Everything you need to know about the Vancouver Hawks!
About the club
Founded in 1895 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, our club offers a full range of opportunities for men, women, boys and girls to enjoy field hockey at all levels of play. Vancouver Hawks members are regularly selected to regional, provincial and national teams. Whether you wish to play, coach or umpire, we have a place for you on one of our many competitive or recreational teams.
Developing lifelong involvement in field hockey
- High quality coaching
- Variety of programming
- Personal development opportunities
- Fun playing hockey and building social connections
- Creativeness and innovation
- Pride in personal achievement and in the club
- Fitness and Health
The purpose of the organization is to develop and maintain opportunities for lifelong involvement in field hockey for the residents of Vancouver.
The organization does this by:
- Providing programming for all ages, genders, and abilities, throughout the year;
- Providing development opportunities for players, coaches, and officials; and
- Engaging with individuals and other organizations in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, and Canada to build the sport of field hockey.
Vancouver Hawks Primer
Q. What is 'field hockey'?
A. It is an athletic non-contact stick and ball goal scoring sport played by teams of 11 players on an outdoor artificial surface. It is the world’s third most popular field sport. A number of countries boast professional leagues. There are highly ranked teams from nations on all continents.
Q. Where does Canada stand in the world?
A. Canadian women are ranked 21st in the world while the Men just elevated themselves into the top 10 at the recent World Cup.
Q. What is the Canadian Field Hockey system?
A. Field Hockey Canada is the national body with each province having its own local body. In B.C., this if Field Hockey BC (FHBC). Varsity Field Hockey is played at many Canadian universities by women and men.
Q. How does the Hawks integrate into the national organisation?
A. The Hawks are the second largest Field Hockey Club in Canada. Nine of the current Hawks Men's Premier team are national or ex-national players and last year 35 Hawks represented their country from Junior to Golden Oldies.
Q. What is the playing membership of the Hawks
A. Each year the Hawks play a number of separate seasons, Spring league, senior league, fall league and an indoor field hockey season that spans through fall to spring. In total there are throughout the year some 1200 boys and girls, men and women playing on various teams in various leagues. Players ages range from 6 to 82 years old. This corresponds to (approximately) 13 teams in the senior league, 7 teams in the junior fall league, 4 teams in the indoor sessions, 48 teams in the spring league.
Q. Where is the Hawks home field?
A. The Hawks are unable to play all home games on one field, three fields are needed. Approximately 40% of home games are played at Eric Hamber AT field, 40% at Wright field (UBC), the remainder at Crofton House School (girls/women only) and Andy Livingstone (soccer surface).
Q. How successful is the Hawks organization?
A. The Hawks Club was founded in 1895. It is not unusual for three generations to be involved with the club. Hawks players go on to represent Canada, play at university level and in professional leagues outside of Canada. Senior sides run by other clubs within Vancouver (Meralomas, Jokers etc) are primarily formed with ex-Hawks players. Hawks teams compete successfully in tournaments in BC and internationally. We host touring teams and send touring teams to other countries. We also host exchange players seeking experience in North America.
executive and staff
President – Penny Cooper
Penny discovered field hockey in elementary school in the 80s and has been a player, coach, administrator, umpire, spectator, carpool driver, and general field hockey fanatic ever since. She has a twenty-five-year history of involvement with Vancouver field hockey clubs, including North Vancouver, UBC, Meralomas, Jokers and Vancouver Hawks. Having come up through the BC high performance system, Penny played varsity field hockey at UBC, represented BC at junior and senior levels, and competed for Canada at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Somewhere in there, there was a fourteen year sojourn in Australia where she sampled a few more clubs and got a taste of what it’s like to live in a country where you don’t have to specify “field” before the word “hockey”.
Like many others, Penny began her involvement in the Vancouver Hawks Club coaching her daughters’ teams, serving eleven seasons in the junior spring league and three seasons in the women’s league. Over that time, she has played an instrumental role in bringing juniors into the women’s league to encourage lifelong physical activity and love of the game.
Professionally, Penny is an independent management consultant, specializing in program evaluation.
She joined the Hawks Club Board in November 2019 and was elected President in November 2020.
