br />

The donors are comprised of a growing list<br />

of team alumni and a handful of community<br />

supporters, including prominent philanthropists<br />

Julie Hamilton and Lois Mitchell. The alumni<br />

group – “the Old Birds” - consists of a cadre of<br />

senior-aged recreational hockey players, including<br />

former athletic director Bob Hindmarch, former<br />

Dean of Agriculture Jim Richards and Engineering<br />

alumnus Keith Morrison, who secretly allowed<br />

Bennion to play as a seven-year-old on a boys<br />

team he coached in the archaic no-girls-allowed<br />

era of minor hockey. It was round about that<br />

same time that Hindmarch, then UBC’s men’s<br />

coach, unsuccessfully advocated for a women’s<br />

team that quietly folded in the late 1970s. Not<br />

surprisingly, many years later when Bennion - then<br />

an undergraduate Science student and today a<br />

Calgary physician with strong ties to Canada’s<br />

Olympic team - resurrected the team, Hindmarch<br />

encouraged the Old Birds to lend their support.<br />

“We played against them in scrimmages for a<br />

while, but then they started to embarrass us,” he<br />

laughs. “They were such incredible kids and it was<br />

great fun for everybody.”<br />

But if a transformational shift has occurred in<br />

the present day, it would be unreasonable to<br />

believe the doubting Thomas when he contends<br />

it has little to do with him, especially after he<br />

reveals details of a collegial management style that<br />

appears sharply focused on altering team culture.<br />

“One of the most important things we<br />

implemented was a code of conduct that increased<br />

12<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014

group to agree on why it’s important to them.<br />

’’<br />

expectations and clearly laid out roles and<br />

responsibilities of the athletes, the standards<br />

we want to hold them to and the foundations of<br />

what we want to develop,” says Thomas, whose<br />

incessant use of “we” exemplifies his reverence for<br />

assistant coach Kim Coates and two extraordinary<br />

volunteers in Ohio State graduate Barbara Bilko<br />

and renowned goaltender coach Pasco Valana.<br />

“It’s basically a contract that we asked them to<br />

agree to and sign.”<br />

What the code includes, he explains, is everything<br />

from punctuality and dressing room etiquette to<br />

use of alcohol and academic standards, proudly<br />

noting that the team’s average GPA climbed a full<br />

eight points in 2012-13 over the previous year.<br />

“Part of the implementation of the code meant<br />

talking to the players about why it’s important to<br />

do the things we said we would do. You can set<br />

goals all you want but you need the group to agree<br />

on why it’s important to them. So we had a team<br />

meeting and discussed it. Out of that came a team<br />

identity and culture that everyone has bought in<br />

to. When you get everybody on the same page like<br />

that, it can be very powerful.”<br />

Whatever was said and agreed upon was<br />

sufficiently powerful to propel the Thunderbirds<br />

from a team that had never won more than<br />

eight games in a season to one with an overall<br />

record of 46-19-6 in Thomas’ two seasons<br />

behind the bench, including the 2013 Canada<br />

West championship over Hayley Wickenheiser<br />

and the defending CIS champion Calgary<br />

Dinos. Individually, the honour<br />

role is similarly encouraging.<br />

Graduating team captain<br />

Christi Capozzi and<br />

2014 Canada West<br />

Player of the Year<br />

Tatiana Rafter<br />

helped<br />

Canada<br />

claim its<br />

third straight<br />

Universiade<br />

gold<br />

medal<br />

during the mid-season break in December. Former<br />

Olympic team goaltender Daniel Dube was named<br />

a First-Team All Canadian in 2013, while Rafter<br />

and the league’s top scoring blue-liner Sarah<br />

Casorso took two of six First Team All Canadian<br />

spots in 2014. Thomas meanwhile marked his<br />

debut season at UBC by being named 2013 CIS<br />

and Sport BC Coach of the Year.<br />

But perhaps the best news of all is on the<br />

recruiting front. Thomas says that UBC’s strong<br />

academic reputation and its stunning campus<br />

have always helped to attract bright and talented<br />

players, but the team’s success has opened the<br />

floodgates. This year’s recruiting class features<br />

four blue chip prospects from four different<br />

provinces, including a potential marquee player<br />

named Logan Boyd from Burlington, Ontario.<br />

A perpetual honors student who aspires to study<br />

Medicine, the 6’1” forward had offers from<br />

several NCAA schools, including Harvard.<br />

Securing Boyd, according to Thomas, was aided<br />

by a recent change in CIS rules by which<br />

the ceiling for scholarships has been<br />

raised as part of a pilot project<br />

to address the annual<br />

flow of<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 13

The Thunderbirds defeated the defending CIS champion Calgary Dinos to win the 2013 Canada West Championship,<br />

and repeated the victory a year later in the 2014 conference quarter-finals.<br />

