Two eight-game win streaks and a first for women’s hockey: The return of the annual UBC Winter Classic

For the first time since the 2019/20 season, the UBC Winter Classic is returning this year on Friday, February 3. Since its inception in 2015, this year’s event will be a first-ever doubleheader, seeing the T-Birds women’s team play along with the men’s.

The women’s game will start at 4 p.m. and the men’s game at 7 p.m. in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Both teams will be facing off against cross-town rivals Trinity Western Spartans. Tickets are required for entry and are $5 for students.

Aside from the hockey, the fan-favourite Molson Mechanical Bull and Granville Island Party Zone will be at the event. UBC also has a special giveaway planned for the first 500 people to arrive at the event and will be handing out 5,000 gold rally towels to the crowd. To keep the celebrations going after the games, the Pit Pub and AMS events are hosting a ticketed 19+ afterparty starting at 10 p.m.

The men’s team finished last season in second place and set a franchise record .725 winning percentage. Losing many key players to graduation, the team had a rough start to the season and ended the first half with an 8–6–2 record.

After a midseason victory over the Mount Royal Cougars, head coach Sven Butenschön said his young team was maturing and will be more focused than ever before playoffs. “Our performance was a very good display of a strong team mentality and spirit,” he said. “Moving forward, if we can play like that, we’ll be okay.”

Since December 2, the team has won eight straight games and improved to fourth place in the conference. The Thunderbirds have been riding a wave of success; there could not be a better time to play a Winter Classic game in front of a packed crowd.

Also having won their past eight games, the women’s team enters play looking to repeat last year’s Canada West women’s hockey conference victory.

The T-Birds women’s team is currently leading the conference in goals, and with a dominant 20–2–3 record, they have the conference's best .875 winning percentage. Ranking first in Canada West, the T-Birds women’s team is operating power play at a success rate of 22.1 per cent.

With high expectations, head coach Graham Thomas is confident the team will only get better and sharper from here. “We’re starting to feel that buzz … before you know it, we’re going to be in playoff hockey and it’s a whole other animal,” said Thomas in an interview with The Ubyssey on January 17.

With four games left in the regular season, we can expect both T-Birds squads to give us their all for possibly the best UBC Winter Classic yet.