Due to a long history of sexism in sports, women’s athletics aren’t usually given the credit they deserve. Sports have been male-dominated for over a century, but there have been recent initiatives to help change this.
Over the past few weeks the introduction of the three-on-three women’s competition during the National Hockey League All-Star weekend or greater appreciation and focus for competitive women’s national teams such as the past World Cup victory by the United States soccer and continued success by Canadian Hockey teams in the Olympics. With the increased wages in the Women’s National Basketball Association having just been announced in January 2020, we are slowly making progress in climbing to equal pay in comparison to male major league sports counterparts. The WNBA announcement comes at no better time as Feb. 6 marks U Sports’ celebration of 100 years of women’s Canadian Interuniversity Sports basketball.
On Feb. 6, 1920, the Queen’s Gael’s and the McGill Martlets played the first women’s varsity basketball game. With that U Sports has decided, starting on Feb. 6, to list off the top 100 players in the history of Canadian collegiate basketball with decisions being made by a panel of women’s basketball coaches and partners.
With this upcoming anniversary in mind, the Silhouette looked back at a few of the most successful and dominant players in the program’s recent history.
Hilary Hanaka was the leader of last year’s national championship team in. The five-year star played from 2014-2019 at McMaster, has a filled-to-the-brim stats sheet and a fully stocked trophy wall. Having won a national championship and a, Critelli Cup trophy, Hanaka also made the OUA All-Rookie team, was a two year Ontario University Athletics All-Star and an All-Canadian player. By the time she graduated there wasn’t much left for Hanaka to accomplish. Her individual accomplishments include the Sylvia Sweeney Award, the national award for academic/athletic excellence from U Sports and service to the community, and the Joy Bellinger Award presented by the OUA to a student-athlete who excels in academics, athletics and community service.
Hanaka had a great impact on the court, in the classroom and in the community. Having broken McMaster’s ten year losing streak in the Critelli Cup and bringing home the teams first ever national championship would be enough to be on the Marauders record books on its own. The addition of her off-the-court achievements is what makes her the first player to make our list.
The second player who comes to mind is Danielle Boiago, who should need no introduction. In the five years that she played for McMaster from 2012 to 2017, she dominated Burridge. Since the first day she stepped on the court as a Marauder, she was a dominant guard averaging 15.5 points a game combined with 53 steals, 46 assists and a total of 340 points in her first season. She was only getting started. Impressive is a word that does not live up to her presence on the court and her importance to the team, being the first player in program history to win the Nan Copp Award as women’s U Sports player of the year in 2017. This year she averaged 25.5 points a game and she became McMaster’s all-time leading scorer with 1,719 points, which gives a better idea of her prowess. This is among the awards she gathered in addition to the four time All-Star and an All-Rookie team nod in the OUA.
After accepting a contract to play professional basketball in the Netherlands, Boiago played ten games for Holland’s Royal Eagles and averaged a staggering 16 points per game. She eventually returned to the Marauders as an assistant coach. She has given to the team on and off the court, but also for her country. She played five games on Team Canada in the 2018 CommonWealth Games, where they lost in the bronze medal game to New Zealand and finished fourth in the tournament overall.
The third player which led the Marauders in recent history is Chiarra Rocca. Now inducted into the McMaster Athletics Hall of Fame, she played from 2004-2008 while racking in a mountain of achievements. She led the team to win two OUA championships in 2007 and 2008 and a CIS bronze in 2008, secured in part by her defensive prowess and soft touch shot. She was an all-star from the moment she dressed up in maroon and grey, as she made the OUA All-Star team in her first season as well as the CIS All-Rookie-team and was also lauded by the province, earning the OUA rookie of the year award. Later in her career, she made the OUA all-star team three more times, making her an OUA all-star in every season she played. As mentioned, she was quite the defensive force. This won her the OUA and CIS defensive player of the year in 2006 along with the team MVP. When she graduated she was the all-time leader for rebounds in the OUA at 760 total, a title which she still holds today.
As we look back at 100 years of women’s basketball we also look back at the greatness that has walked the halls of DBAC and occupied Burridge gym. The women’s basketball team has had many prominent players dress in maroon and grey and there are probably many more to come. Here’s to appreciating the women in sports who fight for equality and recognition. McMaster has had their fair share and all of them should get the recognition they deserve.
