1992-93 Vikes to be inducted into UVic Sports Hall of Fame
The University of Victoria is pleased to welcome two historic powerhouse teams to it’s 2023 Hall of Fame class. Finding their place in the coveted Vikes Walk of Excellence is the 1992-93 women’s field hockey team and the 1982-83 men’s basketball team. The team will be honoured at a special induction ceremony on May 11, 2023.
1992-93 Women’s field hockey
After a year off playing for the Canadian women’s national team, Milena Gaiga, Rochelle Low and Sue Reid return back to the 1992 University of Victoria field hockey team. Also returning to the Vikettes line-up was key midfield player and Victoria native, Cara Jay.
This season, field hockey Canada adopted the new unlimited substitutions rule for the first time. The new rule provided the opportunity for athletes to have more playing time and improve their game. If anything, unlimited substitution worked in favour for the Vikes as they dominated their Canada West opponents. Midway through the regular season the Vikettes remained undefeated as they played the University of Calgary in the snow. After sweeping the weekend tournament, the Vikettes were ranked No. 1 in the country.
For the first time in two years UVic hosted the Canada West championship tournament. The tournament provided them with the opportunity to showcase their talent at home and more historically, christen their new artificial turf.
In game one UVic defeated Alberta 2-0 in a hard fought, challenging game. Later that afternoon, the Vikettes played Manitoba. The three team combo of Juliet Anderton, Giaga and Low got the best of the Manitoba team as the three secured a sequence of plays converting into two goals. Colleen MacLeod finished the game with a third goal to give UVic a 3-0 victory over Manitoba. The third game had UVic pitted against Calgary. In the first half UVic’s Brenda Lannard secured the first goal. Later in the second half, Robin Vinge provided reassurance as the Vikettes defeated Calgary 2-0. In the final game of the championships, UVic played mainland rivals, University of British Columbia. For the first time that season, UVic tied UBC 2-2 with two back-to-back from Low.
Gaiga, Low and Reid were named Canada West All-Stars, while Low was dubbed Canada West Universities Athlete Association player of the year.
UVic travelled to the mainland for the 1992 Canadian Interuniversity Athlete Union (CIAU) national championships, hosted by the University of British Columbia (UBC). In round-robin play the Vikettes played the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and York University. In game one UVic tied UNB 0-0. In game two the Vikettes beat York 1-0, just enough to make the semifinals. Facing, University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the semifinals UVic powered through to defeat them 4-0. Goals were scored from Anderton, Gaiga and two from Reid.
In the gold medal game the Vikettes met UNB. To the Vikettes surprise, every time they had possession of the ball, UNB would yell, “retreat!” and run back past the 50 (half field line). Vikette Jay recalls the 1992 finals to be one of the strangest games she every played. Nonetheless, it opened the field for the determined Vikettes to enter their zone in full force and defeat UNB 2-0 to take home UVic’s fifth field hockey championship banner. Goals were scored by Lannard and Anderton.
Low and Reid were named CIAU First Team All-Canadians, while Gaiga was the lone Vike to be named to the Second All-Canadian team. Low was named player of the gold medal game. However, leader Low thought Jay deserved the honour and gave the award to her afterwards. Low, Reid and Gaiga were also named to the tournament XI roster.
Following the 1992 season, Low was honoured as a 1993 Canada West Athletic Association (CWAA) female recipient of the Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) Award. The BLG award represents a student athlete who has participated in university varsity athletics for a minimum of two years, studying in the field of their first undergraduate degree or graduate program, is an Athlete of the Year or runner up and has not previously won the BLG award. The award was created to support Canadian university athletes after the financial cutback during the early 1990s. Low was the first University of Victoria student-athlete to accept the award.
The 1994 championship win earned Jay the most decorated CIAU women’s field hockey athlete. In her five years as a Vikette, (1989, 90, 91, 92, 94) Jay won four championships and one silver place finish.
The 1992 University Martlet Newspaper recognized the reign of the women’s field hockey team by expressing their personal thoughts on the team’s success. “It was a total team effort, as it has been all year long. This is indeed a team that embodies everything that a university squad should be, and a team that at least deserves to have its banners [hung] in the [McKinnon] gym.” Teamwork was exactly what head coach Lynne Beecroft emphasized all season. Beecroft “attributes the team’s success to their high level of dedication and training on and off the field.”
That summer, Gaiga, Low, Reid and alumni Debbie Whitten and Lauralee Kopeck represented Canada at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Summer Games. Canada finished seventh.
Canada West Record: 11-0-1 (1st)
Canada West All-Stars: Milena Gaiga, Sue Reid, Rochelle Low
Canada West Player of the Year: Rochelle Low
CIAU Record: 2-0-1(Gold)
CIAU First Team All-Canadian: Rochelle Low, Sue Reid
CIAU Second Team All-Canadian: Milena Gaiga
CIAU Player of the Year (Liz Hoffman Award): Rochelle Low