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Coquitlam field hockey player earns individual accolades

Natalie Winter just completed her fifth year with the York University Lions.
Coquitlam's Natalie Winter breaks through the University of Toronto Blues defence.

The sting of a second consecutive loss in a championship game has been soothed somewhat by individual accolades for a Coquitlam field hockey player.

Natalie Winter, a midfielder who just completed her fifth year with the York University Lions, was named a U-Sports All-Canadian Monday, Nov. 6, after leading her team to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship final for a second straight year. 

Winter scored two goals — both of them game winners — and added 7 assists as the Lions won 10 games and lost only one through the regular season. That loss was to the University of Toronto Blues, which also defeated York, 3-1, in the OUA championship game Oct. 28.

Winter, a grad of Dr. Charles Best Secondary, was also named to the OUA all-star team. She's one of several players from the Tri-Cities that have formed the backbone of York's field hockey program. They include: Heritage Woods grads Jade and Jewel Lew;  Alyssa Brooks, another Best grad; and Caitlin Miller, who attended Port Moody Secondary.

With the completion of her outdoor season at York, Winter said she's now turning her attention to earning a spot on Canada's national indoor field hockey team as it begins preparation for that sport's next World Cup, to be played in February 2025. She was part of last year's side that made it to the quarter-finals of the 2023 tournament in Pretoria, South Africa.

It was the first time Canada advanced beyond pool play after it finished ninth in 2007 and 10th in 2015,

Winter said her experience playing box lacrosse in the Coquitlam Adanacs youth program when she was younger makes her uniquely suited to the faster pace and restricted confines of field hockey’s indoor game.

"There is less time to think when I have the ball, so I’m forced to use my instincts instead of consciously making a decision," she said.

After identification camps this weekend, players who make the cut will begin their preparation for a tournament in Austria in January then compete for a qualifying spot in the next World Cup at the Indoor Pan American Cup in Calgary in March.