Alison McGillivray, from North Vancouver, plays for the North Van Mariners and is a member of the Canada Masters Field Hockey Committee. She has represented Canada in two Masters World Cups – 2015 Canberra, in Australia, and 2018 Terrassa / Barcelona, in Spain.
Field Hockey BC spoke with Ali about her experiences with the Canadian Masters team, the importance and the role of the Masters Committee and how our field hockey members can join the team!
Alison started playing field hockey when she was 23 and was immediately “hooked”. “It was great to have something to do on a Saturday (other than watching my husband play rugby) and I loved the game although it took me a while to get used to it (some might say I have still not figured it out!)”. She then joined the Meralomas, multisport club which offered social activities. Between playing, umpiring and enjoying the atmosphere of Connaught Park, Alison saw field hockey becomes a very large part of her life. “I started a field hockey program at Little Flower Academy and coached there for 25 years as well as doing some coaching in the junior league”. As as Masters player, she had the fortune of participating in two Masters World Cups (Canberra in 2016 and Terrassa in 2018). Currently, she plays for the North Van Mariners and umpire in the women’s and the junior leagues.
The Importance of the Masters Players
“There are so many women participating in the Vancouver Women’s League who are in the 35+ age group. They have a passion for the game, skill (many of them play in the top divisions) and a desire to keep involved in a wonderful sport”. McGillivray also points out that many of the volunteers positions in the leagues across BC are occupied by by Masters’ athletes who understand the importance of giving back to the community. Additionally, coaches and umpires are often Masters as well. “I see Masters athletes as role models for young players, showing them that field hockey is a game for life and not just up to a certain age.”
“During league play I have difficulty differentiating a ‘Masters’ player from anyone else on the field. It is wonderful that leagues consist of players of all ages”, Alison says. With the growth of the Masters program, those who are older will find even more opportunities to play, “which is always good!”. There is an annual tournament in Victoria and the Vancouver International Tournament has had a masters’ division for several years now. As the pinnacle of a Masters career, there is always the opportunity to compete for Canada at different age levels in the outdoor or indoor World Cups. “One aspect that I really enjoy about Masters competition is it brings players together from different clubs. People that you compete against in usual league play become your teammates.”
The Masters Committee
“The FHC Masters Committee was started by Ian Baggott whose vision sent a women’s over 50 and a men’s over 50 to the Canberra World Cup in 2015. It now is a group of volunteers who meet on a regular basis with Susan Ahrens of FHC to encourage Masters participation on both the domestic and the world stage. Right now, the focus is on the 2022 World Cups, in Nottingham, Cape Town and Tokyo for outdoor competition, and Virginia Beach for indoor hockey.”
“There were many players who fit the category of “Masters” long before it became a popular term. I know that leagues everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to the women who played, organized teams to go to tournaments and spent countless administrative hours making sure that everyone, no matter what age, could enjoy the sport.”
Players 35+ are encouraged to visit the Canada Masters website. This following link will take you to a registration form on the site that will ensure that you receive the latest information the Masters initiatives: https://mastersfieldhockey.ca/masters-hockey-registration.
The FHC Masters Committee is starting to organize for the 2022 Outdoor and Indoor World Cups and more information will be coming out soon about the tournaments. To conclude, Alison simply asks our members to “please, think about participating!”
Indoor World Cup 2022
February 15-20 – Virginia Beach, USA
O40 W & M / O45 W & M / O50 W & M / O55 W & M / O60 W & M (added)
Outdoor World Cups 2022
August 12-21 – Nottingham, England
O35 W & M / O40 W & M
October 1-10 – Cape Town, South Africa
O45 – O55 M / O45 – O65 W / O55 M Spirit of Masters / O55 – O65 W Spirit of Masters
October 19-29 – Tokyo, Japan
O60 – O80 M / O60 – O80 M Spirit of Masters
If you are interested in or have any questions about the Field Hockey Canada Masters program, please don’t hesitate to contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org