Canadian student-athletes to US schools.<br />

“That rule change enabled us to recruit Logan,<br />

and I give full credit to our UBC president for<br />

getting it passed,” says Thomas, noting that the<br />

highly contested rule change was the result of the<br />

direct efforts of UBC president Stephen Toope,<br />

who led a task force to challenge the status quo in<br />

CIS sport. The changes included elimination of the<br />

“transfer rule,” which required Canadian students<br />

wanting to transfer to a CIS program from an<br />

NCAA school to sit out for a year. “It will take a<br />

while before we’ll see a dramatic difference in the<br />

number of Canadians going to the States, but there<br />

is no question this is a big step forward. Someday<br />

I would love to see a four team NCAA-CIS<br />

crossover tournament. That would be incredible.”<br />

Incredible is also the word for the recent ascent of<br />

the Thunderbirds, for whom the CIS rule changes<br />

could not have come at a better time. Looking<br />

ahead to the longer term, the sum total of all<br />

the things currently going right for UBC’s team<br />

provide ample reason for optimism. Seasoned<br />

with a newfound measure of confidence, Thomas<br />

and his bright-eyed charges have a lot going for<br />

them as they set their sights on a CIS title, most<br />

importantly a strong and shared belief that it is<br />

now entirely within reach. ;<br />

14<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014

sports hall of<br />

2014<br />


The 2014 class of inductees into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame<br />

will be comprised of five of the most extraordinary athletes in the history of the varsity<br />

program, two of its most successful teams and the student-founder of the Thunderbirds<br />

women’s ice hockey team.<br />

The April 1 induction promises to be a big night for UBC football with the induction of<br />

former UBC linebacker and punter Kevin Konar in the Athlete category and the 1986<br />

Vanier Cup Champion Thunderbirds in the Team category.<br />

The night will also serve as a reminder of UBC’s contributions to Canadian Olympic<br />

teams, with 2000 Olympic Swim Team member and 1998 World Championships and<br />

Commonwealth Games double medalist Mark Versfeld entering the Hall of Fame along<br />

with rower Laryssa Biesenthal, who won eight international medals after graduating from<br />

UBC in 1995, including bronze medals at both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.<br />

Tammy Crawford, the 1993 CIS women’s soccer MVP and former national team<br />

member, will also enter the Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 along with rugby legend Robert<br />

“Ro” Hindson. Hindson played at UBC from 1972 to 1976 and went on to a lengthy<br />

international career that saw him make 31 appearances for Canada, including the inaugural<br />

Rugby World Cup in 1987.<br />

The accumulated members of the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 women’s field hockey teams,<br />

which won back-to-back CIS national championships in 1998 and 1999, will enter the Hall<br />

of Fame in the Team category, while Laura Bennion, the founder and former player and<br />

coach of UBC’s women’s ice hockey team will enter in the Builder category.<br />

The inaugural UBC Sports Hall of Fame induction was held in 1993. Since that time a<br />

total of 86 former athletes, 24 teams and 33 builders of sport have been inducted for<br />

accomplishments dating as far back as the early 1920s.<br />

The 2014 induction will take place at the annual 2014 Big Block Awards and Sports Hall<br />

of Fame Dinner April 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.<br />

