Archive for the ‘Women’s Hockey’ Category

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UBC Thunderbirds forward, Chanreet Bassi. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds have an exciting rookie forward that’s looking to dazzle this season. Chanreet Bassi has brought speed and skill to the Thunderbirds lineup. Bassi’s positive energy and enthusiasm has helped UBC to a 8-5-3 first half record.

“Everything’s super good,” Bassi explained to Har Journalist. “I love the team. School is going well and we’re doing pretty well right now.”

In 16 games this season, Bassi has contributed two goals and two assists. The first goal in her UBC career came on the power play during the teams home opener on October 11 vs Calgary. It’s not everyday that a first-year player earns power play time, but Bassi has earned it.

“She has a very high hockey sense and hockey IQ,” Coach Graham Thomas explained. “She has a lot of skill. She sees the ice really well, and you match that with great skating ability. She’s still learning to be a consistent force in this league. She needs to continue to have that focus and intent all the time. She’s adapting to this level and the physicality. She’s done it pretty well. I think she’s going to get even better, and better as the season goes on.”

The Lake Country, B.C. native, has found herself on an explosive second line with Emma Hall, and Ashley McFadden. The trio bring tremendous finesse, terrific puck control, and blistering pace.

“Hallzy and Bassi played on Team B.C. together,” Thomas revealed. “They had a little bit of a connection. We didn’t try it right away, but we threw it out there. It’s really nice to see that they’re finding each other. You’re right, they’re very similar. They have a smiler skill-set and mindset. It’s good to see.”

As UBC looks for scoring by committee, the second line has the ability to carry the team and produce timely goals.

“Both Hallzy and McFadden great players,” Bassi said. “They support me on the ice and I love playing with them.”

Thunderbirds captain, Mathea Fischer has looked to pick up a few of Bassi’s puck handling tricks this season. The fifth-year centre is glad to have Bassi on her team and not on the opposition.

“She’s a very very dynamic player, Fischer said. “She has lot of skills. It’s always fun to watch her, she brings something different everyday. Even in practice, watching her and trying to learn some of the moves that she does. She’s a great player, and a great teammate. We’re lucky to have her here.”

The 21-year-old got into hockey at an early age. When you grow up in a family with an older sibling that loves hockey, naturally you want to be involved. Bassi knew that she wanted hockey to be a part of her life, and she quickly picked up the sport.

“I got into hockey when I was three or four,” Bassi explained. “I started playing it because I saw my brother would play it. I was just like, ‘oh, that’s like the coolest sport’. I wanted to get into it.”

Besides her brother, Bassi had a certain Montreal Canadiens player she also followed.

“As a youngster probably Brendan Gallagher,” Bassi said. “He’s just a feisty player, scores goals. and he works hard.”

If there is anyone on the Thunderbirds that knows Chanreet Bassi the best, that’s defender, Sydney Neustaeter.

Bassi and Neustaeter both grew up in Lake Country.

“I met her through hockey,” Neustaeter explained. “We had always kind of lived in the same places, but we went to different schools. We finally played together on the Kelowna Bantam A team. It was about six years ago. We’ve met through hockey, and have become close.

I committed before her, and I was really trying to push her to come here. I knew she was really interested in it, so I pushed her to get a commitment here.”

What’s the best way to shutdown Bassi one on one?

“I try and take the body as much as I can,” Neustaeter said. “I know her hands are pretty fast. If I take one look down, she’s already past me. I’ve got to take the body and hope for the best.”

UBC will be hoping to bounce back from a four-game losing streak when the second half of the Canada West season begins on January 3 against the Calgary Dinos. UBC has scored once in their last four games.

Spoken like a true veteran, Bassi is focused on the present. The Canada West playoffs, and possible USports Championship can wait. She isn’t about to be distracted by outside noise.

“We’re not going to think that far ahead,” Bassi said. “Yeah, just focus on the games ahead and just keep working at it.”

As a first-year player, what would it mean to make it to the national USports final?

“It would obviously be a dream, but once again, just have to work hard to get there. We’re just going to have to keep that up.”

The UBC Thunderbirds have a promising talent in Chanreet Bassi and the best is yet to come.

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The UBC Thunderbirds at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on November 26, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – UBC will be looking to get back to their winning ways after being swept at home by the Mount Royal Cougars last weekend. Riding a six-game winning streak, UBC lost 2-1 and 1-0 to Mount Royal. UBC’s 8-3-3 record has them in second spot in Canada West with 26 points. They will close out the first half at home vs Alberta this weekend.

