hockey builder doug mitchell
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Editor: Ben Schach
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Contributors: Don Wells
principal Photography: Richard Lam
fall schedule highlights
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Message from the Athletic Director
It is always special when former varsity student-athlete find the opportunity to give back. In the case of Doug Mitchell it is a $10M commitment made on behalf of his family, friends and colleagues and marks the largest gift ever made to UBC Athletics and one of the largest ever to a University Athletics Department in Canada. What is even more special is the effort put forward by Doug’s wife Lois, who while seeing an opportunity to honour Doug’s passion for amateur and professional sport, also saw the opportunity to help UBC a place where their friendship and subsequent marriage started almost 50 years ago. In recognition of the commitment, the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre is now home to the UBC Thunderbirds men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, Thunderbird minor hockey and in February and March will host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. I am sure it was and will probably be the only $10M announcement at UBC where those in attendance were offered hot dogs and popcorn for lunch! What this really speaks to is the tie that UBC Athletics has with its players, coaches and alumni. Young people who choose to attend UBC are obviously in search of an education. What some of them soon realize is that in addition to learning in the classroom the opportunities that lie in front of student-athletes often result in more teaching and learning on the field, court, ice and in the pool. Doug Mitchell spoke about that learning and the positive effect his coaches and teammates had on his life while at UBC and throughout his extremely successful professional life of the past 40 years. In the end, that is one of the roles of varsity sport: take raw talent, educate it, mould it, build it and then let it succeed; whether in Thunderbird uniform, in the business world, the education profession or in a few cases professional sports.
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This marks varsity season 102 for UBC and one where we add another team, women’s softball, to the Thunderbird lineup. While the official season will not begin until February, the team will spend the fall in exhibition games before embarking on its inaugural campaign in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, joining baseball, golf, cross-country and track as teams that battle for national championships south of the border. The year also marks the first full season that Thunderbird Park will be fully operational. With the completion of the Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval, named through a generous donation by Peter Dhillon and family in honour of his late father, the UBC Track team, one of our oldest sports, again has a home on campus. Along with the baseball field and two artificial fields, UBC is now home to more state-ofthe art sports facilities. As you might imagine, the campus and the department is gearing up for the Olympic and Paralympic Games early in 2010. While it displaces a couple of our teams for the second part of the season, the opportunity to host the world in one of our venues will come and go only once. I hope you have an opportunity to visit the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre prior to the Games, Thunderbird ice hockey teams open their season in October (for schedules visit gothunderbirds.ca), and get a live glimpse of how people across the world will be introduced to UBC.
Regards, Bob Philip Director of Athletics
UBC alum Doug Mitchell (left) and UBC President Stephen Toope admire the new logo of the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
UBC Thunderbird Sports Centre named in honour of hockey builder Doug Mitchell The University of British Columbia nounced on August 21, 2009 the naming of the Thunderbird Sports Centre in honour of hockey builder Doug Mitchell. Mitchell’s family, friends and colleagues pledged $10 million to UBC for the winter sports complex in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to Canadian amateur sport. The centre, now known as the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, is a host hockey and sledge hockey venue for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Mitchell, a UBC Law alumnus (’62), has spent his legal career with Borden Ladner Gervais, one of Canada’s largest national law firms, where he currently serves as National CoChair. Although Mitchell has served in countless leadership roles in both amateur and professional sport, he is most passionate about university sport. “I am honoured to have my name on this great UBC facility that will serve so many,” says Mitchell. “University athletics are vital in building the leadership that is so essential to our economy and society. Playing sports taught me that none of us can thrive alone – we need a team. It also
