Toronto Varsity Blues women's ice hockey

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Toronto Varsity Blues women's ice hockey
Toronto Varsity Blues women's ice hockey athletic logo

University University of Toronto
Conference OUA
Head coach Vicky Sunohara
2 year, 0–0–0
Arena Varsity Arena
Capacity:
Location Toronto, Ontario
Colors Blue and White

             

The Toronto Varsity Blues women's ice hockey team represents the University of Toronto and competes in the Ontario University Athletics conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

History[edit]

Blue goalie 2014.

On December 12, 1922, the Lady Blues joined the Ladies Ontario Hockey Association and paid dues of eleven dollars (six dollars association fee, five dollars one time fee).[1] The Lady Blues were the LOHA Provincial Champions in 1924.[2] In 1925, the Lady Blues withdrew from the LOHA, and the reason was certain unsatisfactory aspects of competition.[3] There were issues as to the acceptable definition of womanhood.

In 1993, (although the Lady Blues won 13 of the last 15 provincial championships), a task force recommended that the University of Toronto cut the team for financial reasons.[4] Justine Blainey, a member of the team, organized a "Save the Team" night that raised over $8,000. She personally called 100 alumni during a one-week fundraising blitz. Blainey had previously earned national recognition as she endured five different court cases before finally having her case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1986 because the Metro Toronto Hockey League denied her the opportunity to play hockey for them in 1981.[5]

During the 2000-01 regular season, the Lady Blues accumulated an undefeated record with 22 wins and no losses or ties. They outscored all opponents by a 114-14 margin. In the OUA playoffs, the Lady Blues defeated Toronto rival York University by a 4-1 mark and shut out Laurier 5-0 to win the OUA championship.

Heading into the 2001 National Championships, the Lady Blues were seeded Number 1 overall. The Lady Blues first game was a 12-1 whitewash of the host school Calgary Dinos. In the semifinal, the Lady Blues would proceed to eliminate the McGill Martlets by a 4-1 tally. The championship game was a closer affair, with the Lady Blues besting the Regina Cougars in a 4-3 triumph. It was the Lady Blues first national championship in CIS women’s hockey. Of note, the Varsity Blues managed to defeat every other top team in the nation that season. The teams that were defeated included Regina, Concordia, Alberta, McGill and Saskatchewan, as the Lady Blues finished with an overall win loss record of 35-0-0.[6]

Notable games[edit]

Blues player 2014.
  • On February 25, 1997, a little-known rule denies the Blues’ their second consecutive title. The OWIAA gold medal game in Waterloo, Ontario resulted in a controversial finish. Lady Blues player Jayna Hefford scored 23 seconds into overtime in the OWIAA gold medal game against the York Yeowomen at Waterloo Memorial Arena. The Lady Blues believed they had claimed the provincial championship.
OWIAA league rules indicated that the first five-minute overtime session in a playoff game must be played in its entirety (as a regular period). It was advised that the game would continue after Hefford's goal. York University (known as the Yeowomen at the time) tied the game with 1:47 left in the first overtime. Sari Krooks broke in on the right wing and scored on Keely Brown.
A second overtime period began and this overtime period was classified as sudden death. York skater Shanley White took advantage of a Lady Blues clearing error. She scored on the error and York prevailed by a 3-2 mark in double overtime to claim the OWIAA gold medal. The Lady Blues loss ended the Blues' undefeated season, and gave York its first championship in 10 years.
The two played a scoreless opening period, but the Lady Blues scored ten seconds into the second period when Hefford passed to linemate Laura Schuler, and beat goalie Debra Ferguson. York tied the game 26 seconds into the third period which led into overtime. Despite winning the silver medal, the Lady Blues ended its regular season with a 13-0-2 record. In the semifinal, the Lady Blues defeated the Guelph Gryphons by a 4-1 tally. In that game, Laura Schuler had a hat trick, while Hefford added three assists.[7]
  • On February 11, 2000, the Ontario University Athletics women's ice hockey program saw its longest game take place. The University of Toronto's Rhonda Mitchell scored on a 35-foot slap shot. It was the 5:07 mark of the eighth period and the Varsity Blues defeated the York Lions women's ice hockey program. Although the victory allowed the U of T to advance to the OUA gold medal game, it was the longest in the history of Canadian women's hockey.[8] The game lasted over five hours and ten minutes. York's player of the game was goaltender Debra Ferguson,[9] as she valiantly made 63 saves over 125 minutes.

