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British Columbia Thunderbirds

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UBC logo

OverviewEdit

"Thunderbirds" is the name of the sports teams of the University of British Columbia (UBC), which is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Their home arena is the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, one of the venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics. They are members of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

UBC started play in the senior and intermediate levels of the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association. In fact, they won the 1921 Savage Cup for the provincial senior title.

UBC did not play top tier university hockey until they joined the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) in 1961-62. In 1962-63 the conference was re-named the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WIAA). When the WIAA split in two following the 1971-72 season, the University of British Columbia became a founding member of the CWUAA, along with the University of Saskatchewan, University of Victoria, University of Calgary, and University of Alberta. Victoria has since departed and a GPAC merger and new programs have added new CWUAA opponents at the University of Manitoba, the University of Regina, University of Lethbridge, and Mount Royal University.

In addition, from 1950 to 1968, the Alberta Golden Bears and UBC Thunderbirds played an annual series for the Hamber Trophy. The two teams were in the same conference for five of those seasons.

UBC also represented British Columbia in the 1967 Canada Winter Games Hockey Tournament. They received a silver medal after losing the championship game to the Alberta Golden Bears, 4-1.

Senior SeasonsEdit

As with the other major western universities, UBC competed in local senior competition in their pre-university days. They competed in the Vancouver City Senior League (VCSL) in at least 1920-21. Results from BC hockey in the early days are sketchy. Here are the results available:

1920-21 VCSL:

  • After finishing in 3rd place in the 4 team league UBC caught fire in the playoffs, winning sudden-death quarter-final and semi-final games before defeating the renowned Vancouver Towers 6-5 on aggregate to take the title. There are no other listings for UBC competing in the VCSL in any other season, though records are missing for several seasons. See: List of VCSL Seasons

1920-21 British Columbia Senior Playoffs:

  • After losing the opener to the Victoria Senators 3-2, UBC took game 2 by a 5-3 score. This gave UBC the series 7-6 on aggregate and the provincial title. Unfortunately for them, they won the title too late to challenge for the Allan Cup. Alberta had the same problem, and Saskatchewan's league was under suspension. That left the Intercollegiate winner (who for 3 seasons in the early 20s was granted a berth), the University of Saskatchewan, and the Manitoba and Thunder Bay champions (Brandon and Port Arthur) to compete for the 1920-21 Western Canada Allan Cup Playoffs. So had UBC competed they likely would have faced the University of Saskatchewan in a playoff series for the first time. Also, the University of Alberta came very close to winning the 1920-21 Alberta Senior Playoffs. They won the Edmonton league and then lost the final to Calgary.

1921-22 British Columbia Intermediate Playoffs:

  • Unfortunately, this is the only season for which annual standings are available for the Vancouver Intermediate League. UBC placed second and lost the semi-final to the Vancouver Nationals.

1945-46 British Columbia Intermediate Playoffs:

  • UBC played in and won the New Westminster Industrial League. Then, in the provincial playoffs,UBC lost a semi-final series to New Westminster 2 games to 1.

More information:

University SeasonsEdit

UBC entered the old WCIAU in the 1961-62 season. They played for three seasons before departing for two, citing travel costs. The squad returned in 1966-67 and remain there today.

The team has won two WIAA conference titles, in 1963 and 1971. They qualified for the University Cup in those two seasons, and in 1977. They lost the 1977 CWUAA final to Alberta, who were slated to host the University Cup that year.

1963 was the first season where the CIAU (forerunner of the CIS) held a national hockey championship. The `Birds went 8-1-1 in the regular season. At the U-Cup they beat Sherbrooke 6-2 in the semi-finals before losing the final to McMaster 3-2.

In 1971 the `Birds placed second to Manitoba in the regular season. However, they defeated Calgary in the semi-finals and Manitoba in the final to return to the U-Cup. In a five-team tournament, they lost 3-2 to Toronto, beat Loyola 6-4, then lost the third place game 7-4 to Laurentian.

By 1977 the west was split into the CWUAA and the GPAC. UBC placed second in the CWUAA and then lost to Alberta in the final. In the U-Cup they lost a 2-game semi-final series to Toronto 11-10 on aggregate.

As the 70s became the 80s the Thunderbirds never had a return to glory. They lost the 1978 final to Alberta and then finished either 3rd or 4th in the 4-team era of the CWUAA. Once the CWUAA merged with the GPAC, UBC never saw the playoffs until the field was expanded to 6 teams.