Treasurer - Sandra Chamberlain
I am just now completing 1.5 years as treasurer of Hawks. This is a good way for me to volunteer with this organization, tapping into skills and knowledge that I use in my job as a professor in accounting at the University of British Columbia. I started playing hockey as a freshman in high school. I played for UC Berkeley between 1977 and 1981 and I played club hockey in the Bay area during the 1990’s until moving to Vancouver in 2001. Oddly, I did not explore hockey in Vancouver until the Fall of 2017. I love to learn new skills and to make new friends through involvement with the hockey community in Vancouver
Secretary - Michael Foxcroft
Mike has served as Secretary for the Executive for 9 years. His minutes are always dead accurate and concise! On any given weekend, you may find him playing with the B's, C's or D's. Sometimes all three! He thinks the cure to lower back pain is more hockey. His twin boys Alex and Spencer (shoe size 12 at time of writing) also play with the C's and D's.
Member at Large-Player Development – Stephanie Nesbitt
Stephanie has been known in the field hockey world as "Barney" since her first year with UBC over 20 years ago. She first started playing on the North Shore at the age of 10 and hasn't stopped. As a UBC and National team alumni she has never been far from the field. Today, you can find her there playing/coaching the Meraloma Club, coaching for the Hawks, and driving her children and friends to-and-from their many different activities.
Passionate about player and coach development, Stephanie is focused on creating inclusive programs that support the development of players physical literacy and provide positive experiences for all. In coach development she is always looking for ways to provide support and further training opportunities for coaches. Her joy for sport, her life-long friends from the field hockey community, and her background in community recreation and engagement continue to be her motivation to volunteer and give back to the her community.
Member at Large-Junior League Coordinator – Angela Bate
Angela joined the board in 2021. A mom-turned-player, she cheered on her daughter from the sidelines for several years and volunteered as a team manager, before picking up a stick to start playing for the first time in 2019. She joined a Hawks team in the women's league and continues to enjoy the athleticism and team camaraderie of the sport. Angela's interests include strengthening the player pathway from junior programs to senior league, recruiting and training goalkeepers at the junior level, and promoting girls and women in sport at all levels. In her day job, Angela leads the team of federal negotiators working on Treaties and reconciliation agreements with First Nations in BC and Yukon.
Member At Large - Sean Ford
To the surprise of his younger self he also developed a love of coaching and has since worked with teams in the Hawks Jr. girls, Jr. boys, Sr. Men and Sr. Women’s programs as well as at Queen's University. He appreciates the passion and joy of players of all ages and abilities and how there is always something new to learn as a coach. He looks forward to supporting the club's continued efforts to provide an environment where individuals can develop as players and thrive as human beings.
In his day job Sean works as a mental health therapist and amateur cat whisperer.
Member at Large-Women's Coordinator – Sarah Spencer
Member at Large-Senior Men's Coordinator – Ross Dutkiewicz
Member at Large-Marketing and Communications – Deborah Williams-Walshe
Member at Large-Advocacy – Camille McJunkin
Camille started playing field hockey in the fifth grade, and has been with the Hawks for nearly 10 years. She took a break to play for the UBC Junior Varsity team during university, and returned to the Hawks after graduating. She was previously involved with the club as an umpire and assistant coach, and joined the Board in 2021 to learn more about its operations and facilities work. Camille studied mechanical engineering at UBC and currently works as a consultant in the buildings industry.
Member at Large-Club Community Director – VACANT
Executive Director - Alex Bale
Alex plays on Hawks B, coaches, manages and generally enjoys all things field hockey. Even his family are not immune, with both his daughter and wife being coerced - or encouraged, depending on your point of view - into joining the Vancouver Hawks. Alex can be contacted at email@example.com
Head Coach - Matthew Sarmento
Matt has been coaching with the Hawks club in a variety of roles – Women’s Premier Team, junior fall and spring programs, summer camps, academies, schools program – for many years. The Head Coach role is responsible for embodying and instilling the coaching philosophy of the club as a coach, and leading, educating, supporting and organizing the club’s coaching pool. Matt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Club Administrator - Casey Crawford
New to the role as Club Administrator, Casey is not new to the Hawks family. Two teenage sons have played Hawks and Devan continues to play, competing against Hawks for UVic and Canada JDS. Casey was also privileged to sit as a Park Board Commissioner (2014-2018) where he advocated for youth sport facilities and will continue to support youth sports in his role with Hawks. Casey can be contacted at email@example.com
Club Bookkeeper - Ian MacKenzie
President from 2012 to 2017, Ian is one of the longest serving presidents in the history of the club. His father Duncan played for Canada and his son Michael is a member of the Junior Canadian Team. Ian didn't play hockey until he went to UBC but some say talent skips a generation anyway.