taught me that it’s not about the falling down, it’s the getting up that counts!” This financial pledge, among the largest-ever to a Canadian varsity athletics facility, will support UBC’s share of the costs in building the new winter sports complex and help to provide one of the best university winter sports facilities in the country for UBC students, athletes and the greater community. The complex, opened in September 2008, contains a refurbished Father Bauer Arena, a new practice ice rink and a new 7,500-seat arena that will host the women’s and men’s ice hockey and men’s sledge hockey during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Mitchell and his wife Lois, who live in Calgary, are active supporters of UBC. In 2006, Lois Mitchell established the Hayley Wickenheiser Thunderbird Ice Hockey Endowment to support the UBC Women’s Ice Hockey team. In 2007, Doug Mitchell established the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Scholarship Endowment to support athletes at UBC. The current gift is comparable to those made to varsity athletic facilities at McMaster University and the University of Toronto. 3 fall 2009 BLUE + GOLD
Birds of a Feather Still … What is it about certain teams that creates a life-long bond of friendship among members? Why do some remain such socially cohesive units for years, and even decades after their university playing careers are over? Almost every sport at UBC has spun off cohorts of graduates who like to remain in touch on a regular basis by playing in senior or recreational leagues, or by staging annual reunions of one kind or another. Rugby, for example, has its cadre of “Old Boys,” and for the past 23 years a hundred or so former hockey players coached by Father David Bauer form the nucleus of participants in the annual memorial golf tournament that bears his name. But in some cases, the ties among former teammates remain in effect on an even more frequent basis. The Tuesday Knights basketball team is a case in point. Consisting of UBC players from throughout the 1960’s they have been getting together for weekly three-on-three scrimmages for the past 40 years. “Fundamentally, it’s the love of the game that has kept us together and the desire to hold on to our former glories,” says David Nelson, who played Thunderbird basketball in the early 1960’s under then head coach Jack Pomfret. “There is a psychological problem with our group,” he laughs. “We still think we’re as good as we were when we were 21!” Nelson, along with the likes of Doug Brazier, Ed Richmond, Denis Moorehead, John MacLean, Colin Dobson, Bill Humphries and others began getting together one night a week back in 1969 in the gym of Shaughnessy United Church, and later moved to Eric Hamber High School. They have also undertaken some extensive road trips, mostly to play golf, and have traveled as far as Scotland to do so. Similarly, it is the love of the sport and times spent traveling together that have helped to keep several members of UBC’s last team of figure skaters together. They never miss attending the 4 BLUE + GOLD fall 2009
The T-Bird women’s volleyball team celebrates one of their two CIAU triumphs in the late 1970s.
World Championships whenever they are in North America, and always try to take in the Skate Canada Nationals, resulting in annual trips to various parts of the continent. Although she admits the team felt devastated when the UBC program was axed for financial reasons back in 1971, former team member Janice Trenholme maintains that she has nothing but great memories. “We just had so much fun and we had such a great coach,” says Trenholme, who, in spite of a 25-year stint working for the federal government in Ottawa, has stayed in touch with team members like Christine Thorson, Pat McGhee, Sue McNair and manager Debbie Gordon. “I remember (coach) Bonnie Gordon and her husband Terry had an ice cream shop – the Big Scoop – on Denman Street and some of us worked
there. We also made great money teaching figure skating, and also power skating to the hockey players. We were all great friends with them too.” The closeness between former teammates has endured through both good times and bad, she notes. “Some have been to hell and back, but we all know there is always going to be support there for each other.” A special friendship has also endured among soccer players from the early 1950’s, who began to re-connect as a group on a regular basis about three years ago. Bill Popowich recalls that it wasn’t just talent that led to the success of those teams, but also a camaraderie aided by the relatively small size of the campus that helped the 1951-52 team win the Vancouver Senior Amateur Soccer Association’s Imperial Cup that year after an undefeated season.
The 1959 football team celebrated their 50th anniversary at this year’s Homecoming game in September.
