Season preview: Hockey teams keen on repeats and comebacks

As the ‘Birds return to the ice, UBC’s hockey teams are looking sharp on repeats and improvement on last year's success. With plenty of returning players and the addition of new promising talents, here’s what to anticipate for the Thunderbird hockey seasons.

Women’s team looking to improve after back-to-back and bronze

As Canada West (CW) back-to-back champions and reigning U Sports bronze medalists, the women’s hockey team is geared and fired up more than ever for the upcoming season as they look to have another standout year.

Five players have graduated including highly experienced players Hannah Koroll and Ireland Perrott, but the returning veterans like Chanreet Bassi (who led the team in points last year) and captain Rylind MacKinnon are promising of a triumphant season.

Second-year Cassidy Rhodes finished off her first hockey season ranked first in scoring among rookies in CW. Recognized as UBC’s Female Rookie of the Year, she is a player to watch, along with the addition of four new talents to the team for the upcoming season.

Jaylyn Morris is one of those additions. The defender from Maple Ridge recently won gold at the 2023 Canada Winter Games and will fit in nicely with the team's strong defensive core.

The team was voted the number one team in the CW pre-season coaches poll and the ‘Birds should have an electrifying season as they look to capture the CW title for a third consecutive year.

The team commences their season against the University of Alberta Pandas on Friday at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton.

Men’s team is building a comeback story

The men’s hockey team is headed for a new season with optimism after they concluded their pre-season with a 5–0 record.

After losing in the CW semi-finals last year, the team — which is ranked third in the CW coaches poll — is looking for a comeback this season.

The team saw the departure of forwards Jordan Sandhu and Ethan McIndoe, but the majority of the team is returning for the new season. With veteran players like Jake Kryski and Jonathan Smart, along with standout rookies from last year like Jake Lee and Sasha Mutala, the ‘Birds are geared up for a thrilling season.

The team welcomed two new forwards, Jake Wright and Ben Kotylak, for the 2023/24 season. Wright comes off four years in the WHL and is notable on the penalty kill, something the team could improve on from last year.

The new additions for the team also include T-Bird alumni Matt Revel, who is returning to the team as the new assistant coach. Revel was a crucial offensive player when the team competed at the 2022 U Sports national championship tournament, so his experience should translate well into a role behind the bench.

The team starts their season with a home opener on Friday at 7 p.m. at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.