Lady Blues in Olympic hockey[edit]

Player Position School Event Result
Lesley Reddon[10] Goaltender University of Toronto 1998 Winter Olympics Silver
Lori Dupuis Forward University of Toronto 1998 Winter Olympics Silver
Lori Dupuis Forward University of Toronto 2002 Winter Olympics Gold
Jayna Hefford Forward University of Toronto 1998 Winter Olympics Silver
Jayna Hefford Forward University of Toronto 2002 Winter Olympics Gold
Jayna Hefford Forward University of Toronto 2006 Winter Olympics Silver
Jayna Hefford Forward University of Toronto 2010 Winter Olympics Gold
Laura Schuler Forward University of Toronto 1998 Winter Olympics Silver
Vicky Sunohara Forward University of Toronto 1998 Winter Olympics Silver
Vicky Sunohara Forward University of Toronto 2002 Winter Olympics Gold
Vicky Sunohara Forward University of Toronto 2006 Winter Olympics Gold

Marion Hilliard[edit]

The Marion Hilliard Award is named in honour of former Toronto Lady Blues player Marion Hilliard. She played with the Lady Blues from 1922-27 and was a leading member of 6 championship teams. She was President of the University Hockey Club and was a member of the University of Toronto women’s Athletic Directorate for four years. The award is presented to reward excellence among a female ice hockey player from the CIS. The recipient exhibits outstanding achievement in three areas: hockey, academics and community involvement.

Marion Hillard award[edit]

Year Winner Team
2011 Andie Switalski[11] Mount Allison Mounties
2010 Kaitlyn McNutt[12] Dalhousie Tigers
2009 Danika Smith Ottawa Gee-Gees
2008 Shauna Denis[13] McGill Martlets
2007 Taryn Barry[14] Alberta Pandas
2006 Leah Kutcher Dalhousie Tigers
2005 Sue McCutcheon Toronto Lady Blues
2004 Janna Gillis Concordia Stingers
2003 Jenny McRae Toronto Lady Blues
2002 Lauren Houghton Concordia Stingers
2001 Virginie Bilodeau UQTR Patriotes
2000 Karina Verdon Ottawa Gee-Gees
1999 Bridget Bates Toronto Lady Blues
1998 Karen Kendall Concordia Stingers

Blues selected in the CWHL Draft[edit]

The following were selected in the 2010 CWHL Draft.[15]

Player Position Team Selection
Mary Modeste Forward Toronto #39
Heather Logan-Sprerger Forward Brampton Thunder #71

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Alison Houston, 2001 CIS Goaltending Champion (0.40 GAA)
  • Karen Hughes, 2001 OUA Coach of the Year
  • Karen Hughes, CIS coach of the Year, 2001[16]
  • Sue McCutcheon, 2005 Marion Hilliard Award
  • Jenny McRae, 2003 Marion Hilliard Award
  • Jen Rawson, 2001 CIS Tournament MVP honors
  • Jen Rawson, 2001 OUA all-star
  • Jen Rawson, 2001 OUA Athlete of the Year
  • Bridget Bates, 1999 Marion Hilliard Award

All-Canadian honours[edit]

  • Ali MacMillan, 1998 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Sue Anne Van Damme, 1998 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Urszula May, 1999 CIS First Team All-Canadian
  • Jen Rawson, 2000 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Heather Vance, 2000 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Alison Houston, 2001 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Susie Laska, 2001 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Jen Rawson, 2001 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Alison Houston, 2003 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Kim Malcher, 2003 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Safiya Muharuma, 2004 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Kim Devereaux, 2006 CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • Stephanie Lockert, 2007 CIS Second Team All-Canadian[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]