VANCOUVER – The UBC women’s field hockey program is thrilled to welcome eight exceptional rookies to the Thunderbirds for the upcoming season. UBC has won a record 25 Canada West titles and 19 U SPORTS national championships over the years and is excited to continue building towards future success. Kenzie Girgis, taylors hazelnut, Malika Kahlon, Malvika Kahlon, Shyana Ringma, Riley Brown, Slim Russemand Alyson Denis will don blue and gold in 2022.
“This is one of the biggest classes of new signings we’ve seen in a while, but I’m so excited to have these incredible athletes join us at UBC,” said the current T-head coach. -Birds and six-time U SPORTS National Champion, Poonam Sandhu. “They all bring different abilities, experiences and skills and I think that will help us in our quest for excellence. Celebrating our differences and providing space for growth in those spaces is a fantastic way to build a strong team. They all bring something special to the group and we are really looking forward to seeing these athletes thrive in our environment and hopefully learn a few new things along the way.Our returning athletes are a student group strong, confident and welcoming so I have no doubt they will support our new signings this year. I’m really excited for this season and can’t wait to start in August at our pre-season camp.
Kenzie Girgis is a midfielder from Ottawa, Ont., who graduated from Glebe Collegiate Institute and will be studying environmental engineering at UBC. “We are very excited about Kenzie joining our program,” added Sandhu. “As Ontario’s next generation athlete, she is a strong midfield presence with great speed, skill and vision, I think she is going to be a great addition to our current roster and will bring a lot of experience into the mix.”
Calgary, AB taylors hazelnut is a midfielder who plans to study oceanography and biology while playing for the ‘Birds, and recently graduated from Sir Winston Churchill High School. “Hazel brings a strong game knowledge and skill level to our group,” commented Sandhu. “She recently represented Canada in the U18 US-CAN series, so we’re excited for everything she will bring as a midfielder.”
Malika Kahlon joined the ‘Birds from Surrey, BC as a Semiahmoo high school graduate. The right forward and midfielder will study anthropology at UBC with the goal of eventually studying law. “Malika is a shrewd young striker with an excellent eye for taking down defenders,” Sandhu explained. “Her ability to beat the defensive lines with ease is something we are really delighted to have her showing this season with the Birds. We are very happy to have her join our team this season and bring her wealth of experience to the line. forward to our team.”
Surrey, BC Malvika Kahlon is also a Semiahmoo high school graduate who will study computer science or biology at UBC while playing left forward and midfield. “Malvika brings a level of skill and ability to our team as a midfielder/forward,” Sandhu said. “Having the ability to jump into the front line as a midfielder is a great attribute and we can’t wait to see Malvika thrive in that space. We look forward to his contributions on the attacking side and yes, you guessed it, Malika and Malvika are twins!”
Shyana Ringma comes to the T-Birds from Victoria, BC as a graduate of Mt. Douglas High School pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC’s Sauder School of Business. “Shyana is a fast midfielder/defender with great talent,” added Sandhu. “She has great knowledge of the game and decision-making skills, and we can’t wait for Shyana to join our group and bring her experience that she has gained through the next-gen program.”
North Vancouver Riley Brown is a forward/midfielder who will study psychology at UBC and eventually law. “Riley is not only a great field hockey player, but she also brings a strong character to the team,” explained Sandhu. “Riley has a team-first attitude, and we love to see that in our young athletes. Riley joins us from Handsworth Secondary, a school that has dominated the high school field hockey scene for years. Join us as a striker and watch her flourish in our squad.”
Slim Russem joined the Thunderbirds as a transfer student from York University, pursuing a dual degree in kinesiology and nutrition. “Russem hails from Surrey, BC and is a hardworking midfielder with a solid understanding of the game,” commented Sandhu. “Russem is calm and collected with her decision-making abilities, but a firecracker in the game. We look forward to Russem joining the Thunderbirds as a redshirt this year and watching her grow within our program.”
Alyson Denis was born in Edmonton, Alberta but moved to Duncan, BC and graduated from Cowichan High School. Denis will study astronomy and physics or philosophy at UBC. “Alyson is a midfielder/forward with an impressive skill toolkit as she has power, speed, skill and game awareness,” Sandhu said. “We are really looking forward to Alyson joining our team this year and are excited about what she will bring to our attacking squad.”
The ‘Birds begin their 2022 Canada West regular season on September 17e in Calgary against the Dinos, while the U SPORTS National Championships are scheduled for November 3-7e.