}}<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 15

Athlete Inductees<br />

Laryssa Biesenthal<br />

(Rowing 1990-95)<br />

A former track athlete, Laryssa Biesenthal took<br />

up rowing when she entered UBC in 1990. She<br />

attended her first World Championship in 1995<br />

where alongside Kathleen Heddle, Marnie McBean<br />

and Diane O’Grady, she won a silver medal in the<br />

quadruple sculls event. The same foursome won<br />

bronze medals at the 1996 Olympics. In total,<br />

Laryssa won five World Championship medals, two<br />

Olympic medals (including a bronze in the Eights in<br />

2000) and a gold medal in the 1999 Pan American<br />

Games in double sculls.<br />

Tammy Crawford<br />

(Soccer 1993-96)<br />

After a season on Canada’s national team, Tammy<br />

Crawford entered UBC in 1993 and promptly led<br />

the Thunderbirds to a CIS National Championship.<br />

Along the way she led the entire Canada West<br />

conference in scoring (seven goals in 10 games) and<br />

was named a first-team All Canadian. After the 2-1<br />

victory over Dalhousie in the championship final,<br />

she was awarded the Gunn Baldursson Memorial<br />

Award as CIS Championship MVP. She played for<br />

Canada again in the summer of 1994 and rejoined<br />

the Thunderbirds that fall as team captain, leading<br />

UBC to an undefeated season, a return trip to<br />

the CIS championships, and a silver medal finish<br />

following an overtime loss to Dalhousie in the<br />

championship final.<br />

Robert Hindson<br />

(Rugby 1972-76)<br />

The highlight of Robert Hindson’s UBC playing<br />

career was in the 1974-75 season, in which he<br />

helped lead the Thunderbirds to a record of 20-2,<br />

including a Western Canadian Championship and a<br />

victory over the University of California Berkeley in<br />

the annual World Cup two-game total-point series.<br />

For their efforts, the Thunderbirds were honoured<br />

as the 1975 Sport B.C. Team of the Year. Robert<br />

Hindson’s international career began in 1972 after<br />

his freshman year. When he retired in 1990, he had<br />

accumulated a Canadian record 31 international<br />

caps. Two of those caps were earned against Ireland<br />

16<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014<br />

and Wales at the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.<br />

His remarkable career was officially recognized by his<br />

inductions into the BC Rugby Hall of Fame in 2011 and<br />

the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.<br />

Kevin Konar<br />

(Football 1976-79)<br />

Kevin Konar played middle linebacker and punter<br />

at UBC and was a member of two Canada West<br />

championship teams (1976 and 1978) and a member<br />

of the first UBC team to appear in the Vanier Cup in<br />

1978. He was named a Canada West All-star in 1977,<br />

78 and 79 and an All Canadian in 1978 and 79. A cowinner<br />

of the 1980 Bobby Gaul Award (UBC’s most<br />

outstanding graduating male athlete), he was a firstround<br />

CFL draft pick by the BC Lions, with whom he<br />

played 10 seasons as a middle linebacker and was twice<br />

named a CFL All-star. As a BC Lion, he played in three<br />

Grey Cup Games, and won a Grey Cup championship<br />

in 1985. A durable member of the Lions’ defence, he<br />

missed only one game in 10 seasons of professional<br />

football. He was named to BC Lions Wall of Fame in<br />

2008.<br />

Mark Versfeld<br />

(Swimming 1997-2001)<br />

Mark Versfeld was a backstroke specialist on four<br />

consecutive CIS Championship teams (1998, 99, 2000,<br />

2001). Among the many highlights of his brilliant CIS<br />

career, he was a member of UBC's 1999 400-metre<br />

medley relay team (with Jeremy Jaud, Garret Pulle and<br />

Jake Steele) that defeated the University of Calgary's<br />

famed foursome of Chris Renaud, Russell Patrick,<br />

Curtis Myden and Etienne Caron, setting a CIS<br />

record in the process. The 1998 Sport BC University<br />