The Thunderbirds two-game losing streak has them taking everything in stride. It’s a long season, and you know there will be bumps along the way. Coach Graham Thomas wants to see his team continue to stick to the process.

“We learned an important lesson to not let our highs get too high, and our lows too low,” Thomas explained to Har Journalist earlier this week. “We learned the highs too high part on the weekend. Maybe we were thinking too much of ourselves, and not sticking to the process, and not putting the work in. All the hard work we did to earn those wins, and the (six-game winning) streak. We kind of veered from that.”

The process at hand involves a battle against the Alberta Pandas.

The Thunderbirds and Pandas faced off in the season opener. Alberta earned 7-1 and 7-0 wins over UBC.

The Birds have since re-grouped and are the highest ranked Canada West team in USports.

First year defender, Sydney Neustaeter, knows what UBC has to do to beat Alberta.

“I think we’ve got to shut down their speed, really take it to them” Neustaeter revealed. “They’re a small fast team. If we take the body to them, they shouldn’t be able to get past us.”

The Thunderbirds will also have to win the special teams battle. Mount Royal got the better of UBC’s power play. UBC’s power play is 10/59 this season at 16.9 percent, that has them third in Canada West.

“The special teams hurt us on the weekend,” Thomas said. “Our penalty kill needs to be better. We need to block shots, and we need to make smarter reads. The power play, it was all about execution. We just weren’t making passes, we weren’t supporting the plays very well. They just need to be better. They know it, they’re capable, and we believe in them.”

No matter what Canadian city you are in, there’s bound to be a discussion on how to fix the power play. Whether it’s an umbrella, overload, or 1-3-1 formation, everyone seems to have the answer of how to fix a struggling power play.

Captain Mathea Fischer, isn’t too worried about UBC’s challenges on the power play.

“I think the power play is about out working the pk.” Fischer said. “Keeping up that same work ethic that you do five on five. For us on the power play, I think it’s a great opportunity to be out there, have some fun, out work, and try and create some offence.”

The Pandas power play is 16/60 and at 26.7 percent, they are far and away leading Canada West with the player advantage. UBC will have to play disciplined and stay out of the box, especially because the Thunderbirds penalty killing is a league worst 78 percent.

There is more on the line in this matchup besides closing the first half on a positive note. The Pandas currently sit in third spot with an 8-6-0 record and 23 points. If UBC can earn a split or take both games from Alberta. That could make all the difference in deciding which team gets a first-round Canada West playoff bye in February.

Yes, it’s still November, but every game matters. In a conference that’s as close as Canada West, you can’t afford to take an evening or afternoon off. If UBC can send the Pandas into an early hibernation, that could decide which team earns a week of rest in February.

“It’s extremely important, especially tie-breakers,” Thomas reiterated. “All that comes into play. The points are very important, and they took it to us last time. We’re a different team now, a much better group, and we’ve come along way since we played them in the first weekend. We’ve got to come ready to prove that and show it to ourselves and everybody. The points are extremely important. Every game in this league is so tight.”

“Every point, every weekend is going to be huge come the end of the season,” Fischer said. “This league is so tight, and it’s probably the tightest in the country. The Pandas are always a good battle. It’s going to be a good test for us.”

Finishing the first half with some wins could help UBC build confidence for the new year. The Thunderbirds will begin January on the road against conference leading Calgary, January 3 – 4. Until then it’s all about the Panda, Panda, Pandas.

Tory Micklash vs Alberta, Oct. 27, 2018

UBC Thunderbirds goalie Tory Micklash. Photo: Rich Lam UBC Thunderbirds Athletics.

VANCOUVER B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds are off to a strong first half start to the season. A six-game winning streak earlier this month has helped UBC to second spot in Canada West with a 8-3-3 record.

In a nine-game stretch from October 12 – November 21, UBC surrendered six goals. The Thunderbirds went 8-0-1 in that span. While offence has been a challenge, UBC has been able to shut the door, and play lock down defence.

“I think it’s just taking care of our zone,” UBC Coach Graham Thomas, explained to Har Journalist. “Making sure we’re responsible and good in our battles. It’s just having pride in protecting our zone first, and coming out five up, and five back. We’re all a a part of it.”

The bond that forms a successful team, is measured by playing for the teammate beside you. UBC is playing hockey together, as a determined team that wants to win for each and everyone in the room.