With International Women’s Day just behind us, several Hamilton organizations are taking the time to show their appreciation for the women in our community. One such organization is Never Gonna Stop, a youth initiative that is hosting Empower Me: A Women’s Appreciation Brunch on March 16 at the Hamilton Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.
In addition to brunch, the event will feature games, raffle prizes, a variety of visual and performing artists and speakers. The event is open to all ages and genders. It was important for the organizers that this communal appreciation of women be done by not just other women.
“[I]t's really important to have men to support women in our community. Men's voices are heard a lot more than just women’s [so] we're trying to get men to align with women… [W]hen we hear [about] domestic violence, usually it's men doing violence towards women, so… that's what I mean when I say we try to align men with women to support each other,” explained NGS member Gonca Aydin.
The brunch, which is now sold out, is free of cost. Making it free allowed the event to be accessible to everyone in the community. Reducing financial barriers is important for this organization, which is catered towards helping low-income youth.
NGS was created by David Lingisi, Saifon Diallo and Joshua Kiena, all of whom come from low-income backgrounds. They wanted to create an initiative that would provide physical and mental health-related activities for youth from the ages of 13 to 29.
“[W]e've seen how there's a lot of older people… that have talent basically wasted because they didn't have an opportunity… [A]s the younger generation, we basically want to help [youth] out to make their dreams come true. I want everyone to provide a platform for them, to give them an opportunity to… go to the league, allow them to become doctors and [whatever] they want to do,” said Lingisi.
Lingisi was born with sickle cell anemia and has spent his life in and out of the hospital while still working towards his dream of being a music producer. Each of the co-founders have underwent personal challenges, which fuel their desire to help others overcome obstacles. Growing up in immigrant families, they all faced culture shock in addition to financial barriers.
The initiative hopes to provide the support for low-income youth that they feel is missing in Hamilton. They want to support the artistic, athletic and academic talent of today’s youth by providing them with opportunities and the knowledge to succeed.
Since the creation of the initiative last summer, NGS has hosted a youth panel, a holiday food drive, an All-Star weekend basketball tournament and a talent and fashion show for Black History Month among other events. They are continuously planning new events in partnership with other organizations in the city.
They took on the Women’s Appreciation Brunch because it fits within their goal of creating community. NGS is proud to call themselves inclusive to all genders, races, religions or economic statuses. Setting aside space and time to celebrate women and promote the resources that women can access within the city fits within that mandate.
Most importantly, the Women’s Appreciation Brunch delivers the message of persistence directly to Hamilton’s women. They named the event Empower Me because they want women of all ages to know that they can accomplish any goal that they set out to reach.
“[K]eep following your dreams, whatever it is, don't ever stop, don't let anything stop you. You are able to make it no matter what you're going through, it doesn't matter the situation, just keep going as long as you get one more day… I just want to [say] that everybody's a part of NGS. I'm NGS, you're NGS, anybody going through anything but still fighting is NGS,” said Lingisi.
That is why they named themselves Never Gonna Stop. More than a name, it is a movement and source of encouragement for those involved. Knowing how hard life can be, NGS is focused on motivating others to work hard in order to achieve their wildest dreams.
The Women’s Adventure Film Tour first premiered to a sold-out crowd in Sydney, Australia in May 2017. Since then, the film tour has left its home country and toured across Asia, Europe and North America. This spring, it is coming to Eastern Canada with a stop at Hamilton’s historic Playhouse Cinema on March 21.
The tour celebrates the extraordinary adventures of women by putting on a selection of short films. It is the result of a partnership between Australian company Adventure Film Tours and women-centred outdoors community She Went Wild. The Hamilton screening is open to all and will be two hours long with a short intermission. There will be also be raffle and door prizes offered.
Eastern Canada tour organizer, Benoit Brunet-Poirier got involved with the tour when he met Adventure Film Tours owner Toby Ryston-Pratt on a trip to Australia last year. At the time, Ryston-Pratt had been thinking about expanding to Canada. Brunet-Poirier discussed the opportunity with his partner Jamie Stewart and the two decided to take on the challenge of bringing the film tour home.
Adventure is important for the couple, who met while rock-climbing. The tour also combines their respective industries as Brunet-Poirier works in the entertainment industry and Stewart works for an outdoors retailer.