Athlete of the Year was a national team member<br />

from 1996 to 2001 and an Olympian in 2000. At the<br />

1998 World Championships, he won a silver medal<br />

in 100-metre backstroke and bronze in 200-metre<br />

backstroke. He won gold in the same two events at<br />

the 1998 Commonwealth Games. An honours student<br />

in the Faculty of Arts, Mark was named the top male<br />

Academic All-Canadian in the Canada West conference<br />

in 2000-2001.<br />

sports<br />

20<br />


team Inductees<br />

hall of<br />

football<br />

1986<br />

Coached by Frank Smith, the Thunderbirds went<br />

undefeated in regular-season play and outscored<br />

Canada West opponents 237-82. After a crushing<br />

49-3 victory over the Calgary Dinos in the Canada<br />

West Championship, the Thunderbirds travelled to<br />

Lennoxville, Quebec where they narrowly beat the<br />

Bishop’s Gaiters 32-30 in the Churchill Bowl to win<br />

a berth in the Vanier Cup. One week later Smith’s<br />

Thunderbirds claimed UBC’s second-ever Vanier<br />

Cup championship with a thrilling 25-23 win over<br />

the Western Ontario Mustangs. A total of nine<br />

UBC players were named Canada West All-stars,<br />

while three were named First Team All Canadians<br />

(Jack Beetstra, Mark Norman, Leo Groenewegen).<br />

Defensive back Mark Norman was a finalist for the<br />

Hec Crighton Trophy (CIS Most Outstanding Player)<br />

and the winner of the President’s trophy (CIS Most<br />

Outstanding Defensive Player). Seven members of<br />

the team went on to play professional football in the<br />

CFL.<br />

women’s field hockey<br />

1998-2000<br />

The Thunderbirds field hockey team during this<br />

two-year period posted identical records of 14-1-<br />

1 in each season on route to CIS Championship<br />

victories in 1998 and 1999. Goaltender Ann<br />

Harada was named a First-Team All Canadian<br />

and a CIS Championship all-star in 1999. Jennifer<br />

Dowdeswell was named to both the 1998 and 1999<br />

CIS Championship all-star teams, and coach Hash<br />

Kanjee was honoured as 1998 CIS Coach of the<br />

Year. Dowdeswell was subsequently honoured as<br />

the winner of the Marilyn Pomfret Award (UBC<br />

Female Athlete of the Year) in 2001 while team<br />

mate Stephanie Hume was the award’s co-winner in<br />

2002. Remarkably, a total of seven team members<br />

from these two seasons represented Canada in<br />

international competition (Laura Balakshin, Kim<br />

Buker, Ann Harada, Stephanie Hume, Lesley<br />

Magnus, Mo O’Connor, Emily Menzies).<br />

builder Inductees<br />

14<br />

CTEES<br />

Laura Bennion<br />

After earning a degree in Journalism at Boston’s<br />

Northeastern University and playing three seasons<br />

of NCAA division one hockey, Laura Bennion<br />

enrolled in UBC’s Faculty of Science. In the spring<br />

of 1994 she made an appointment to see UBC<br />

Athletic Director Bob Philip to ask for $10,000 so<br />

she could start a women’s hockey team. Six months<br />

later, with Bennion as coach, a determined group<br />

of students hit the ice for the inaugural season.<br />

As she had assured Philip, the team soon moved<br />

up to increasingly more competitive levels of play,<br />

prompting her to surrender the coaching role so<br />

that she could join the team as its first-line centre.<br />

The year after she graduated, the modern coastto-coast<br />

CIS league became a reality, with seven<br />

Canada West teams competing in a 16-game<br />

schedule leading up to playoffs and the national<br />

championship. Twenty years following the meeting<br />

with Bob Philip, UBC’s women’s hockey team is<br />

well-entrenched and one of the most competitive<br />

teams in the country. Laura Bennion’s induction<br />

in the Builder category represents just the second<br />

time that an inductee has been honoured in that<br />

category for accomplishments as a student. ;<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 17

