NEW WESTMINSTER – The Canada West field hockey major awards were anounced on Sunday afternoon and last year’s CIS Coach of the Year Lynne Beecroft was named Canada West Coach of the Year once again.
Rachel Donohoe, named Canada West Player of the Year, and the T-Birds capped off their championship season with a 3-0 win against the Calgary Dinos Sunday afternoon in Vancouver, as UBC put the finishing touches on a 6-0-2 regular season record.
UBC, along with the second-place Victoria Vikes (4-2-2), will now head to the University of Toronto November 3-6 for the national tournament. The Thunderbirds travel to the Ontario capital looking for their sixth consecutive national championship.
Joining Donohoe as an award winner was fellow T-Bird Gabriella Switzer (Goalkeeper of the Year) and Victoria’s Emily Wong (Rookie of the Year), Annie Walters-Shumka (Outstanding Contributor) and Beecroft (Coach of the Year).
In addition to the conference major awards, the 2016 all-stars were also unveiled Sunday, with five Vikes, four Thunderbirds and a pair of Calgary Dinos honoured.
Player of the Year (Liz Hoffman Award nominee) – Rachel Donohoe
North Vancouver, B.C.
Donohoe is the Canada West Player of the Year for the second time in her career, after also earning the award in 2013. The fourth-year kinesiology major made her return to the UBC Thunderbirds this season after spending 2015 playing professionally in Germany. Donohoe is the lynchpin of the T-Bird defence, a relative black hole for opposing forwards.
Offensively, she is a gifted playmaker who starts rushes for UBC’s offence with her pinpoint passes from the back-end.
“She was always a dynamic defender but I think her confidence is at an all-time high right now,” said UBC head coach Robin D’Abreo. “She is working the ball up field so effectively. It causes the opposition a lot of grief.”
Donohoe played her high school field hockey at Argyle Secondary in North Vancouver.
Rookie of the Year – Emily Wong
Emily Wong started every game for the Vikes women’s field hockey team this season at centre midfield – one of the toughest positions to play on the field. A quick learner, Wong jumped into an important role with the team, finishing the season with one goal while drawing some of toughest matchups in games against UBC and Calgary.
When injuries forced head coach Lynne Beecroft to shuffle her lineup, Wong took to the challenge and showcased her versatility, moving to the backfield and doing an excellent job against a tough squad in the UBC Thunderbirds.
Wong, a three-time member of the BC ‘A’ program that won the national championship this past summer, was also an essential part of the Vikes penalty corner offensive unit in her first year with the team.
“As a first-year athlete, Emily played an integral role for us,” said head coach Lynne Beecroft. “She reads the game well, was always tasked to mark one of the top players on the opposition and was able to score one goal from her centre midfield position this season.”
Goalkeeper of the Year – Gabriella Switzer
Global Resource Systems
In just her second season with the T-Birds, Gabriella Switzer was thrust into the starting goaltending job after an injury to UBC star Rowan Harris. ‘Gabby’ relished the opportunity and went on to record three shutouts in the season’s first six games.
In the two-game series versus Victoria, where wins for UBC would clinch the Canada West championship, Switzer posted a shutout of the Vikes on a cold, rainy day in Victoria. Switzer made several big saves in the driving rain and set UBC on a course to claim their 26th Canada West title.
Switzer was a star for the York House School team in Vancouver and is a product of the Field Hockey BC regional and provincial program.
Outstanding Contributor (Gail Wilson Award nominee) – Annie Walters-Shumka
A four-time CIS Academic All-Canadian and a Canada West All-Star in two of her five years with the team, Walters-Shumka has been an important member of the Vikes team both on and off the field. She gives her all at practice and games, taking time to step in and mentor her teammates, and spends much of her time off the field volunteering as a medical intern, clinic volunteer, ambulatory care unit volunteer, Active Start program leader with Special Olympics, math and science tutor and field hockey coach.
She has coached multiple field hockey teams in Victoria, including in the Victoria Spring League, the Monterey Middle School team and the UVic Rising Stars program. Last year, she was named a CIS Championship All-Star after helping lead the Vikes to CIS silver on home turf. Despite multiple commitments on and off the field, she manages an 8.5 GPA (on a 9-point scale) in the faculty of Science.
“Annie is an amazing young woman who has been chosen by her teammates as their 2016 CW Gail Wilson Award nominee,” said head coach Lynne Beecroft. “To be honest, it astonishes me that she can do so well at university, do all of this volunteer work and still make such a huge impact on the varsity women’s field hockey team.”
Coach of the Year – Lynne Beecroft
In her 33rd year with the team, Lynne Beecroft led the University of Victoria Vikes to a 4-2-2 record, with both losses coming by one goal against UBC. Last year’s CIS Coach of the Year took on six rookies this season and welcomed back four fifth-year players, providing a nice mix between experienced veterans and young players.
Once again Beecroft, along with assistant coaches Krista Thompson and Ali Lee, fielded one of the most competitive university teams in Canada, using her experience to help the Vikes navigate injuries and illness to book a place at nationals in Toronto. Beecroft’s teams have made 31 national championships since she took the helm at Victoria and those teams have won 11 gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals, missing the podium just four times. Her all-time record at the national tournament is 80-31-17.
2016 CANADA WEST ALL-STAR TEAM
POSITION – NAME / UNIVERSITY / ELIGIBILITY / HOMETOWN / PROGRAM
D – Rosie Beale / University of Victoria / 1st / Vancouver, B.C. / Social Sciences
D – Jessica Britton / University of Calgary / 5th / Rossland, B.C. / Medicine
M – Rachel Donohoe / University of British Columbia / 4th / North Van., B.C. / Kinesiology
F/M – Hannah Haughn / University of British Columbia / 5th / North Van., B.C. / Kinesiology
M – Sarah Keglowitsch / University of British Columbia / 4th / Shawinigan Lake, B.C. / Kin.
F – Amanda Kurianowicz / University of Victoria / 5th / Calgary, Alta. / Social Sciences
D/M – Kathleen Leahy / University of Victoria / 5th / Victoria, B.C. / Education
F/M – Stephanie Norlander / University of British Columbia / 4th / North Van., B.C. / Food, nutrition & health
D – Kristina Walters-Shumka / University of Victoria / 5th / Victoria, B.C. / Science
D/F – Sabrina Wong / University of Calgary / 2nd / West Vancouver, B.C. / Medicine
D – Lizzie Yates / University of Victoria / 4th / Cobble Hill, B.C. / Humanities