“The biggest thing has the belief in each other” Thomas added. “The accountability of knowing what we’re trying to do, totally buying into it, holding each other responsible and accountable to make sure that standard is met. That’s been the biggest thing.”

A big part of the UBC success has been the teams number one goaltender, Tory Micklash. The fourth-year shot-stopper, leads the conference with five shutouts. Micklash, has started every game, and she’s been a brick wall in net.

Micklash ranks second in the league with eight wins, and third with 280 saves.

What’s been the key to Micklash’s fantastic start?

“I think just knowing the girls in front of me are going to do their job,” Micklash said. “That gives me the freedom to just focus on doing my job. I know I can trust them to block a shot, when a shot needs to be blocked.”

Micklash’s performance in net has been off the charts. Not only is she the backbone of UBC’s defence, but she is also breaking program records along the way. UBC has had a long list of terrific goaltenders, and Micklash is moving up the charts.

Her 42 career regular season wins have passed the previous mark of 39 set by Danielle Dube.

Micklash’s 16 shutouts have shattered UBC’s previous record of nine held by Melinda Choy.

“It’s flattering, but I don’t think it’s a one man job,” Micklash said, playing down her achievements. “It comes with the team, they’re the ones scoring the goals. I think the wins especially, are such a team concept. I’m not taking any credit for that.”

UBC Thunderbirds Goalie Coach, Pasco Valana, has worked with Micklash since she was in high school in East St. Paul, Manitoba.

“She’s not going to take the credit for the win,” Valana explained. “She’ll take the blame for the losses, but she won’t take the credit for the wins, even though on many occasions she’s unbelievable, and gives us a chance to win all the time.”

The relationship between Micklash and Valana means the world to the UBC goalie.

“I don’t even know if words can describe that.” Micklash said. “I’ve been working with him for seven years. I started working with him when I was in grade 11. Since then, and it’s not even hockey, but my personal growth has grown. He’s definitely more than a hockey coach. Life coach should be in his title somewhere.”

Micklash would fly out to Vancouver for private lessons from Valana. He quickly knew that he was working with a highly talented goalie. Valana helped Thomas and Assistant Coach, Mike Sommer, recruit Micklash to the UBC.

“She’s developed extremely well,” Valana explained. “She’s always been a cerebral student. She really thinks things through, listens carefully. She’s a master at staying calm and relaxed. It’s something that you try to teach goaltenders, it’s one of the challenges that they all have, but it doesn’t seem to be that for Tory. She’s calm, and doesn’t get too excited about anything. That helps her have a clear mind, and clear eyes on the ice.”

UBC will look to get back into the win column following a pair of losses to the Mount Royal Cougars. The Thunderbirds head into the first half break with a pair of home games against the Alberta Pandas on November 29 – 30.

Micklash knows there is still a lot of work left to do this season.

“I think maintaining, and staying consistent.” Micklash describes her goals for the season. “Showing up and having a consistent performance every night, and not having an off night. I still feel like that can happen sometimes. Just trying to find something that can prevent that from happening.”

As the games get tougher, the best goalies rise to the occasion. An inform goaltender can carry a team, and UBC has that in Tory Micklash.

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The UBC Thunderbirds at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. October 24, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds will be back on the ice on Friday night when they host the Manitoba Bisons at The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. There will be a lot more than hockey on the line when the Birds and Bisons battle.

The 2-2-2 Thunderbirds, will have their second annual Sexual Assault Awareness game. UBC forward, Shiayli Toni, is the force behind the initiative that will be looking to raise money for the British Columbia, WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre.

“This event is a student led initiative,” Toni explained to Har Journalist. “It’s meant to be a coming together of our community of allies, and supporters as a way to strengthen our community, and have a really positive response. We all know and love someone who has being affected by sexual violence. I think we all play a part in building a culture of consent.”

The fourth-year Thunderbird, has gone above and beyond to help make a change.

Toni’s work on campus extends to the Sexual Violence Prevention Response Office (SVPRO).

“I’m student staff, and I work closely with the education team working on campaigns, advocacy, helping design, and deliver workshop material and curriculum.”

Earlier this year, Toni helped create a special book that helps to raise awareness.

“This summer I designed a colouring book for survivors and allies,” Toni revealed. “It’s a campus resource that our office is distributing right now. They have them at different councillng centres on campus. It’s available for free, for anyone who would like one. It’s my favourite summer project that I’ve ever worked on.”

