HAFA Grad Heading to Spain for the Underwater Hockey World Championships

Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Good luck to Michelle Chan, (HAFA '14 alum) who will be heading to Spain, August 6th - 15th, 2015 for the Underwater Hockey World Championships!!  #HFTM Proud

Read the U of G - The Portico - Grad Story below.

We’re used to seeing Canada excel in ice hockey, but this August, for the first time, Canada will send a team of women to the world championships in underwater hockey, and one of the players is a U of G grad.

Michelle Yu Hua Chan, B.Comm. ’14, was a first-year student in hotel administration when a friend persuaded her to try underwater hockey.

“I agreed to give it a try and I’ve been playing ever since,” says Chan, who is now based in Vancouver. “I love the three-dimensional aspect: you have to watch for other players not just to your left and right, but above you and below you as well. Game strategy is complex.” 

Teammate Nadine Perron also has a U of G connection — a former U of G student, she is originally from North Bay and now trains in Guelph.

U of G has had an underwater hockey club for more than 25 years. The sport involves two teams with six players on each side. A lead and brass puck is placed at the centre of the pool bottom and a gong signals the faceoff. Wearing snorkeling gear and carrying 30-cm-long sticks, players score by shooting the puck into a three-metre-long trough to score goals. Timing is an important part of the game because players have come up for air regularly.

The game is intense: Chan says you can often spot underwater hockey players by the scattering of bruises on their arms and legs, and the occasional black eyes caused when someone hits their masks.

Team members are scattered across Canada, so getting together to play as a group is challenging, but Chan says: “We’re pretty motivated to stay fit, and some of us are able to train together.”

The competition runs from Aug. 6-15 in Castellón de la Plana, Spain.

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