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UPDATE: Panthers to host national women's hockey tournament in 2019, 2020


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Emma Weatherbie already knows where her university hockey career will end.

“It’s pretty surreal to know I’m going to play my last U Sports game at nationals, so that’s pretty cool,” the 21-year-old Frenchfort native said Thursday before the UPEI Panthers practice.

Earlier in the day, U Sports announced that UPEI will host the 2019 and 2020 national women’s hockey tournament at MacLauchlan Arena.

“It’s a big opportunity for us and our program,” said Weatherbie, a fourth-year forward who has one year of eligibility remaining. “We’re really excited to see what we can do.”

While the team is guaranteed a spot in the eight-team tournament, it doesn’ want to go in the back door as the host team – it wants to earn that spot.

“We want to show people we’re . . . good enough,” said Maria Clinton, a 19-year-old forward from Souris. “We want to prove ourselves. We want to win the AUS (Atlantic University Sport) to earn the right to go to nationals.

“You want to go in as an AUS champion,” added coach Bruce Donaldson, who took the team to Edmonton in 2012 for its only trip to nationals. “I remember it. I remember it well, and it was a hell of a feeling.”

The Panthers have four graduating players and already had four forwards, a defenceman and a goalie committed for the upcoming season.

“It puts us on the map in terms of a possible school for potential players to reach out to,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson told his players in the morning, and they appeared to have an added jump in their step heading into the afternoon’s practice.

“When Bruce told us this morning everyone was pretty happy. It’s big news,” Clinton said. “Everybody grows up wanting to play university hockey. . . It’s exciting because you know you’re going to be playing against the best players in Canada.”

The local organizing committee will be led by co-chairwomen Kathleen Casey, Della Sweet and Lorna O’Donald.

“We are delighted to have engaged these three women to serve as event co-chairs,” says director of athletics and recreation Chris Huggan. “With their leadership coupled with support from the UPEI administration and the City of Charlottetown, I know we will deliver exciting events that will be centred on student-athletes, fans and visitors alike.”

The 2019 championship will be held March 14-17 while the 2020 edition will run March 12-15. Both events will follow an eight-team championship format.


What's where?

A look at the U Sports national championship host sites:

Men’s hockey

2018    UNB

2019    Lethbridge, Alta.

2020    Acadia

Women’s hockey

2018    Western (London, Ont.)

2019    UPEI

2020    UPEI

Men’s basketball

2018    Acadia (in Halifax)

2019    Dalhousie (in Halifax)

2020    University of Ottawa/Carleton University (Ottawa)*

2021    St. FX (in Halifax)

Women’s basketball

2018    Regina

2019    Ryerson (Toronto)

2020    University of Ottawa/Carleton University (Ottawa)*

2021    Queen’s (Kingston, Ont.)

* Host team to be determined.

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