UBC's 4th place finish in 2014-15 was their first finish in the top four seeds since 1989-90, when they placed 3rd. In between they always placed 5th or lower. Also in that period, they won three playoff series, all in the quarter-final (or division semi-final) round. In 2007 and 2009 they beat Lethbridge, and in 2014 they beat Saskatchewan. In all three series they were the lower seed. The 2014 win over Saskatchewan was their first series win over a "Big Four" team since they beat Manitoba in the 1971 WIAA final. Their 2015 series win over Manitoba was their first home playoff series since the 1971 championship season.

In 2013-14 the program was put in doubt by UBC administration. However, efforts of the Vancouver Canucks and WHL owners appear to have saved the program, for the immediate future at least.

Season-by-Season Records TableEdit

1916-17 to 1960-61: Blended University and Amateur EraEdit

Year/Comp. GP W L T F A Pts Placing
1917 VCSL 1 0 1 0 3 4 0w/d
1917-18  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1918-19  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1919-20  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1921 VCSL 6 2 4 01920 43rd of 4
1921 Playoffs 4 3 0 112 9 7won league
1921 Provincials2 1 1 0 7 6 2won province
1922 VIL6 3 3 01814 63rd
1922 Playoffs1 0 1 0 0 2 0semi-finals
1923 to 1945  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1946 Provincials3 1 2 0 720 2semi-finals
1946-47  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1947-48  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1948-49  ? ? ? ? ? ? ?n/a
1950 Hamber 4 3 1 01711 6won series
1951 Hamber 2 0 1 1 5 7 1lost series
1952 Hamber 2 0 1 1 711 1lost series
1953 Hamber 2 0 2 0 514 0lost series
1954 Hamber 2 0 2 0 416 0lost series
1955 Hamber 2 0 2 0 7 9 0lost series
1956 Hamber 2 1 1 0 7 8 2lost series
1957 Hamber 2 0 2 0 712 0lost series
1958 Hamber 2 0 2 0 319 0lost series
1959 Hamber 2 0 2 0 617 0lost series
1960 Hamber 2 0 2 0 615 0lost series
1961 Hamber 2 0 2 0 623 0lost series

1961-62 to 1971-72: WCIAU/WIAA EraEdit

Year/Comp. GP W L T F A Pts Placing
1962 Hamber 2 0 2 0 613 0lost series∞
1962 WCIAU 8 0 8 01861 03rd
1963 Hamber 2 1 0 1 5 3 3won series∞
1963 WIAA 10 8 1 14220171st ∆
1963 U-Cup2 1 1 0 8 5 2lost final
1964 Hamber 2 0 2 0 211 0lost series∞
1964 WIAA 12 6 6 05148122nd
1965 Hamber 2 1 1 0 816 2lost series
1966 Hamber 2 0 2 0 410 0lost series
1967 Hamber 3 0 3 0 513 0lost series∞
1967 WIAA 15 6 9 06363124th
1967 CWG642038168silver
1968 Hamber 2 0 2 0 211 0lost series∞
1968 WIAA 16 7 9 06163144th
1969 WIAA 201010 0 11095204th
1970 WIAA 14 8 6 09159164th
1970 Playoffs2 0 2 0 715 0semi-finals
1971 WIAA 2015 5 0 13269302nd
1971 Playoffs5 4 1 03118 8champion ∆
1971 U-Cup3 1 2 01214 24th
1972 WIAA 2014 6 0 1297328W 3rd

1972-73 to 1984-85: CWUAA/GPAC Split Conferences EraEdit

Year/Comp. GP W L T F A Pts Placing
1973 CWUAA2416 8 0 14885323rd
1973 Asia Tour10 9 1 0731618exhibition
1974 CWUAA18 9 9 0 - -183rd
1975 CWUAA241211 19497242nd
1975 Playoffs3 1 2 0 610 2finalist
1976 CWUAA241212 09186243rd
1977 CWUAA241410 0 11085282nd ∆
1977 U-Cup2 1 1 01011 2semi-finals
1978 CWUAA241410 0 12589282nd
1978 Playoffs3 1 2 0 514 2finalist
1979 CWUAA24 717 082 129143rd
1980 CWUAA291217 0137 148244th
1981 CWUAA24 519 091 145104th
1982 CWUAA24 618 067 122124th
1983 CWUAA24 915 088 166184th
1984 CWUAA241113 096 111223rd
1985 CWUAA241212 0 112 108243rd