Flock Together By Don Wells
“It was the second major soccer league in Canada at the time and there were some pretty competent players on that team,” recalls Popowich, who along with a handful of other UBC players from that era went on to play semi-professionally in the former Coast League. The opportunity to become reacquainted after a fifty-year separation is the result of team members drifting back home to Vancouver to retire after careers took them to various parts of North America and Europe. “We get together for lunch two or three times a year and tell atrocious lies,” says Popowich of a core group that includes Jim Foster, Ivan Carr, Ken Campbell, Bud Dobson, Alfie Scow, Mike Puhach, Bobby Moulds and Bud Fredrickson. Members of the women’s volleyball team from the late 1970’s, on the other hand, didn’t have to wait nearly so long to resume the close friendships that became a by-product of a team that was inordinately talented, and within which a deep mutual respect emerged among all players. Only a few years after graduation, the team that included Christine Trainor, Jayne
Cryer, Karen Johnson, Dorothy Schwaiger, Kerry Hutchinson, Diane Tyssedal, Janet Livingston, Susie Oliver, Sari Fleming, Joanne Fenton, Kim Brand, Melanie Fox, Maryanne Branson, Shelley Hopkins, coach Dianne Murray, assistant coach George Neufeld and manager Amanjit Dhillon began to organize annual golf trips, wine tastings, Christmas dinners and weekends at Whistler. “People used to say that our second team could have won nationals, but actually there was no second team,” recalls Christine Bradstock (nee Trainor). “Everybody was fighting for a spot all the time. That fuelled our passion to be better athletes and it extended to the whole team concept.” The combination of individual athleticism, internal competition and mutual respect resulted in one of the best volleyball teams in UBC history, and one that claimed back-to-back CIAU national championships in 1977 and ’78. “It extended beyond the court to the party mode. In fact, there was a party house that some of us lived in. We called it Bad Manor,” she laughs. Although not all teams are able to
stage regular reunions, there is nothing like anniversary years to bring former teammates together, and the upcoming year is a big one for the 1969-70 men’s and women’s basketball teams, as they will be feted at centre court during a home game to mark the 40th anniversary of their CIAU national championship wins in 1970. The 1959 football team, coached by the much admired Frank Gnup, staged their 50-year reunion at the 2009 Homecoming football game on September 26.. These and all of the other reunions, golf tournaments, fun leagues, road trips and casual lunches reveal what appears to be an inescapable truth. The opportunity to play and study at what has become one of the world’s premiere universities is an honour bestowed to only a few. And the memories of the experience, and of the friends made along the way, are not stored loosely in the mind, but securely in the heart. Don Wells is the author of Flight of the Thunderbirds: A century of varsity sport at the University of British Columbia. 5 fall 2009 BLUE + GOLD
UBC Music Prof
Composes New Pep Song
By Don Wells
While much has changed over the earliest days of the UBC Athletic program, one thing that had not was the UBC pep song Hail UBC, penned in 1931 by Arts student, trumpet player and band leader Harold King. In order to find a more suitable anthem for the modern era, UBC associate athletic director Steve Tuckwood and former athletic director Bob Hindmarch approached Dr. Stephen Chatman, a well known professor and composer in the UBC School of Music. The result of that conversation is a brand new pep song that will soon become the norm at all UBC Thunderbird games with its earliest incarnations already being heard at this year’s football home events. The American-born Chatman, who became interested in the sub-genre of university pep songs while going to games at the University of Wisconsin as a child and later at the University of Michigan as a grad student, is excited about the possibilities this new song presents. “We have been lucky enough to record it professionally with a huge UBC ensemble and there may also be a sheet music publication at some point.” Although the song retains the same title of the original 1931 version, the similarities end there. Everything else about it is brand new. Chatman hopes to have several versions recorded, varying in tempo and length, in order to ensure a wide range of applications, from a snappy 30-second pep-band version that could be used to celebrate a T-Bird
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touchdown, to a longer and slower one with voices suitable for ceremonial purposes. “We have heard from a lot of people over the years – students, alumni, fans – that UBC needs something a little closer to the fight-song that has been traditional among the big US schools,” says Tuckwood. “What we didn’t know is that we had a well-known composer right under our noses who has a deep understanding of that tradition, and who was eager to help. And now to think that we may be able to get a few variations recorded by our own Music students, that’s just a fantastic piece of news.” With busy schedules accommodated and complex logistics arranged, the historically significant recordings took place in late September at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, with the entire project – from rehearsal to production, to sound mixing and engineering – being undertaken by UBC Music students and UBC ensemble directors Robert Taylor, Graeme Langager and Nancy Hermiston. “I hope it will be utilized by not only all the UBC teams, at games and elsewhere, but also by the entire university,” says Chatman, a 2006 Juno Award nominee and an internationally recognized composer of choral, orchestral, and piano music. “This is my donation to UBC — a song composed in the hope of not only encouraging support of our fine athletes, but also inspiring spirit and pride throughout the UBC campus.”
