Compiled a perfect 25-0 record against university competition and outscored Canada West opponents 72-1. Were '82 Canada West and national CIAU champions as well as '83 Vancouver First Division champs. Virtually entire squad made up of National or Provincial team members.
Anne Crofts, Sandy MacKay, Sally Sherwood, Joni Franks, Wendy Westermark, Terri Drain, Dana Sinclair, Robyn Sinclair, Alison Palmer, Diana Popowich, Bev Kelly, Carrie Lockwood, Helen Olynyk, Jean Mustard, Sally Thicke, Gail Wilson (coach), Jim Potts (manager).
Women's field hockey, one of the most consistently successful UBC sports since the 1940s was especially strong in the late 1970s and during the 1980s - guided by nationally recognized coach, Gail Wilson. The 1982/83 team was no exception to this prized tradition as it boasted a strong line-up that featured five national team members, two more who played on BC’s senior team and four more on the province's under 23 team. This era could be considered the golden age of women’s field hockey as Vancouver was both producing and attracting many of the finest players in the country. The only worry this particular year for this exceptionally talented UBC team was whether the competition would be strong enough to prepare them for their anticipated appearance at the CIAU national championships.
The UBC Thunderbirds won their first Canada West university tournament in undefeated fashion, out scoring the opposition 29-1 including 9-0, 8-0 and 7-0 victories over Alberta, Calgary and Manitoba.
Their second tournament, one involving both Vancouver league and university competition, saw UBC victorious in all six games. Now with an 11-0 record against the best competition available, coach Wilson remained "cautiously optimistic" when viewing the nationals. This perfect record was extended after yet another tournament, one at which UBC went undefeated at the home of their arch-rivals, the University of Victoria.
The regular season finale took place at the Canada West Championships in Calgary, where skill-destroying and strategy-destroying mud failed to deter the UBC Thunderbirds, as they retained enough edge to win their third consecutive Western Canadian university title. The four wins and 23-0 scoring record during the championship event exemplified the dominance UBC had over university competition.
UBC exhibited this season a ferocious attacking game made possible by "…One hell of a defense," according to one knowledgeable observer. The constant attacking by this team along with the ability of its highly skilled players to adapt to any given situation made for exciting hockey.
It was now on to the CIAU championship round-robin tournament where UBC would be joined by the University of New Brunswick, powerful York coached by Canada's national team coach, Toronto, Dalhousie and host, University of Calgary.
At these Canadian championships, the Thunderbirds were once again impressive, defeating each of their five opponents by a combined 12-2 score. Meeting the competition runner-up University of Toronto in the final, UBC prevailed by a score of 3-1. Dana Sinclair, Helen Olynyk and Joni Franks scored for UBC. After the game coach Wilson had special praise for goalie Alison Palmer, who later would play on Canada's National team, versatile Carrie Lockwood and All-Canadians Sinclair and Jean Mustard.
In addition to being on the 1982/83 All-Canadian Team, Dana Sinclair and Jean Mustard along with teammates Robyn Sinclair, Helen Olynyk and Palmer were also members of Canada's National Team. Nine other players- Wendy Westermark, Joni Franks, Bev Kelly, Sandy Mackay, Anne Crofts, Carrie Lockwood, Diana Popowich, Terri Drain and Sally Sherwood all played on this province's Rep teams. All but one player on this 82/83 team was Provincial or National team calibre!
One of the many excellent Gail Wilson coached teams, this 1982/83 team stood out, finishing the season with a perfect 25-0 record. In Canada West alone they were 12-0, out-scoring their opposition 72-1! They were also champions of the Vancouver City First Division and dominated at the CIAU National Championships, out-scoring the finest teams in the country by a margin of 15-3.
Researched and written by Fred Hume, UBC Athletics Historian