By showing women-centred films, the tour is helping break down barriers in the outdoors industry. Brunet-Poirier noted that women are historically thought of as individuals to be protected and this series of short films challenges that notion.
“So I really like the idea of having a woman-focused film tour just because… although women are starting to be represented more in adventure stores and in the media and in film, I do think that there still is a misrepresentation or underrepresentation of women. And so this film tour is just putting… the spotlight on women,” Stewart said.
The couple did their first screening for the film tour in Ottawa last fall. They are taking the feedback from that event on the road by increasing the number of films in order to show a few shorter ones and playing well-received flicks.
One such film, titled Finding the Line, follows professional skiers and sisters Anna and Nat Segal across Canada, France and the United States. While the film’s humour and thrilling 80 degree slopes make it an exciting watch, it is one of Stewart’s personal favourites because of its narratives of overcoming fear and sisterly bonding. It is these narratives that Stewart and Brunet-Poirier feel will resonate with audiences.
“We let go of some films that were focused on physical achievement to give room to films that are focused on the psychological or social achievement of other women. So there are films about BASE jumping and extreme sports, but there are also films that are more accessible,” said Brunet-Poirier.
In this way, the films should provide something that appeals to everyone, regardless of activity level or interest in extreme sports. The couple hopes that the pictures inspire audiences of all ages to attempt new things or take on a challenge that frightens them.
Stewart and Brunet-Poirier also focused on ensuring that the films showcases diversity. From a film about an older, blind woman learning to swim for the first time to another about the challenges a lesbian couple faces in a mountain biking community when they open a pizza shop, the films capture a range of identities.
The films were selected from Adventure Films Tours’ global database. While the couple chose some films based in North America in order to be more local, their priority on diversity led them to select films from around the world.
“I am a Chinese woman here in Canada and… we really wanted to showcase diversity and acceptance of everyone… [T]hat's the root of our cause. [We] really try to reach as many people as we can and showing representation in adventure sports of all types of people,” said Stewart.
By centring the diversity of women, Women’s Adventure Film Tour pushes back against the perception of the outdoors community as male-dominated or predominantly white. The films aim to be a comprehensive show of the physical and mental strength of women.
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When Rachel Woock was in her first year at McMaster, she immediately fell for Matt Quiring. The tall blonde basketball player was on her mind for quite some time but like most men, Quiring was too oblivious to notice. Putting her feelings aside, the two remained friends for a while until a falling out stopped them from speaking to each other for a month. It was not until the men’s volleyball North American Challenge last year that they broke their silence and put aside their differences. A month later the two started dating and the pair has been inseparable ever since. Part of what makes them work as a couple is being student-athletes. Being able to understand where the other is coming from because they both play a sport where such a strong team component has been key in their relationship. Another thing that has kept them together is their faith. As Christians, figuring out that they were on the same level spiritually has been really encouraging for the couple. When asked what advice they would give other student-athletes in relationships, they encourage them to be vulnerable. Frustrated after a loss? Let the other know, so it does not affect your relationship. Accepting who the other is but also being willing to change as they grow, is all part of what makes this couple work.
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Starting off as friends in their first year, Steph Roberts and Anthony Bontorin would always see each other on residence, at the gym and around campus. It was during the summer of second year when the two both stayed in Hamilton that they began to hang out more seriously and eventually became official. The two bonded over their sports and being able to understand each other's schedules as student-athletes. Although Bontorin suffered from an injury that has prevented him from playing, he is still a huge part of the men’s football team and is often just as busy as Roberts. Despite their schedules, the two make time for each other and support one another. Roberts even credits Bontorin’s role in supporting her during her breakout year a big part of her success. Being with someone who knows exactly what being a student-athlete entails is something the couple cherishes. With sports being a year-long and time-consuming commitment, both Bontorin and Roberts are happy they have found each other in the process.
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The first time Jay Anyimadu and Krystal Henry-Mathieu met each other, they were both Marauders receiving treatment after getting injured playing their sport. They saw each other for three weeks while at treatment, but that was all. Fast-forward to last year, when Henry-Mathieu replied to Anyimadu’s Instagram story, he kept the conversation going and they soon realized how much they had in common. The two no longer played for the school, as Henry-Mathieu had a career-ending injury and Anyimadu had moved on the Junior Canadian Football League, but their student-athlete mindset remained the same. Although she is retired, Henry-Mathieu was one of the few people who he could relate to. This past fall during his first season with the Junior CFL, Anyimadu was named Defensive All-Canadian and his team, the Hamilton Hurricanes, were named the Ontario champions. Through it all, Henry-Mathieu was right by his side cheering him on, even when it was cold, because not only does she love the sport, but the things that make him happy, make her happy.