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Summer project now in print!! Here’s a sneak-peek ☺️ Whatever you are feeling right now is valid, normal and okay. Practicing self-care and paying attention to the feelings and emotions that act as our inner guides are good ways to honour ourselves while doing this important healing and resisting work. Everyone experiences and responds to sexual violence differently, and you have the freedom to do what is right for you, knowing that there are people and resources here for you if you want them. You deserve respect and support, and thats is what we are here for. You are not alone! We believe you! This book is meant to accompany you through your own process as a creative way to channel the complex feelings that may come up, or simply as a way to slow down, tune out, and provide a moment of calm in your day. Message me if you want one for yourself or a friend!

A post shared by Shiayli Toni (she/her) (@shiayli.toni) on

The Saskatoon native, helped create a pledge poster that hangs outside the UBC Thunderbirds gym.

As Toni works her way back from tearing her ACL last season, she is determined to help others. Navigating the challenges that university life brings can be difficult. Knowing that there is support, and help if you need it, means everything. Having resources, and allies ready to lend a hand can make life a whole lot better for anyone struggling.

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Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office Pledge Poster: Photo: Har Journalist

“As women we know this is a gendered issue,” Toni said. “We want to use our platform to raise awareness and take leadership. We hope that other athletes, and people, in our community and on this campus will step up and join us.”

Universities are meant to be safe places for students, athletes, and faculty, but that’s not always the case. Campuses all over the world have had issues with rape culture, sexual violence, consent, and understanding that no, means no.

The UBC Thunderbirds Women’s Hockey team is the only team on campus that has Sexual Assault Awareness game.

Coach Graham Thomas, and his staff fully support their players making a difference on and off the ice.

“It’s something that our players, and I think some of our alumni, where it’s kind of close to home. It’s an issue that is very prevalent on campuses, but everywhere. It’s not like it’s a UBC thing. It’s something that’s in our culture, and all across the world. It’s a really great cause, and it’s something that we wanted to make a stand for and support.”

How can you help show your support?

“First of all, come out to the game on Friday. The more people, the better.” Toni said.

Fans in attendance are asked to wear teal, the colour of sexual support awareness.

“I definitely think we could all be doing more,” Toni explained. “Not just on this campus, but just in society in general. Anytime that people step up and take leadership, we’re moving in the right direction.

I think just given our platform as student athletes and the fact that we can host an event like this. It’s an easy way to get other people to buy in and to make a statement that, ‘We do not stand for this’.”

The Manitoba Bisons knocked UBC out of the 2019 Canada West semifinals playoffs, but redemption isn’t at the forefront of this weekend’s series. It’s more than just power plays, slapshots, defensive zone coverage. Toni and her teammates are motivated to lead the way, and help raise support for sexual assault awareness.

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2019 UBC Thunderbirds captain, Mathea Fischer. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds have named a new captain for the 2019-2020 season. It takes a special kind of person to lead by example on and off the ice. Leadership plays a huge role in hockey. You need someone who is going to motive, encourage, and support their teammates through all the ups and downs of a season.

“Mathea Fischer is our captain,” UBC Coach Graham Thomas told Har Journalist.

“She just does everything,” Thomas continued. “Leads by example, loves hockey, love the team, and program. She’s just a great person and has a really good internal gauge on right, and wrong, and does the right things. She really works hard, and is a smart hockey player. She’s a leader, reliable, consistent, and dedicated. She’s great.”

Fischer who celebrates her 22nd birthday today, takes over the captaincy from Celine Tardif, who graduated last season.

“The team did a vote in the summer, and then I got the call from Graham, and Mike (Assistant Coach Sommer). I’m very honoured, and very lucky. There’s a lot of good leaders on this team. I think it’s more than just a one person thing, it’s the whole team.

It’s very special the captains that have been here before me,” Fischer continued. “Great people, great players. For sure, big shoes to fill. There’s lot of people that lead in this locker room. I think there’s many people that could have been chosen. It’s a team effort for sure.”

Fischer enters her fifth season with UBC on the top line as the teams number one centre. While she looks to provide offence alongside, Hannah Clayton-Carroll, and Chanreet Bassi, Fischer wants to make sure the Thunderbirds are in a positive mind frame away from the rink. Mental health can take a toll, and Fischer wants to be there to help.

“I think the biggest thing is just consistency,” Fischer said. “Making sure that everyone is alright on the team, both physically and mentally. Being a student athlete is definitely a lot to take in.”

If you’re expecting Fischer to provide a big motivational speech, and a pumped up pre-game talk, that’s not quite what she’s about. She wants to do everything the right way, and lead via her play on the ice. The vocal aspect of being a captain, is something that she is working on.