EARLY DAYS OF VANCOUVER HOCKEY CLUB
1895: Vancouver Hockey Club founded. Club Captain: Reverend W.J.K. Flinton
1896: Vancouver Ladies Hockey Club founded. Coach: Reverend W.J.K. Flinton
Both clubs were active on the pitch for the period up until the Great War, with social interaction in the form of picnics, end-of-season banquets and similar occasions.
1902-03: A famous early photograph of Vancouver H.C. (now deposited in the archives of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, Vancouver) depicts the team with the caption:
Vancouver Hockey Club
League Team 1902-3
Champions of British Columbia
1911: Inception of the Challenge Cup which bears the inscription:
Presented to the British Columbia Grass Hockey Association
by the Officers and Patrons of the North Vancouver Hockey Club 1911
1912-13: Vancouver Hockey Club wins the Challenge Cup in its second year of competition.
1914-19: WWI & Influenza Pandemic. No hockey played.
1920: Men's League re-forms with Vancouver Club as one of the 6 teams in the league.
1929: Women's League re-forms. NO Vancouver Ladies team.
During the Inter-War period, Vancouver HC won the Challenge Cup six times:
1927-28 / 1928-29 / 1929-30 // 1937-38 / 1938-39 // 1940-41
1941-45: World War II. No hockey played for four seasons.
1945: Men's League re-forms after WWII with Vancouver Club included in the league.
Vancouver HC won the Challenge Cup in the third year of post-war competition (1947-48) and again (playing under the name of Bulldogs) in 1948-49 and 1949-50.
[Vancouver HC fielded two teams in the late 1940s, many of the players returned servicemen. As a symbolic gesture to the tenacity of war-hero Winston Churchill, the club's first team was called Bulldogs, this name appearing on VFHL's Challenge Cup on the last two occasions when Vancouver HC won the League. By the 1950s, reference to Bulldogs had disappeared from the records and Vancouver Hockey Club, as such, whilst maintaining two or three teams in the VFHL, never won the Challenge Cup again - end of an era!]
1960s: In the early 1960s, most of the young lads who were to form the nucleus of Hawks HC were introduced to hockey by Dr Harry Warren, founding President of CFHA, considered the father of the game in Canada.
1963: Hawks Club founded with a junior boys team playing in lowest division of Men's League
1966-67: HawksA wins Div 2 of VFHL and gains promotion to Div 1 (top division)
Hawks Club fields 4 teams in VFHL (Men's League) and several teams in Junior competition
1967-70: Hawks A wins 3 consecutive VFHL top division premierships:
1967-68 / 1968-69 / 1969-70
1969: Hawks '69 Team tour of Australasia
[An event which stands out in the century-old history of the Vancouver Hawks club is the Hawks 69 Tour, an epic journey of Australasia (Asia and the South Pacific) in which 19 young players played 38 matches in 8 countries over a period of 9 weeks. Almost half of the Hawks69 contingent are still actively involved with the Vancouver Hawks FHC]
1973-77: Hawks A wins 3 more VFHL top division premierships:
1973-74 / 1975-76 / 1976-77
Amalgamation - Vancouver HC and Hawks HC
1977: Amalgamation of Vancouver Club & Hawks Club to create Vancouver Hawks FHC
1977(circa): Creation of Greater Vancouver Junior Field Hockey Association; development of boys' field hockey under the leadership of Brian Seymour of the Vancouver Hawks FHC.