After a slow start to the season, the women’s volleyball team is rolling and looking to lock up a spot in the playoffs. Their slow start can be attributed to the major shift in the roster, with many upper-year players graduating, but the newer players are filling in admirably and the roster is loaded with potential.
They’ve won four out of their last five games, which is in large part due to a few players stepping up their play. Most notably, right side Jessie Nairn’s recent play earned her the Pita Pit Athlete of the Week for leading the team in points and kills over their weekend trip to Thunder Bay.
Stuffing the stat sheet in all facets of the game, Nairn’s 13 kills in the team’s Jan. 27 win over Lakehead University is a perfect example of what she brings to the rotation.
The Marauders are back on track as they are riding a string of good games, with their only loss in the past five games coming from the undefeated and first in the division University of Waterloo Warriors.
“Even though we lost against Waterloo, we played a really good game against them,” Nairn said. “And if we play the way we did, we can definitely beat, if not at least play a really good game against, all of the teams coming up in the next couple of weeks.”
Nairn says the team is still in the process of finding its identity after losing so many of its veteran players. However, their development over the course of the season thus far is why they’ve been on a hot streak lately, which should easily transfer to next season.
“After losing a really big graduating class last year, I’d say that our skills aren’t really spread out yet and we haven’t found out what our strengths are, so we’re slowly starting to get to that point,” Nairn said. “Although we’re a really big blocking team and we’re definitely one of the best blocking teams in the league, we’re definitely a big offensive team. Where we struggle is starting the offence, so passing and stuff like that, but when we have that done, it’s when we’re at our best.”.
It’s been a tough transition going from losing only five regular season games over the past two seasons to having lost six already this season, but Nairn is confident the team can close out the season successfully.
The roster is filled with talent and potential but is lacking experience. With that being said, it hasn’t stopped the team from remaining in playoff contention despite the roster’s youthfulness.
“In the past years, we’ve only lost two or three games. So for my first two years, it was a big deal losing,” Nairn said on the team’s recent struggles. “Learning to lose, and then learning to learn from that, knowing that it’s going to be ok and that we are good enough to win and win the whole league — we just need to have the mentality to get there because we don’t know how to deal with losing yet, but we're getting there.”
Nairn believes the team still has the capability of going far in the postseason and they still have their sights set on a trip to nationals.
“Our goal is definitely still to win, even though our path to get there is looking a little rocky,” Nairn said. “We’ve played really good games against some of the teams that are definitely going to be in the final four this year. For instance, our very first game this season where we were nowhere near as good as we are now, we went to five sets with [the University of] Toronto and they’re looking like a team that will definitely be in the final four.”
The women’s volleyball team has had it’s fair share of struggles so far this season but they are a bright young team, with a roster full of talented players and greatness on the horizon.
The McMaster swimming team will be heading to the University of British Columbia for the U Sports Swimming Championships on Thursday, Feb. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 23. After competing at the Ontario University Athletic Championships this past weekend, the women’s team finished with 545 points as a group, beating out Western University for second place for the first time since 2007. A large part of the team’s success is thanks to Isabelle Lei’s silver medal in the 200m individual medley and bronze in the 400m freestyle. Lei also helped win three medals in team relays. On the men’s side, Mitch Muizelaar took home the team’s only gold medal, repeating as OUA champion in the 1500m freestyle. The qualified Marauders will be competing during nationals this weekend.
The McMaster wrestling team will be heading to Calgary for the U Sports Wrestling Championships, hosted by the University of Calgary on Feb. 22-23, 2019. The Marauders, who medaled during the OUA championships, will be attending the national competition. On the men’s side, Ameen Aghamirian, who was previously named U Sports Athlete of the Week, was named the OUA's Most Outstanding Male Wrestler, and first-year Trystan Kato took home the men's Rookie of the Year award. While for the women, Ligaya Stinellis and Joelle Vanderslagt each took home a silver medal.
