UBC started play in the senior and intermediate levels of the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association. Results from BC hockey in the early days are sketchy. I could only find two results from the 1920s, form 1921 and 1922.
1921 was a unique year for university hockey. That season, UBC played in the Vancouver City Senior League (VCSL). After finishing in 3rd place in the 4 team league, they 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. In the British Columbia Senior Playoffs they lost the opener to the Victoria Senators 3-2, then won game 2 by a 5-3 score. This gave UBC the series 7-6 on aggregate and the Savage Cup (provincial title).
Unfortunately for UBC, they won the BC title too late to challenge for the Allan Cup. Alberta had the same problem. The University of Alberta won the Edmonton league and played Calgary Alberta Pacific in the 1921 Alberta Senior Playoffs. After some controversy and a replay, Calgary won the title too late to enter the Westerns. Saskatchewan's senior league was under suspension. That left the Intercollegiate winner (who for 3 seasons in the early 20s was granted a berth amongst provincial champions), the University of Saskatchewan, and the Manitoba and Thunder Bay champions (Brandon and Port Arthur) to compete for the 1921 Western Canada Allan Cup Playoffs. So had UBC competed they likely would have faced the University of Saskatchewan in a playoff series, well before they ever played in the same conference. Also in 1921, the University of Toronto defeated McGill University in the eastern Allan Cup final. Thus 1921 was the closest we ever came to an all-university match-up in a western or national Allan Cup series.
In 1922 UBC played in the Vancouver Intermediate League. They placed second and lost the semi-final to the Vancouver Nationals.
After that, I could find no records until 1945-46 when 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.
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, in which case regular season games were counted. Alberta won the trophy 17 times, UBC won it twice.
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). 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 to win the WIAA title. At the U-Cup they beat Sherbrooke 6-2 in the semi-finals before losing the final to McMaster 3-2.
UBC departed the WIAA after the 1963-64 season, citing travel costs. The squad returned in 1966-67 and have played top tier university hockey ever since.
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.
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.
In 1973 UBC became the first Canadian team to visit China, where they beat their national team 5-0 and 7-0. The tour continued through China and Japan, and UBC went 9-1 overall.
In 1977 UBC placed second in the CWUAA and then lost to Alberta in the final. Since Alberta was the U-Cup host, UBC got themselves a berth as runner-up. In the U-Cup they lost a 2-game semi-final series to Toronto 11-10 on aggregate. That was UBC's last trip to a U-Cup.
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, except for 1990.
Before the 2010 Olympics, UBC got to play Team Norway, and lost 4-1. Their new home arena was the site of several women's games in that tournament.
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.
UBC's 4th place finish in 2014-15 is an excellent result for them. The last time UBC finished in the top four seeds was in 1989-90, when they placed 3rd (16-11-1). Also in that period, they have 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. Since 1978, 1990 is their only winning record. Even in 2014-15, at 13-10-5 they still won fewer than half their games. They did win exactly half their games in 1985 (12-12-0), 2007 (14-13-1), and 2013 (14-11-3).
The last 10 years:
Code: Select all
Year Competition GP W L T/OT F A Pts Placing
2006 CWUAA 28 12 15 1 79 100 25 3rd of 4 div
2006 Playoffs 3 1 2 0 9 12 2 lost q-f
2007 CWUAA 28 14 13 1 76 88 29 3rd of 4 div
2007 Playoffs 5 2 3 0 17 20 4 lost s-f
2008 CWUAA 28 12 16 0 86 92 24 6th of 7
2008 Playoffs 2 0 2 0 2 10 0 lost q-f
2009 CWUAA 28 11 14 3 59 85 25 6th of 7
2009 Playoffs 5 2 3 0 16 20 4 lost s-f
2010 CWUAA 28 8 19 1 67 117 17 7th of 7
2010 Playoffs 2 0 2 0 2 10 0 lost q-f
2011 CWUAA 28 11 12 5 76 101 27 6th of 7
2012 CWUAA 28 12 12 4 77 88 28 5th of 7
2013 CWUAA 28 14 11 3 84 84 31 5th of 7
2013 Playoffs 3 1 2 0 6 9 2 lost q-f
2014 CWUAA 28 11 15 2 89 101 24 6th of 8
2014 Playoffs 5 2 3 0 17 20 4 lost s-f
2015 CWUAA 28 13 10 5 79 75 31 4th of 8
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