1980-81: Vancouver Hawks FHC HawksA team wins VFHL top division premiership, three decades after the Vancouver Hockey Club had last won the title.
1970: Empire Stadium: Several Hawks members amongst those who established Empire Stadium as a CFHA National Training Centre in SEP 1970; Hawks instrumental in, and supportive of, the Empire Stadium League
[first synturf hockey league in the world], entering a team in inaugural 6-team competition JAN-MAR 1971; and two teams when the Empire Stadium League expanded to 10 teams in subsequent seasons.
1987: Hamber: In 1979, delegation from Vancouver Hawks FHC visited Vancouver Park Board to spearhead a drive for improved hockey facilities. This initiative culminated in 1987 with the installation of Hamber, first municipal synturf pitch in BC for amateur sport; first synturf pitch in Canada installed primarily for hockey.
1995: Livingstone: In the early 1990s, Vancouver Hawks FHC led successful effort to up-grade proposed sand-filled pitches at Livingstone to watered unfilled synturf pitches; also to include changing facilities [not incorporated in original design] as part of project. Livingstone was opened for use in early May 1995.
2002: Wright Field: In 1998, revitalised initiative to install a hockey-primary synturf pitch at UBC proposed by club stalwart, Lee Wright. Project supported by members of the Vancouver Hawks FHC (many of whom were also UBC Alumni) and, by virtue of direct financial support from the Club, Vancouver Hawks FHC became a Donor Partner of the Wright Field Project. Wright Field was completed at the end of May 2002.
2002: Hamber Up-grade: In January 1999, a proposal initiated by members of Vancouver Hawks FHC for the up-grade of Hamber to a hockey-primary watered synturf pitch was presented to Vancouver Park Board for implementation in the 2000-2002 Capital plan. Following representations from Hockey's Hamber Up-grade Committee, comprising predominantly members of Vancouver Hawks FHC, the proposal was accepted by Vancouver Field Sports Federation and Vancouver Park Board in October 2001, and the Hamber Up-grade was completed in October 2002.
1980s: With Hamber (and later Livingstone) as home-base pitches and KitsYC as social centre, club continues to build under inspired leadership of talented & dedicated members of the Vancouver Hawks FHC Executive. Doves and Hawks tour to Holland and Germany, 1982.
1990s: VanHawks efforts to development junior girls hockey throughout the 1980s and 1990s is very successful. As players mature, teams enter Women's League as Hawks1, Hawks2, etc., to distinguish from men's teams: HawksA, HawksB, etc.
1994: Vancouver Hawks FHC arranges league fixtures to mark VFHL's 100th season. VFHL's oldest clubs [Victoria - 1897 / UBC - 1923 / India - 1933 / VRC Jokers - 1964] participate in ceremonial matches with VanHawks teams at Hamber on SAT 15 OCT 1994.
1995: Throughout the Summer of 1995 (May-Agust) Vancouver Hawks FHC organises festivities to acknowledge its 100th Anniversary. Centenary Celebrations include:
International Invitational Club Tournament (the first VIT) held on the May long weekend.
FHC National Championships Men & Women - first combined M&W Senior Championships.
Canadian Masters Men & Women (First CM Tournament to include a Men's competition).
International Masters Hockey Tournament comprising Masters (10 teams), Senior Masters (6 teams) and Women's Masters (4 teams). (First IMH Tournament to include a Women's competition). [Centenary Celebration events held at Livingstone - world-class synturf double-pitch complex]
1999-2000: Vancouver Hawks FHC A Team wins VFHL top Division (now called Premier) for the first time in over twenty years.
2002-2003: Vancouver Hawks FHC A Team again wins VFHL Premier Division. [This marks the 100th anniversary of the famous photo of 1902-1903 "Champions of British Columbia"].
2003-2008: Vancouver Hawks FHC runs 5-6 Men's and 6 Women's teams in the Vancouver Leagues with at least one team in each division; as well as numerous junior teams at every age level for both boys & girls; VanHawks players gain selection to regional, provincial and national teams at every level of competition for men, women, girls & boys; members of the club serve on executives of associations from local leagues through provincial/national associations to FIH.