The cross-country team will take their talents indoors this reading week for the OUA Track and Field Championships, which will take place at the Toronto Track & Field Centre on Feb. 22-23. The team completed their outdoor season with great success, and have been competing in indoor meets ever since in preparation for these championships. The medalists of the meet will move on to compete at the national level for the U Sports Championships at the University of Manitoba on March 7-9.
By: Graham West
Hard work, toughness and focus are the key elements that have led to Hilary Hanaka’s outstanding success at the university level. After recently achieving the milestone of 1000 career points, Hanaka is looking forward to a season filled with promise.
Hitting 1000 career points is a huge career landmark and it meant a lot to Hanaka, although she stressed the importance the team has had in contributing to her being able to achieve it.
“It’s a pretty big milestone to hit and it means a lot to hit that point,” Hanaka said. “But, of course it’s a team sport overall, so I think I’m more excited to figure out where our team will end up this season… it's obviously nice to hit that point, but I obviously wouldn’t have gotten to this point without the help of my teammates and my coach.”
It has not always been easy on the path to greatness for Hanaka as there have been challenges with balancing academics and being a varsity athlete.
“There are positives and negatives. Coming into first year, that was when the big adjustment hit,” Hanaka said. “Obviously, it’s a much bigger time commitment being on a varsity team and having classes every single day, practices every day and you’re away on weekends and just making sure you find the right balance to do everything.”
“With that being said, you’re surrounded by an incredible group of girls, coaching staffs,” Hanaka added. “We have so much support through the athletic department, so whenever things were going downhill, you always had someone to pick you back up.”
Hanaka’s experience with the difficulties athletes can face and her expertise on the court are some of the things that make her a great leader. Being there for her teammates on and off the court is instrumental to the success of the team and something that is incredibly important to her as well.
“Off the court is just as important as on the court when it comes to varsity sports,” Hanaka said.
“Being a veteran player, I’ve been around for five years so I’ve been through most of the things that bring you down and that go on. So just being able to be there for the girls is something that I really strive to do.”
“Just knowing that I’ve been in the position of a first-year, second-year, third-year and even a fourth-year player and things aren't always fun and games there’s always going to be those lows,” Hanaka added. "Being able to make sure the girls are aware that I’m always there for them, whether it’s something basketball-related, life-related, school-related, whatever it might be, that just because I’m a leader on the court, doesn’t mean I can’t be the leader off the court. ”
Whenever Hanaka’s career as a player ends, it will most certainly not be the end to her basketball career. When you have a particularly knowledgeable player who is a natural leader, coaching is always on the horizon. It is something Hanaka is interested in, and given her success as a player, seems very possible.
“I would love to be a coach. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by basketball and it’s been a huge part of my life,” Hanaka said. “Being a player has been incredible, but I think I’m kinda ready to hang up the shoes and move forward. Hopefully down the road, coaching is something that I’ll be put into.”
Always one of the first people in the gym, Hanaka has had an outstanding career so far in the maroon and grey and looks to only improve. The team is one to watch as they continue to play their way to a return to nationals, with their eyes clearly set on taking home gold.
Ameen Aghamirian, Men’s Wrestling
This weekend, the McMaster wrestling team attended the Ontario University Athletics Wrestling Championships and, for the fourth year in a row, the men took home silver overall. Aghamirian’s dominance on the mats earned him national recognition, as he was U Sports Male Athlete of the Week.
Congratulations to Ameen Aghamirian, our U SPORTS Male Athlete of the Week! 🤼♂️
Félicitations à Ameen Aghamirian, l'athlète de la semaine masculin de U SPORTS! 🤼♂️
— U SPORTS (@USPORTSca) February 6, 2019
Aghamirian helped his team by winning gold in the 82 kg weight class. He defeated the Lakehead University Voyageurs’ Brody Evans and the York University Lions’ Jasman Gill due to technical superiority, and beat the University of Guelph Gryphons’ Simon Chaves 6-1.
This victory took him to the divisional final where he defeated the Western University Mustangs’ Brandon Amboto by tiebreaker after a 5-5 match due to a higher number of takedowns. His efforts from the weekend led him to be named McMaster’s Pita Pit Athlete of the Week. Next up, Aghamirian and the Marauders prepare for the U Sports championships on Feb. 22-23.