locker room Top right: Fifth-year captain Scott Dickens etched his name into the Canadian record books four times at the CIS Championships. Bottom right: Kyla Richey earned CIS Championship MVP honours as the T-Birds won their second-straight women’s volleyball title.
Pierse sets world records en route to silver at World Championships UBC swimming sensation Annamay Pierse has been burning up the pool over the last six months, winning almost every accolade possible at the CIS level while setting four world records. In early August, Pierse capped off her dream season with a world record in the women’s long course 200-metre breaststroke during the semi-finals at the 2009 World Championships. She just missed out on the gold in the final, finishing second by mere tenths of a second. All told, Pierse now owns the world record in both the long course and short course version of the women’s 200-metre breaststroke and was on the Canadian relay that set a world record in the short course 4x100-metre medley relay. Pierse’s international success came on the heels of an outstanding CIS season. She won her second consecutive CIS Female Swimmer of the Year award in February en route to being named the female recipient of the BLG Award as the most outstanding athlete in the CIS. At the 2009 CIS Swimming Championships in February, Pierse set two Canadian and three CIS Championships records in front of a home crowd at UBC’s Aquatic Centre as she won three gold and two silver medals to cap off her CIS career in style.
Back-to-Back CIS Championships for women’s volleyball For the second straight season the UBC Thunderbirds won a five-set thriller in the CIS Championship Final, this year besting the Calgary Dinos 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 29-27, 20-25, 15-9) to claim their second consecutive national title. The T-Birds used a remarkable third set comeback and a near flawless final frame to become the first team since Manitoba (2001 and 2002) to earn back-to-back CIS banners. Trailing by as many five points in the third set, UBC clawed all the way back into the set and then fended off four Calgary set points before finally taking the set 2927. Sophomore Kyla Richey led the T-Birds with 18 kills and added five block assists and two aces in the gold medal game and was named the CIS Championship MVP. The T-Birds also got MVPlike performances from fifth-year middle Marisa Field and rookie outside Shanice Marcelle. Field was a dominant force at the net for the T-Birds, notching 10 kills, and tallying two solo blocks and 10 block assists while Marcelle came off the bench to deliver a 10 kill, 13 dig performance. All three of those players were named to the CIS
Championship all-star team. The T-Birds closed their season on a 15 game winning streak that included a five-set victory over Trinity Western in the Canada West Championship final. Setter Katie Tyzuk received the CIS Thérèse Quigley award recognizing excellence in volleyball, academics and community involvement and Claire Hanna earned Canada West Libero of the Year honours. Field was the team’s lone All-Canadian earning a spot on the CIS second-team while Marcelle was selected to the CIS All-Rookie squad.
