2015 was a big year for sports and recreation at UBC. From varsity athletes to video games and rec team names, there was plenty of drama, emotions, blood, sweat and tears this past year. Here, in no particular order, are our 15 defining sports moments of the year.
1. eSports blew up on campus
Argue over whether eSports is a real sport or not, but you can't deny that it blew up at UBC. Our article about UBC's League of Legends team winning the North American title and $180,000 was our top read sports article of the year. The team then stunned everyone again when they beat CTU in the AICC finals in August.
2. Ski and Board club stopped partying to ski
Everyone knows the Ski and Board Club can throw a party, but did you know they can actually ski? The club's competitive team competed in the first ever International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) Collegiate Freeride Series championship where they took on teams from across the United States and Canada. The team placed first in women’s skiing, second in men’s skiing and third in men’s snowboarding, earning them the overall title.
3. Students finally started watching varsity hockey, Winter Classic happened
The hockey may have been subpar, but the crowd wasn't. It's coming back to Point Grey this January so keep an eye out for it.
4. WFC2 played first season on campus
The Vancouver Whitecaps have a little know development team that plays in a professional league in the US and Canada. The team plays and practices at UBC and the Whitecaps are currently building a training complex on campus so keep your eyes out for the occasional ’Cap on campus.
5. UBC lost two climbers in an accident
On January 12, 2015, Stephanie Grothe, a PhD candidate, and Neil Mackenzie, a postdoctoral researcher, died in a climbing accident on Joffre Peak.along with their friend Elena Cernicka, who was a mother of two. They are sorely missed.
6. Women's soccer won a national title under a new coach
Last season, the team went 8-6-2 with coach Andrea Neil and fell 3-1 to rivals Trinity Western University (TWU) in the Canada West quarterfinals. This season, under new head coach Marisa Kovacs, the team went 11-1-2 in conference play. They exacted their revenge on TWU, beating them 3-0 at Thunderbird Stadium to capture the national championship. This will be a year to watch the team. Think they can repeat?
7. van Gylswyk's Vanier Cup Celebration
8. Softball sued UBC ... and won
Long story short, UBC downgraded the softball team and the team sued UBC claiming that the university was discriminating against them because of their gender. UBC claimed they did nothing wrong, but the team won the lawsuit and softball returned to being a varsity sport. The team will play their first game of 2016 on February 19 in the Northwest Cup.
9. Women's field hockey captured their fifth straight national championship
Is it even fun being this god-damned good? Yes, of course it is.
10. Swimming continued not to lose. Ever.
The men's team won their 13th national title in the last 18 years and the women's team won their fourth straight title. Seriously, leave some championships for the rest of Canada.
11. This guy wore almost nothing but a tutu in front of a homecoming crowd 7000 strong
UBC won, the crowd was (probably) record setting and the team went on to win the Vanier Cup for the first time since 1997. But the real measure of success was the semi-nude streaker who interrupted the game to run around the field and be chased by the RCMP.
12. Kuntz left UBC angrily
"Something is clearly not working. This is no longer my issue. I have fought long enough. Men's Hockey has been at UBC for 100 years. All varsity sports at UBC should be celebrated. All Student athletes, coaches and staff at UBC must be appreciated and supported. Nobody should be treated with such ignorance and disrespect as my hockey program, players and staff were ... It’s time to stop pointing fingers. It’s time to start exercising transparency and it’s time to start listening to your coaches. It’s not all bad though as there is hope. There are some very important people with the power to change. I plead for you to do the right thing. It's always the correct choice. Sincerely, Tyler Kuntz."
That has to hurt, UBC.
13. Storm the Wall was really big
Storm the Wall is always a big deal at UBC, but 2015 was a particularly big deal. It was the biggest ever with over 830 teams and an estimated 3,800 participants. The event also expanded with a health and wellness fair, a community festival and a food truck festival with a beer garden. Last year, Rec hinted Storm 2016 was going to be full of surprises. But with three months left, hints are still hard to come by.
14. The Ubyssey took on UBC Rec's team name policy
Last year, Rec decided to censor some of their Rec league team names. An example is the “Peter North Stars” because Rec argued that in "today’s social climate, it is difficult to say we are an organization that supports equality in all aspects of what we do and at the same time allow a team name that is in reference to someone that many people link to a profession that, again, many people find demeaning to women." But then they decided to let the “EnviroMENTALS,” “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy” and “Show Me Ya TDs” slide.
15. Tennis Legend John McEnroe proved he still had moves
The Davis Cup and the PowerShares Series in the same year? That's right, UBC hosted both. Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Michael Chang and Mark Philippoussis all returned to tennis at Thunderbird Arena for some lighthearted fun. In the Davis Cup, Canada took on Japan and won, sending the team to quarterfinals.