As a multi-cultural, gender-balanced club, providing opportunities for players of all ages and levels of ability, Vancouver Hawks FHC is a model Hockey Club - indeed a model sports club.
1963-1966 Dr. Harry Warren
1967-1969 John McBryde
1970 Eric Donegani
1971 Lee Wright
1972 Keith Purchase
1973-1974 David Johannson
1975-1977 Antonie Schouten
1977-1981 Richard Fletcher
1981-1985 Ken Beckett
1986 Jon Ronan (interim)
1986-1988 David Johannson
1989-1993 Brian Seymour
1993-1997 John Green
1997-2000 Andrew Shirkoff
2000 Mike Caruth (interim)
2000-2001 John Lehmann
2002-2007 Patrick Oswald
2008-2013 Anne Thompson
2013-2017 Ian MacKenzie
2017-2020 Andrew Dewberry
2020 -present Penny Cooper
1970-72: Hawks Club fields 2 women's teams in VWFHA Women's League.
Nucleus of teams comprise girlfriends & colleagues of Hawks men.
1970s: Vancouver Club member, Steve Dove, coaches women's club in VWFHA League.
Teams become known as Steve's Doves.
1979: Shiaz Virjee, a member of Vancouver Hawks FHC takes over as coach of the Doves. Bearing olive branches, Hawks woo the Doves with view to creating a mixed Men's & Women's Vancouver Hawks FHC.
1980 (circa): Hawks and Doves teams travel together to Holland, Germany, CalCup at MoorPark (May) and GoldenGate at Berkeley (September). Courtship extends to girlfriend - boyfriend interaction, relationships develop and marriages ensue.
1980s: VanHawks Club actively fosters development of junior girls hockey. Over time, more club women's teams entered in VWFHA Women's League.
1981: VanHawks Club agrees to retain Doves as the name of the club's top women's team.
1990s: Doves grows from 3 teams to 6, entered in the Vancouver Women's League. The Doves Premier team win the playoff or League titles for every year they are entered.
2004: Doves agrees to change their name to Hawks.
2005-present: The domination of the Hawks Premier team continues under the leadership of Rick Roberts, coach.
1978 (circa): Following back-to-back VFHL games involving Hawks A and Hawks B at Empire Stadium, two dozen VanHawks Club members meet at apres-game social function to discuss concept of a Club House. Each member present pledges $100 towards Club-house project.
1979 (circa): With about $2,000 as capital, VanHawks FHC negotiates with Kats RFC to share a house in Kitsilano (at MacDonald Street and 8th Avenue West) serving the purpose of a Club-House.
1984 (circa): VanHawks Club amicably severs partnership with Kats RFC and, through Don Paterson's role as Commodore of Kitsilano Yacht Club, negotiates a club social membership with KYC.
1977: As the original Vancouver Club and Hawks Club colours were both black/white, Vancouver Hawks FHC colours naturally became black/white.
1990 (circa): As Doves colours were red/white, for inclusivity it was agreed that Vancouver Hawks FHC would adopt club colours White/Black/Red (white shirts; black shorts/skirts; red socks ). A long-standing convention of colour-coding at the Junior level (GreenHawks, BlackHawks, RedHawks, etc.) is maintained. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, GreyHawks conforms with this long-standing tradition and adopts appropriate colour-code in lower division of VFHL Men's League.
Men's National Team
Brenden Bissett, Gordie Johnston, Iain Smythe, John Smythe, Richard Hildreth, Philip Wright, Oliver Scholfield, Gordon Johnston, Jamie Wallace, David Carter, Matthew Sarmento, Thomson Harris, Brendan Guraliuk, Sam Cabral
Women's National Team
Shanlee Johnston, Brienne Stairs, Kathleen Leahy, Maddie Secco, Rowan Harris, Elise Wong
Men's Senior Development Team
Men's Junior Development Team
Michael MacKenzie, Sam Seaberry, Devan Crawford, Zaiq Rana, Hudson Loh
Women's Junior Development Team
Isabella Fraser, Thora Rae, Mikayla Stelling, Stella Malinowski
Field Hockey Club
2303 West 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6M 2A3