Men’s swimming reclaim top spot in the CIS The UBC Thunderbirds men’s swimming team reclaimed top spot in the country at the fastest CIS swimming championships in history, 25 CIS Championship and 15 Canadian records were set, in late February at the UBC Aquatic Centre. The T-Birds hosted the meet for the second straight year and won their 11th banner in the past 12 years after seeing the Calgary Dinos end their decade of dominance last season. The men’s competition came down to the final race with UBC (689) reclaiming the banner it lost to the Dinos (661) last season, following a record 10-year reign from 1998 to 2007. The 28-point margin marks one of the closest finishes in CIS swimming history. A pair of fifth-years had memorable performances for the T-Birds. Scott Dickens, a 2004 Olympian, set a pair of Canadian records over the weekend in the men’s 50 and 100 metre breaststrokes (27.53 and 59.34) and was part of all three UBC relays that won gold on the men’s side, two of them in Canadian record time. Fellow graduating senior Callum Ng capped of a brilliant UBC career, winning gold in the men’s 50 and 100 metre backstrokes, 100 metre butterfly, silver in the 200 metre butterfly, and a pair of gold medals on the 4x100 freestyle and 4x100 medley relays. Dickens and fellow T-Birds Jordan Hartney and Matt Hawes all competed at the World Aquatics Championships in Rome.
Men’s basketball earn CIS silver It was quite a season for the UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team and it ended with the T-Birds competing in their first CIS National Championship game in 22 years. For all of their success in conference play, the T-Birds have won two conference banners and have a second-place finish over the last three years, this was the first continued on page 9
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Highlights Don’t just read about your Thunderbirds, come out and support them at any number of their home games this fall. Below are some key dates as T-Bird teams gear up for their championship runs this fall.
Football October 3 October 23
vs. Calgary vs. Manitoba
2:00 p.m. Thunderbird Stadium 7:00 p.m. Thunderbird Stadium
men’s Soccer Granddaughter of UBC great Herb Capozzi to lace up skates for T-Birds hockey team this fall.
Like Grandfather, Like Granddaughter
When Christi Capozzi hits the ice this fall with the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team, the standout defenceman from the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna knows she will be recognized for more than her talented play on the ice. Capozzi’s grandfather, Herb, was a football and basketball star for UBC in the 1940s and was a member of the UBC’s Sports Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1993. “In all honesty, it wasn’t a huge factor in my decision to come to UBC but it is certainly some icing on the cake,” said Capozzi, who turned down the opportunity to play for women’s hockey power McGill in favour of staying in her home province. “My grandfather was going to be happy for me no matter where I ended up but I think he will be particularly happy I chose UBC.” Capozzi credits UBC’s new facility, which will play host to a number of women’s hockey games during the 2010 Winter Games, in addition to a hockey program on the rise and a strong academic opportunity as the driving reasons behind her choice to dawn the Blue and Gold. “There was certainly the opportunity to go to an American school but I didn’t want to end up with just some degree that fit around my hockey,” said the younger Capozzi. “The team here at UBC is young but is certainly going in the right direction and I’m excited to be a part of it for years to come.” A member of Team BC, Capozzi hopes to make an impact with her new teammates and perhaps one day, if she helps the UBC women’s hockey program reach new heights, she will find herself enshrined in UBC lore alongside her larger than life grandfather.
October 3 October 24
7:00 p.m. Thunderbird Park 7:15 p.m. Thunderbird Park
women’s Soccer October 10 October 23
vs. Victoria vs. Saskatchewan
5:00 p.m. Thunderbird Park 5:00 p.m. Thunderbird Park
women’s Field Hockey October 17-18 vs. Alberta 1:00 p.m. November 5-8 CIS Championship hosted by Victoria
women’s Rugby October 4 vs. Lethbridge 1:00 p.m. Wolfson Fields November 5-8 CIS Championships hosted by UBC
women’s Hockey October 9 vs. Calgary November 27 vs. Regina
7:30 p.m. Thunderbird Arena 7:30 p.m. Thunderbird Arena
men’s Hockey October 16 November 6
vs. Manitoba vs. Alberta
7:30 p.m. Thunderbird Arena 7:30 p.m. Thunderbird Arena
men’s Volleyball October 23 vs. Winnipeg November 20 vs. Thompson Rivers
8:00 p.m. War Gym 8:00 p.m. War Gym
women’s Volleyball October 23 vs. Winnipeg November 27 vs. Simon Fraser
6:00 p.m. War Gym 7 pm War Gym
men’s Basketball October 30 November 14
vs. Trinity Western vs. Alberta
8:00 p.m. War Gym 8:00 p.m. War Gym
women’s Basketball October 30 November 13
BLUE + GOLD fall 2009
vs. Trinity Western vs. Alberta
vs. Trinity Western vs. Saskatchewan
6:00 p.m. War Gym 6:00 p.m. War Gym
big block club
News + notes from the big block club
Left: The Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval has been open since the summer and is the new home of the T-Birds T & F teams. Right: Don Vassos, Bob Hindmarch, Bill Crawford and Ray Towers celebrating at the 1959 football reunion in September.
