Hockey momentum growing in Atlantic Provinces
Field Hockey Canada is thrilled to recognize the recent formation of Field Hockey New Brunswick, the sport’s newest provincial sport organization.
The field hockey community in New Brunswick has had its ups and downs over the past few decades but there have always been playing opportunities. From success at the Canada Games in the 1970s-2000s, university sport achievements, and attending Field Hockey Nationals, there is rich history in the province to look back on. The recent development is happening at the governance level and will undoubtedly lead to more representation, events, and teams in the coming future.
Julia MacPherson is the co-president of recently founded Field Hockey New Brunswick. She grew up in Quispamsis, NB, and currently plays field hockey at the University of New Brunswick. She said at her high school, there was regularly multiple field hockey teams for girls and that at least 10 secondary schools in the province are actively playing.
The University of New Brunswick in Fredericton is a hockey hub in New Brunswick.
She recollects that in the 1990s, the Atlantic provinces played varsity field hockey in the U SPORTS’ (formally CIS) Atlantic University Sports division. Now the Atlantic university teams, of which there are eight, play in their own field hockey league, tournament style. New Brunswick typically has two teams representing in that league — UNB and Mount Allison University.
She also said that prior to the COVID pandemic and dating back further, there were attempts to get a formal PSO in place. But MacPherson said they weren’t able to get the governance structure up and running and any provincial teams we’re informal and ad hoc. Starting in December 2022, MacPherson, her co-president, Alyssa Evans and a handful of other volunteers began the process to make it happen.
“We started working on incorporation, getting a board together and the governance structure. That’s what has been missing, especially when it comes to a longevity standpoint,” MacPherson said.
As of the new year, Field Hockey New Brunswick is an official non-profit organization and is recognized by Field Hockey Canada as the sport governing body in New Brunswick. According to MacPherson, the next steps include continual work on the governance side, and getting more programming off the ground across the province.
“We’re planning programs for the summer; we’re working on our policies and maintaining the structure. It’s going well. We have gotten a lot done in a short period of time,” she said. “We have a U18 girls team that we’re sending to nationals. But we also wanted to keep as many people as possible in the sport, so we have a U18 development side.”
Field Hockey Canada CEO, Susan Ahrens, is thrilled to officially welcome Field Hockey New Brunswick into the national sport community.
“Growing the membership is essential and in New Brunswick’s resurgence, Field Hockey Canada is delighted to welcome Field Hockey New Brunswick formally back as a member of the Field Hockey Canada family. We look forward to seeing their teams play at this year’s National Championship. Our congratulations to Julia and her team of passionate volunteers who have worked with us over the past year to make this possible,” Ahrens said.
Field Hockey Canada Women’s National Team goalkeeper, Marcia LaPlante hails from Wassis, New Brunswick. Ahrens looks forward to a near future where New Brunswick is consistently turning out great programs and great players.
“New Brunswick has a long tradition of field hockey with a vibrant university and school system. Even before, while not formally a member of Field Hockey Canada and Sport New Brunswick, the system has continued to thrive and produce international players,” Ahrens said. “Now that FHNB is back, the ability to govern and grow together is a strong and positive sign for our sport.”
Prince Edward Island has attended that past several Field Hockey Canada Nationals. Field Hockey Nova Scotia has university teams, and other domestic hockey offerings. According to MacPherson, the Atlantic hockey community is strong, connected and growing.
“There’s a lot of growth happening and we have a really positive community here,” MacPherson said. “A lot of sports, there’s a community side or a competitive side. Field hockey has that mix of both. Now that we have three PSOs, we can have more tournament opportunities.”
MacPherson said there are too many names to thank everyone who contributed to this moment, but when looking back in Atlantic hockey, several names stand out: Barb Carmichael, Joyce Slipp, Donna Hornibrooke-Phillips, Kathering MacDougall, John Doiron, Shona Bowes, Michael Morton, Glenda O’Neill-Wood, and Sharon Rajaraman, among many others.
Field Hockey Canada is excited to recognize and congratulate Field Hockey New Brunswick on their incorporation and official designation as the governing body of field hockey in New Brunswick!
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