Ones to watch: UBC's hockey teams

It's been two seasons since a UBC hockey team qualified for a U Sports championship (the women's team claimed bronze in 2016/17). Though both the men's and women's hockey rosters have stayed relatively similar, both lost several key seniors to graduation last year. Their remedy? Some stellar new recruits. Here's who you should know going into the 2018/19 season, be they first-time 'Birds or returning team talent.

Men’s hockey

Steven Hodges (Forward, #11)

Hodges joins UBC after several years playing pro for the Portland Pirates and the San Antonio Rampage. The Delta, BC native also has extensive WHL experience, having played for the previously-named Chilliwack Bruins, now Victoria Royals; throughout his four-year WHL stint, the centreman scored 75 goals. He took a year off for injury, but is back and ready to take on U Sports.

He was also a third-round draft pick for the Florida Panthers in 2012.

Colton Kehler (Forward, #25)

In line with the WHL trend, Kehler joins the Thunderbirds forward roster after a three-year stint with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He leaves their roster having scored 67 goals, and with a reputation for shooting the puck — a lot. At 5’9”, he is one of the shorter players on the roster, but a scrappy player too who can hold his own.

Patrick Dea (Goaltender, #47)

With long-time goaltender Matt Hewitt moving on from the ’Birds squad, UBC was on the hunt for a new netminder in the off-season. Their saving grace? Patrick Dea. Another WHL recruit, Dea comes to UBC off three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings and most recently a year with the Tri-City Americans. He had a .913 save percentage last season — an impressive tally for his 47 games in net.

Women’s hockey

Sarah Thon (Defender, #6)

One of five new players to UBC’s roster this season, Sarah Thon is the only newbie coming into the team with some university hockey experience. From 2013 to 2015, Thon played for the Neumann University Knights in NCAA Division 3, scoring four goals in that time.

Ashley McFadden (Forward, #13)

Of the forwards available to head coach Graham Thomas, Ashley McFadden is one of the rookie trio looking to make her mark. She joins UBC from Winnipeg’s St. Mary’s Academy, where she shared the lead scoring title last year with 49 points overall, including 22 goals but also an impressive 27 assists. McFadden also has some higher level experience, having played for her home province of Manitoba and having served as their captain in a 2017 tournament in Quebec.

Emily Costales (Forward, #11)

Fifth-year Emily Costales impressed in her rookie season with the T-Birds in 2017/18 after a move from Syracuse University. As the second-highest scorer for UBC, she notched seven goals throughout the season while also playing a bit of an enforcer role, earning 36 penalty minutes in total. She had a lot of scoring success on home ice last season — five of her goals were scored at Doug Mitchell.