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Women’s field hockey team brings men’s hockey to the turf

By Christie Melhorn, September 12, 2017 —

On Sept. 5, the seeds of a new Dinos tradition were planted on Hawkings Field as the Dinos women’s field hockey and men’s ice hockey teams practiced together for the first time.

Third-year defenders Michelle Patterson and Marion Arnott proposed blending the practice after learning about the positive experiences of student-athletes at other Canadian universities.

“Another player on our team, Danica Heath, knows people at the University of Waterloo who have done the same thing and it worked really well for them,” Patterson said. “It creates a sense of community. It’s really important for the new girls coming in who are in their first year. They can have more friends to meet.”

Many of the sports played by the Dinos have men’s and women’s teams. However, Arnott said that collaborative practices nurture support for sports like field hockey that only have one team.

“We generally just talk with the other women’s teams,” Arnott said. “Our field hockey team doesn’t have a counterpart sport — we don’t have a men’s team. It’s nice to have another team connect with us.”

Arnott also expressed the importance of engagement between teams with different seasons.

“Teams that don’t play until the winter can come and support us now in the fall and we can go and support them later,” she said.

Dinos men’s hockey captain Dan Gibb said that his team was on board in swapping their skates for runners to play on the turf.

“Credit to the girls — they approached us and set everything up. It was great,” Gibb said. “We just showed up and tried not to make too big of fools of ourselves!”

While Gibb said there are similarities between field hockey and ice hockey, the the sport surprised him.

“I was surprised by the game and rules in general,” Gibb said. “I was amazed at how fast the field hockey team’s players can run with the ball. It’s insane.”

Due to the event’s success, field hockey head coach Peter Taylor wants it to become a tradition.

“When the girls asked me if they could do it, I thought it would be a great way for the teams to get to know each other and bond athletes across sports,” he said.

The women’s field hockey team’s season starts on Sept. 23 against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds at 11 a.m. on Hawkings Field. The men’s hockey team’s season begins on Oct. 6 against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns in Father David Bauer Arena at 7 p.m.

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