Emily Grainger of UBC Thunderbirds.

UBC’s Thunderbirds achieve CIS record turnaround thanks to Sooke’s Emily Grainger

Emily Grainger, a Sooke native, contributes to the tremendous turnaround of UBC's Thunderbirds women's hockey team.

The female hockey team at University of BC (UBC) has just pulled off the greatest turnaround in Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) women’s hockey history.

According to the UBC’s goThunderbirds.ca website, the Thunderbirds’ women’s hockey team has turned a record bad year (one win, 21 losses and two ties) into a record good year (17 wins, seven losses and four ties). And to boot, they did this turn-around in a matter of only one year.

Yes, this is Sooke’s community newspaper.

Yes, we’re covering this incredible turn-around of UBC women’s hockey team.

Why?

Because their success is in part due to the contribution and skills brought to the team by one Emily Grainger, assistant captain, number 8. Grainger is a Sooke native currently on a hockey scholarship at UBC, studying kinesthesiology.

At 22 years, Grainger is startled to notice that she had being doing something for 17 years.

She started playing hockey at five years old, influenced by two older siblings, a brother and a sister, who both played hockey.

She was further influenced — and significantly supported — by her parents, Ann and Richard Grainger, who also played. In fact, Grainger reflects, there was a point in her life where her entire nuclear family of five was playing for various teams, all in Sooke.

Emily Grainger has always been attracted to the competitive side of hockey.

She began playing with the Initiation boys’ team at five and continued playing on the boys’ league through Bantam. Not because of a lack of girls’ teams — Sooke did have all-girls teams at the time — but rather because she preferred to play with her peers that she has known her entire life. It was, Grainger indicates, the natural place for her to be.

She has a long history of wins: According to the UBC team roster, Grainger “played for the South Vancouver Island Breakers, won a gold, silver, and bronze with the Breakers at various Western Shield Championships, played in the Sooke Minor Hockey Association, played ‘A’ boys hockey growing [up] and won a provincial title in PeeWee and a bronze in Bantam.”

Besides being a consistently good hockey player, Grainger seeks out leadership roles. From 2010 to 2012, Grainger served as the president of the athletes’ council.

“My highlight from that position was when I had the opportunity to have breakfast with Trevor Linden,” she reflects.

Her integrity as a team leader as well as a team player shines through when she recognizes the tremendous support she has received over the years: her siblings who initially inspired her; her parents who supported her; and, her coaches who guided and mentored her.

“I also want to mention that I participated in the hockey academy at EMCS in Sooke for my four years of high school. Mr. [Mark] Barrie has always stood out as one of my favorite coaches and teachers from my minor hockey career.”

Grainger aspires to continue playing professional hockey, perhaps with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She is also planning to continue academically and pursue a future as a physiotherapist. She’s graduating from UBC this year, and has applied for post-graduate studies at physio school.

In the meantime, there is the present — this moment — to cherish.

“Her team has just completed one of the greatest turnaround seasons ever in Canadian sports,” Wilson Wong, the manager of Sport Information for the UBC Thunderbirds said.

He adds, “Emily’s UBC team played their playoff series this past weekend and they won, beating Manitoba in two games.  Emily got two points. It is the first time ever that a UBC women’s hockey team has won a playoff series. They will advance to the conference semi-finals in Regina this weekend. If they win two games there, UBC will go to the league finals and clinch a spot at the national championships.”

Emily Grainger, Sooke is watching you and cheering you along your way. You’ve made us proud.

 

Just Posted

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Most Read