Stinellis made Marauders history after taking home the OUA Rookie of the Year earlier this season. The Pita Pit Athlete of the Week is the first female wrestler to win the award since it began in 2008. Stinellis took the 48kg weight class by storm, pinning all three of her opponents: Voyageurs’ Megan Smith, Lions’ Gurleen Tak and former medalist, Western’s Christine Grafe. In the finals, she, unfortunately, was pinned by the Gryphons’ vet Natassya Lu, and walked away with a silver medal. Her efforts helped the Marauders place fifth overall and secured her spot at the U Sports Wrestling Championships.
This weekend, the men’s volleyball team’s victory had two co-stars leading it. The duo helped lead the Marauders to a 3-1 defeat over the University of Waterloo Warriors on the road. Both Richards and Passalent finished the game with 16 kills, with Richards adding four aces and one block assist to the stat sheet, and Passalet adding two aces and two total blocks. The defeat bumped the men up to fourth place nationally, improving to a 10-2 OUA regular season record. Up next, the team will host the Nipissing University Lakers and the Lions for their final home matches of the regular season. The Saturday, Feb. 9, will be a special Pride celebration, followed by a showdown with York the next day.
Gates was once again an on-the-court leader this weekend in Mac’s 65-41 defeat over the Western Mustangs. With a game-high 19 points and 8 rebounds, putting her just two shy of a double-double. The 2018 OUA Rookie of the Year has been performing extremely well this season and is on track to being named an OUA all-star. The victory helped the team move up to third place in the U Sports national rankings, and first place in the OUA West, clinching a playoff berth. Gates and the Marauders will head to Algoma University this weekend to take on the Thunderbirds.
By: Natalie Clark
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton. To kick off celebrations, the WAAH is featuring their annual juried exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The Celebrations! exhibit features art from current and past members of the WAAH.
The WAAH was created in 1894 by a group of women who feared that cultural and artistic pursuits would be lost in Hamilton’s booming industrial growth. The ambitions of the organization at the time were simple.
WAAH wanted to create a general interest in art, establish art scholarships, hold lectures and seminars, hold exhibitions of paintings, designs and sculptures and develop art and handicrafts in Canada.
125 years later, these ambitions still hold true, though there have also been some changes.
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Zorica Silverthorne, WAAH exhibitions chair and vice president, notes that technology and digital media have contributed to the recent changes made to the organization.
“Our website hosts online exhibitions featuring artist members, there is an online gallery for our members to exhibit their works and we are even digitally selecting some of our exhibitions,” mentions Silverthorne.
Meanwhile, old traditions are also being kept alive. From the tireless efforts of the founding women of WAAH to the current executive board have ensured that an annual juried exhibition has taken place every year since the organization’s inception.
For the past seventy-two years, the exhibition has made the AGH it’s home. Long before that, the organization played a crucial role in establishing the AGH itself. Needless to say, WAAH has a lot to celebrate.
“Our exhibition statement is ‘it is in our nature to celebrate’… whether with a large group of people, small intimate gathering or solitude… ‘Celebrations!’ is open to interpretation,” said Silverthorne.
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Some of the works of past WAAH members are currently on display in the gallery’s permanent collection. Silverthorne notes that this is an important aspect worth celebrating.
“Even if the woman is no longer with us physically, her work and what she’s contributed should not be forgotten… it’s a chance to bring new life and new exposure to her legacy and not to mention looking to our past and learning from it is always an advantage,” said Silverthorne.
Silverthorne gives special mention to various different women presented in the exhibit but mentions that it’s difficult to mention only a few given the many talented artists that are involved in the WAAH.
“Some artists to celebrate are Maria Sarkany who had a coin design chosen by the Canadian Mint, well-known local artists Sylvia Simpson, Claudette Losier and our award winners Jodi Kitto-Ward, Jodie Hart and Susan Outlaw,” said Silverthorne.
Kitto-Ward, voted “Best in Show” for the exhibit, joined the WAAH in 2009. She currently has two of her pieces featured in the exhibit; “Celebration” and “In the Forest (The Bruce Trail 50th Anniversary)”. Kitto-Ward has a background in accounting and was employed at an accounting firm before her beginning her career as an artist.
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“I always had a love for art and enjoyed drawing and visiting art galleries as a child, but I was very self-critical and didn’t think I had what it took to pursue art on a professional level,” explained Kitto-Ward.