Running track returns to campus
The Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval opened this past summer, marking the first time in many years that the UBC track team has had a home on campus. The project was partly funded by Peter Dhillon and family in honour of his late father.
Wondering where your T-Bird season pass is? While the department has discontinued the practice of issuing season passes, give us a call and we should be able to find tickets for a former Thunderbird and loyal support of the Big Block Fund. We look forward to hearing from you!
2010 TELUS Millennium Scholarship Breakfast and other events
The 1959 Football Thunderbirds, along with some family and friends, assembled for a 50th anniversary of their Western Canadian Football Championship during the Homecoming celebration of September 26. Attendees included co-captains Jack Henwood and Doug Mitchell, along with former NY Giant Bill Crawford. The group took time to remember coach Frank Gnup who had a profound impact on their football careers and life after UBC.
Circle April 1, 2010 (no fooling) on your calendar for the 2010 TELUS Millennium Scholarship Breakfast. The event will again be held at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre (the older one, not the new one) and should again be a sold-out event. UBC Golf Alum Marty Zlotnik is organizing a golf event for Palm Desert with a tentative date of March 8. One change for this year is that those who play can direct their donation to the T-Bird team of their choice. If you would like more information on the event, contact Marty at (604) 688-7208.
Thunderbird Alumni, we want to hear from you! Share your accomplishments or honors with us by emailing email@example.com
locker room time under head coach Kevin Hanson that UBC had advanced out of the first round of the CIS Championship in six attempts. They did so in convincing fashion dispatching the Dalhousie Tigers 78-54 in their CIS quarterfinal, a game in which they never trailed and qualified for their first CIS semi-final since 1996. In arguably one of the best games of the year, UBC and Calgary went punch for punch for a spot in the CIS final with UBC’s fifth-year senior Chris Dyck putting together a career performance. Dyck led UBC to a 7974 victory with 34 points on 10-of-20 shooting and did so all the while on a pair of borrowed shoes, as his own pair were damaged in warm-up. Dyck continued to carry a hot hand into the
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CIS final, helping UBC to a 24-18 lead over Carleton after one quarter, but the equally veteran Ravens were too much down the stretch as they took their sixth title in the last seven years with an 87-77 victory. A stellar season was not without awards as Hanson was named the Canada West Coach of the Year and Dyck a member of the CIS Championship all-star team.
T-Birds sweep Canadian golf titles The UBC Thunderbirds had another banner year on the golf course, with both the men and women’s teams claiming the top prize at the RCGA University College Championship at King’s Forest Golf Club in Hamilton,
ON. The men won their second consecutive RCGA title behind the play of senior captain Cory Renfrew (-3) who won the final individual tournament of his UBC career as the T-Birds out distanced second place Laval by 25 strokes over the 54-hole rain shortened tournament. The result on the women’s side was much the same as the T-Birds were 25 strokes ahead of second place Victoria, however, with senior captain Kyla Inaba (+13) finishing second in the final start of her college career. The male Thunderbirds fared nearly as well in the NAIA Championships held earlier in the month as they finished second overall while the women had a solid fifth-place showing.
Chris Dyck dialing in during UBC’s 79-74 win over Calgary in the CIS semi-finals. 9
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