The eyes of the Canadian university women’s hockey world will be turned to Western University next month as Thompson Arena plays host to the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championship from Mar. 15-18.
Not only will the Western Mustangs hit the ice in their home rink to take on the best teams in the nation, but this year’s championship will also mark the 20th anniversary of the national university women’s hockey championship.
The emergence of women’s university hockey in Canada can be largely credited to Katherine “Cookie” Cartwright, the first head coach of the Queen’s Gaels. She resurrected the Queen’s recreational league while still in law school (1960) and would continue to lead the campaign for the recognition of women’s hockey for years to come. Cartwright donated the championship trophy in 1998, now named the Golden Path Trophy.
Ontario University Athletics (OUA) – then the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) – was the first athletics conference to encourage and allow women’s hockey with formal acceptance after an introductory period in 1963, with their first championship game in the 1971-72 season. Canada West, the AUS, RSEQ, and U SPORTS – then named the CIAU – would all follow with full varsity leagues and championships established in 1997.
Concordia made history as the first-ever national champions in the 1997-98 season, and two more RSEQ schools have since taken possession of the Golden Path Trophy, with McGill University and Université de Montréal also adorning the trophy.
Historically speaking Canada West has largely dominated the championship, with Alberta winning the conference’s ninth title last year in Napanee, Ont. Calgary is the only other school from the conference to bring home the banner. The AUS is the only conference that has not yet had a team win a national title, while the OUA has three under its belt. Toronto was the first school to bring the trophy back to Ontario, followed by Laurier.
Western is the most recent champion to hail from the OUA, winning the program’s first title in 2014-15. The national title came just weeks after the team had won the first OUA title in program history, and established themselves as one of the best rosters in Western hockey history.
Western’s first ever national banner didn’t come easily for the team, who had to fight their way through Université de Moncton, Université de Montréal, and the defending champions in McGill. The following season saw the team return to the championship for the second time, taking fifth place at the event.
Three Mustangs who helped the team upset the Marlets remain on the roster and will be on the hunt for their second national title of their university careers. Megan Taylor, Ali Beres, and Anthea Lasis – who scored the gold medal game-winning goal – will be back on the ice in purple and white and looking to win another championship title, this time on home ice.
For more information visit: https://usports.ca/en/championships/hockey/f/info
Watch the championships live on USPORTS.LIVE
Online – advanced purchase
- Tournament Pass: $30.00
- Daily Pass: $10.00
- Tournament Pass: $35.00
- Daily Pass: $15.00
- Children 5 and under: Free
For ticket information contact Nikki Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org