T-Birds down Bisons in sexual assault awareness night

A special game took place Friday night at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena. The night was hosted to raise awareness around sexual violence and funds for the Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre.

For the occasion, the UBC women's hockey team took on the University of Manitoba Bisons. Shiayli Toni, a member of the UBC women's hockey team and winner of the UBC Athletics esteemed Kay Brearley Service Award, was the lead student organizer for the event.

Despite the craze of planning an event of this magnitude, Toni found time to discuss the importance of hosting public, social and positive events like this evening with The Ubyssey.

Looking around the stands, there were UBC varsity jackets from a number of the various sports teams that had come out to support the cause. Toni stated that it was "important that they were not using this platform to elevate athletes but as a way for athletes to give back." Amongst the 138 in attendance, many were varsity Thunderbirds. Along with coming out to support the cause, multiple athletes also came out to have that important conversation about the culture of consent.

One of the avenues for this conversation was through anonymous, brightly coloured Post-it Notes. These Post-it Notes were organized by two former UBC athletes: Taylor Reilly and Mimi Neufield. Their table was amongst the other organizations that had come out in support of this event. The questions being asked were "What does a culture of consent mean to you? And "How can we build it together?"

The answers were largely tackling the latter. The theme of athletics in the answers also indicated that athletes were here and giving constructive feedback to the system that they live in. One of the Post-it Notes read "Mandatory varsity sexual violence training." Toni also stated, "Eventually I would love if there was a mandatory training for all athletes regarding sexual violence and building a culture of consent." With the charity being discussed on an athletic platform, Toni acknowledged that, "historically, sports culture has been problematic when it comes to issues like this." However, the focus and emphasis on athletics seems to be much more positive. Toni cited the "elevated visibility" that UBC athletes enjoy as an opportunity to affect positive change, and stated that "[I] think there is a lot of potential for growth and leadership within sports culture because of that."

Even though there may have been an emphasis on athletics, Toni also explained, "when we look at our society in general, this is a very pervasive problem!' There was an overarching focus of the evening, as Toni emphasised that the event "opens a channel for communication and talking about these topics before they are an issue."

As for the actual game itself, the home team won with a decisive 3-0 decision. Going into the game the two teams were historically evenly matched with 22 wins 22 loses each. The first few minutes of the game reflected that history.

However, it wasn't long before the Thunderbirds began to pull ahead. UBC capitalized on a Manitoba hooking penalty and 30 seconds into the power play, Mikayla Ogrodniczuk received a pass from Rylind MacKinnon at the point. Ogrodniczuk sniped a top-shelf shot and opened up the scoring. With just over five minutes remaining in the third, UBC's Shay-Lee McConnell scored and put UBC up by two.

It was quickly followed by Hannah Clayton-Carroll's back hand shot that went in before McConnell's had even finished being announced. The Bisons immediately called a time-out but they were already trailing by three at this point and the game ended in UBC's favour.