“I think I’m more of a lead by example kind of player,” Fischer explained. “I’m definitely trying to work on being more vocal. Everyone leads in their own way from first year to fifth year. Some people speak up, some people show their effort on the ice and come to work everyday. I try and do a little bit of both.”

Growing up in Oslo, Fischer, never dreamed of being captain of a university hockey program.

Her family in Norway, was thrilled to learn of the news.

“It’s special for sure, a little kid from Norway coming here,” Fischer reminisced. “They’re really proud. I’m really honoured to have this position, and I’m excited for the year.

I think just being here playing is just a dream. I’m so lucky to be in this environment everyday. Just being out here playing with my best friends everyday, I think that was a dream itself.”

Spoken like a true leader, Fischer would prefer the spotlight be on her teammates. The Thunderbirds will be looking to make some noise this season. The captain has already set high team goals that she believes UBC is ready to battle for.

“Our goal for the season is to get to that national championship. Canada West first, but trying to get back to nationals, and hopefully take home some hardware.”

Mathea Fischer, and the 0-2-0, UBC Thunderbirds open the home portion of their schedule on Friday night at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre against the 2-0-0, Calgary Dinos.

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The 2019 UBC Thunderbirds practicing at Father David Bauer Arena. Photo: Har Journalist 

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds will be back in action on Friday night when they drop the puck on their first home game of the season. UBC will be looking to earn their first win of the season after a pair of losses to the Alberta Pandas. The defending Canada West champions earned 7-1 and 7-0 wins over UBC.

UBC will be in tough as they battle a Dinos team that’s full of confidence and momentum.

The visitors, come into the weekend series riding a perfect 2-0-0 record.

In order for UBC to earn a result, they’re going to have stay out of the penalty box. Good teams make you pay with the player advantage, and that’s exactly what Alberta did. The parade to the box helped the Pandas score 7 power play goals.

UBC will also have to be solid defensivly, and locked in offensively, but that’s easier said than done. The Thunderbirds will be taking on a scoring by committee approach. UBC wants to have four quality scoring lines that can contribute regularly.

UBC Thunderbirds Coach Graham Thomas, is excited to have his top two scorers back this season.

“We’re returning Fish, (Mathea Fischer), and Hannah Clayton-Carroll, and they like to play together. We have them playing together. I think they’ll be good again. We’ve added Bassi, (Chanreet Bassi) a rookie to add to that. I think they complement each other well. Hallzy’s, (Emma Hall) always good for some dangles. The other three lines are going to be scoring by committee.”

UBC’s second line could be in line for a breakout season. Ireland Perrott, Shay-Lee McConnell, and Mackenzie Kordic have the skill and talent to surprise opponents. If they can get on a roll early, UBC could have two number one scoring lines.

“Shay, and Ireland had a nice little thing going last year, some chemistry,” Thomas revealed. “We’re going to add Kordic, a freshman with some size, and a shot on that line. I think we’re going to be good.”

In her third season with UBC, Perrott, wants to continue developing by working hard at both ends of the rink. The Calahoo, Alberta native, is delighted to be on a line with McConnell and Kordic.

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UBC Thunderbirds forward, Ireland Perrott. Photo: Har Journalist

“Shay is one of our best two-hundred foot players,” Perrott explained. “Really smart, defensively sound, has a scoring touch. Mackenzie Kordic, big power forward, good shot, big body, and can win puck battles, and really be a force out there. I’m really luck to be playing with them.”

The Thunderbirds trio of Tiffany Chiu, Ashley McFadden, and Emma Hall, all have speed to burn. They have a quick first step that should help them catch opposition teams in transition. They can stick handle in a phone booth, and should create some magic.

Vancouver native, Tiffany Chiu, knows that this is a deep Thunderbirds team.

“I think this year, we have really good depth on our lines, and I think that will really help. Every line can contribute, whether that’s scoring goals, or being super defensive. It’ll definitely be a team effort to get points on the board.

There’s not really a mega superstar, but there’s definitely those out there who have good talent to get the puck in the back of the net.”

Top teams are measured by how they bounce back after a tough loss. The Thunderbirds experienced that in Edmonton, and it should make them stronger. The Dinos present a new challenge that UBC will have to be ready for on Friday.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive for my feature on Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Ali Adnan.

https://bit.ly/2PiBDAB

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Ali Adnan on Thursday, August 22 2019. Photo: Har Journalist.

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