lock<br />

News ; notes from the big block club<br />

continued from page 9<br />

scoring and rebound leader Kelsey Blair and<br />

current assistant coach Carrie Watson (Watts).<br />

“They’re a special group,” said Huband. “They’re<br />

the team that made the push to get us to the next<br />

level, from being a good team to a great team and<br />

earn that national championship.”<br />

UBC swim team alumni were in reunion mode too<br />

recently, with a rare get-together that honoured<br />

the three primary builders of Canada’s most<br />

decorated university swim program. University of<br />

Washington multi-sport letterman Jack Pomfret,<br />

who coached UBC’s swim teams from 1962<br />

to 1975, was on hand as distinguished elder<br />

statesman. A member of the BC and UBC Sport<br />

Halls of Fame, Pomfret coached six Western<br />

Canadian champion swim teams at UBC and<br />

was named 1971 CIAU Swim Coach of the Year.<br />

In addition to leading the construction of the<br />

UBC Aquatic Centre in the early 70s, he coached<br />

many of his swimmers to international-level<br />

competition, including Olympians Ken Campbell,<br />

Karen James, George Smith and Bill Mahony.<br />

Fellow BC Sports Hall of Fame member Jack<br />

Kelso was also honoured on the occasion for his<br />

contributions to UBC swimming. Still the holder<br />

of world records for his age category in masters<br />

swimming events, the Ocean Falls native took<br />

over as swim coach from Pomfret in 1975 and<br />

guided the UBC women’s team to back-to-back<br />

CIAU championships in 1985 and 1986. A former<br />

faculty member along with Pomfret in the UBC<br />

School of Kinesiology (then Physical Education),<br />

Kelso recommended upon his retirement as coach<br />

that UBC pursue an up and coming international<br />

level coach named Tom Johnson, who since 1979<br />

had guided the Pacific Dolphins Swim Club. On an<br />

already special occasion, the combined presence of<br />

Pomfret, Kelso, Johnson and their former athletes<br />

poignantly symbolized the cohesive culture that<br />

has been at the heart of over 50 years of academic<br />

and sport excellence on Point Grey.<br />

Women’s hockey team kicked off the season with alumni<br />

event. Left to right, Doug Mitchell, alumna Kira Sinow,<br />

Lois Mitchell, alumnae Laura Bennion, Jen Cham and<br />

Monica Eickmeier, head coach Graham Thomas.<br />

In Memoriam<br />

Last month the UBC sport community was<br />

shocked to learn that Sonya Lumholst-Smith<br />

passed away after a short illness on Christmas Day<br />

in Chapala, Mexico. A former dance instructor in<br />

the UBC School of Kinesiology, she branched out<br />

in numerous ways over a 25-year UBC career as<br />

an administrator and leader of countless initiatives<br />

in sport and physical education, including a lead<br />

role in the development of the Student Recreation<br />

Centre. Sonya was predeceased in 2012 by her<br />

long-time friend and partner Bob Morford, a<br />

former director of the UBC School of Kinesiology<br />

who was inspired to pursue a scholarly career<br />

by former UBC rugby coach Max Howell, who<br />

passed away February 3 in Brisbane, Australia.<br />

A member of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, Max<br />

taught at UBC and coached rugby from 1954 to<br />

1961.<br />

UBC rowing alumni were recently saddened by<br />

the loss of Peter Yates at his home in Cobble Hill,<br />

BC on December 10. A graduate of the School of<br />

Kinesiology and Faculty of Education, Peter was<br />

a former varsity rower and coach who went on<br />

to become a much admired teacher and rowing<br />

coach at Shawnigan Lake School. Rosalind (Rosy)<br />

Lecky will also be fondly remembered by UBC<br />

rowing alumni for her patronage of philanthropic<br />

endeavours that included the UBC John M. S.<br />

Lecky Boat House and the UBC Women’s Rowing<br />

team. Rosy Lecky passed away February 25 at<br />

North Shore Hospice.<br />

18<br />

BLUE;GOLD spring 2014

UBC assistant swim coach Brian Johns (far left) and head<br />

coach Steve Price (far right) flank the honoured trio of<br />

Tom Johnson, Jack Pomfret and Jack Kelso at alumni<br />

event. Below right: swim alumnus and Rhodes Scholar<br />

John McArthur was keynote speaker at 2014 TELUS<br />

Millennium Scholarship Breakfast.<br />

Former UBC soccer great Bill Popowich died after<br />

a lengthy illness on February 22. A teacher for<br />

over 35 years and principal at New Westminster<br />

Senior Secondary School, Bill devoted almost his<br />

entire adult life to amateur sport coaching and<br />

volunteering, including his key involvement in the<br />

BC High School Boys Basketball Championship.<br />

He was inducted in the Builder category of the<br />

Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.<br />

Former UBC Professor, Dean of Commerce and<br />

swim coach Peter Lusztig’s distinguished journey<br />

ended on January 26. Born May 12, 1930 in<br />

Budapest, he came to UBC as a student in 1948.<br />

Before leaving for graduate school, he coached the<br />

UBC swim teams in the years leading up to the<br />

construction of the Commonwealth Games Pool,<br />

thereby helping to establish the foundation of<br />

one of Canada’s most successful university swim<br />

programs.<br />

The family and friends of BC and UBC Sports<br />

Hall of Fame member Reg Clarkson, who<br />

passed away in 2012, have established the<br />

Reginald Clarkson Memorial Award in Athletics<br />

recognizing excellence in leadership and<br />

academics. In the spirit of Reg’s lifelong passion<br />

for participation in team sports and for lending a<br />

helping hand to others who needed it, preference<br />

will be given to student-athletes who demonstrate<br />

financial need. ;<br />

spring 2014 BLUE;GOLD 19

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