1985-86 to present: CWUAA Unified EraEdit

Year/Comp. GP W L T F A Pts Placing
1986 CWUAA281216 0 113 144246th
1987 CWUAA28 917 2 111 139245th
1987 Playoffs2 0 2 0 3 9 0semi-finals
1988 CWUAA281016 2 117 147225th
1989 CWUAA281314 1 135 118275th
1990 CWUAA281611 1 119 102273rd
1990 Playoffs2 0 2 0 412 0semi-finals
1991 CWUAA28 815 5 112 140216th
1992 CWUAA281114 3 110 137257th
1993 CWUAA28 719 297 128167th
1994 CWUAA28 717 4 101 150186th
1995 CWUAA281013 5 103 120256th
1996 CWUAA28 917 298 13020M 4th
1997 CWUAA26 716 381 10517M 4th
1998 CWUAA28 915 4779422M 3rd
1998 Playoffs3 1 2 0 913 2quarter-finals
1999 CWUAA28 718 384 10217M 4th
2000 CWUAA28 519 469 12214M 4th
2001 CWUAA28 619 374 10815M 4th
2002 CWUAA28 519 467 11114M 4th
2003 CWUAA28 523 059 12510M 4th
2004 CWUAA28 719 264 10716M 3rd
2004 Playoffs3 1 2 0 711 2quarter-finals
2005 CWUAA28 517 675 10716M 3rd
2005 Playoffs2 0 2 0 2 9 0quarter-finals
2006 CWUAA281215 179 10025M 3rd
2006 Playoffs3 1 2 0 912 2quarter-finals
Year/Comp.GPWLOLFAPtsPlacing
2007 CWUAA281413 1768829M 3rd
2007 Playoffs5 2 3 01720 4semi-finals
2008 CWUAA281216 08692246th
2008 Playoffs2 0 2 0 210 0quarter-finals
2009 CWUAA281114 35985256th
2009 Playoffs5 2 3 01620 4semi-finals
2010 CWUAA28 819 167 117177th
2010 Playoffs2 0 2 0 210 0quarter-finals
2011 CWUAA281112 576 101276th
2012 CWUAA281212 47788285th
2013 CWUAA281411 38484315th
2013 Playoffs3 1 2 0 6 9 2quarter-finals
2014 CWUAA281115 289 101246th
2014 Playoffs5 2 3 01720 4semi-finals
2015 CWUAA281310 57975314th
2015 Playoffs5 2 3 01513 4semi-finals
2016 CWUAA281113 47190266th
2016 Playoffs2 0 2 0 410 0quarter-finals
  • qualified for Unversity Cup in 1963 and 1971 as conference champion and in 1977 as runner-up to the host
  • indicates Hamber Trophy played as part of regular season

Notes:

  • The WIAA played a two division format in 1971-72: West (W) and East (E).
  • The GPAC merged into the CWUAA in 1985-86.
  • The CWUAA played a two division format from 1996-97 to 2006-07: Mountain (M) and Great Plains (GP).

ChampionshipsEdit

SENIOR

  • VCSL - 1921
  • Savage Cup - 1921

UNIVERSITY

  • WIAA - 1963, 1971

Hamber TrophyEdit

From 1949-50 to 1967-68, the Alberta Golden Bears and the UBC Thunderbirds played an annual series for the Hamber Trophy. From 1961-62 onwards, UBC was often in the WCIAU or the WIAA and in those seasons the teams' conference games counted towards this Trophy.

International GamesEdit

1973 Tour to China and JapanEdit

Dec 7      @ Beijing	5-0 China
Dec 9	   @ Beijing	7-0 China
Dec 13	   @ Harbin	9-2 Harbin
Dec 14	   @ Harbin    14-1 Chichihar
Dec 15	   @ Harbin	5-1 Huilunkiang
Dec 19	   @ Changchun	8-1 Kirin
Dec 20	   @ Kirin	8-0 Kirin
Dec 26	   @ Tokyo	8-2 Japanese College All Stars
Dec 27	   @ Tokyo	5-4 Kokuidokukaukau 
Dec 28	   @ Tokyo	4-5 Seibu Railway

2010 Pre-OlympicEdit

Feb 10    Norway Olympic Team 4 UBC 1 Game Story

PhotosEdit

20-21UBC

1921 UBC (VCSL)

21-22UBC

1922 UBC (VIL)

Savage20Cup

Savage Cup (BC senior champions)

Ubc-old-120x94

UBC old logo

61-62UBC

1961-62 UBC

67-68UBC

1968 UBC

68-69UBC

1969 UBC

85-86UBC

1986 UBC

89-80UBC

1990 UBC

UBC-2015-16

UBC 2015-16

Thunderbirds who played in the NHLEdit

Canada West Team Sites Edit

Current Teams

Former TeamsEdit

Also seeEdit

National links:

Western links:

Atlantic links:

Ontario-Quebec links:

College links:

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