For the first time in nine years, the University of New Brunswick has a women’s hockey coach, as Sarah Hilworth was unveiled as the new bench boss.
Following a legal battle that can only be described as “lengthy” the newly-relaunched program finally has some personnel in place.
The university (after being forced to reinstate the team by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission) originally planned to have a varsity team on the ice for the 2017-18 season. However, a more realistic start date of 2018-19 was decided upon in December, 2016.
In April 2017, it was announced that the athletics department was working on facilities to accommodate the new team, and that a coach would be hired “soon”. “Soon” turned out to be two months to the day.
Hilworth comes well-qualified to lead the new program and brings an excellent coaching pedigree with her to Fredericton. She played and then acted as an assistant coach under Howie Draper, one of the most decorated and longest-tenured coaches in U SPORTS women’s hockey.
Additionally, her office will now be mere feet away from Gardiner MacDougall’s. MacDougall has raised the UNB men’s hockey program and turned it into a powerhouse, winning six national championships since the 2006-07 season, including a triumph on home ice in 2017.
Hilworth built a women’s hockey program from scratch at Olds College in Alberta.
More to come.