Later in her life, Kitto-Ward decided she wanted to pursue what made her happy; art. As she began taking courses at Sheridan College, she finally started to feel more confident in her work as an artist. Kitto-Ward now balances art, accounting and being a proud mom.
“I have experienced the support and opportunities provided by the WAAH first hand and I am proud to be a member and part of this historical and celebratory exhibition,” said Kitto-Ward.
“It’s important for me to be included in this exhibition… because of what this organization has achieved with women coming together for a common goal of supporting the arts, bringing so much to this city and beyond.”
The Women’s Art Association of Hamilton 125th Anniversary Exhibition: Celebrations! Is currently on display at the Jean & Ross Fischer gallery at the AGH until March 3, 2019. Admission is free and more information on the exhibit, and future WAAH shows, exhibitions and events can be found at www.waah.ca.
May 31 – Women’s lacrosse
Brandan Sweeney, who served as an assistant coach with the McMaster men’s lacrosse team since 2011, was named the head coach of the women’s lacrosse team.
He formerly served as the head coach of Queen’s team starting in 2004 while completing his master’s degree. Winning the OUA Coach of the Year award in 2005, the first Gaels coach to win the honour, his success continued for multiple years there and for a season with the University of Washington.
After obtaining his PhD from Queen’s in 2010, he returned to McMaster in 2011.
“It’s been a decade since my last head coaching post at the OUA level, and I’m looking forward to the unique challenge that it brings,” said Sweeney.
His priority and mindset seems to be centered on creating a positive student-athlete environment for his team to succeed in no matter what success might mean to them.
“For some, it’s winning, and winning is ideal. But why do many people play? They play for the team-building and to learn and develop, and for many, that’s part of their learning alongside their studies. We want to build a successful program where we learn how to be competitive and how to work hard, but also how to work as a team and develop those relationships and leadership capabilities.”
He will also serve as the head coach of the Hamilton Bengals U19 girls field program.
June 12 – Men’s volleyball
The men’s volleyball team, defending OUA champions, added two new names to their staff. The first is Ian Eibbitt, who has served twice as the head coach of the Team Ontario U18 program and returns to the provincial staff in 2017 for the Canada Games. The second is Aytac Kilic, former Turkish national team player, who has nearly two decades of experience as a player and a coach.
“We continue to provide tremendous resources to help develop our student-athletes and help them reach their potential,” said head coach Dave Preston.
June 19 – Women’s basketball
It was announced that the women’s basketball team would be participating in the Buddha Light International Association Cup tournament from July 25 to 30 at the Kaoshiung Arena in Taiwan.
Organized by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, the tournament features eight women’s teams and eight men’s teams with representatives from the USA, Australia, France, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and China.
“Being exposed to very different styles of play from all the different countries will be exciting. I believe that as much as they will gain from the on-court experience, our team will also gain so much from the trip itself and being exposed to a different culture,” said head coach Theresa Burns.
This comes one year after the men’s basketball team participated in the men’s tournament there and achieved first place.
June 23 – Nike
Glen Grunwald, the Director of Athletics and Recreation, announced a new partnership agreement for McMaster athletics with Nike. This comes after the five year exclusivity deal signed in 2012 that made McMaster the first Nike school in Canada. Local distributor T. Litzen Sports in Dundas will continue to be the main servicer of the agreement.
“It is crucial that we have the support of great corporate partners, and it doesn’t get much bigger than Nike. We have done some amazing things over the life of this partnership, and I am confident even more is on the horizon,” said Grunwald.
In addition, T. Litzen Sports is donating a new scoreboard with video capability for the Burridge Gymnasium. It will be installed in the fall in time for the start of the 2017-18 varsity sports season.
June 27 – Men’s volleyball
It was announced that the men’s volleyball team would welcome the Ohio State Buckeyes team for two matches on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. The last time they played was in Burridge Gym on Dec. 30, 2016 where the Marauders won the single match 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 32-30).
Ohio State has won the last two NCAA national championships, and the Marauders have won the last five OUA titles. Since McMaster’s first trip to Columbus in 2014, they have won three of the five matches played.
“I can’t think of a better way to help prepare ourselves to compete for a National Championship in our own gym next March,” said head coach Dave Preston.
Special thanks to Fraser Caldwell, Sports Information Director, Bill Malley, Media Coordinator, and the rest of the staff at the Department of Athletics and Recreation for the information and quotes for all of the dates featured.