Feature photo by Teri Di-Lauro
Ailish Forfar has been named to Canada’s hockey team at the 2019 FSIU Winter Universiade taking place in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Forfar played her final year of eligibility at Ryerson University last season where she was captain and named to the USports All-Star team.
“It’s an honour to be chosen to represent Canada at the Universiade games! I’m looking forward to pulling on a Team Canada jersey for the first time,” says Forfar. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing since I started playing hockey as a little girl. It’ll be an experience of a lifetime!”
Forfar will miss the final game of the regular season in Toronto. Want to follow along in her journey? Find the schedule of the Games here.
Forfar will share the distinction of playing in the games with her Thunder teammate Liz Knox.
“What I remember most about my FISU experience was the emotion that came with wearing the maple leaf. You walk around the athletes’ village, meet people from all over the world and there’s just something that makes you feel so undeniably proud to be Canadian,” remembers Knox, who participated in the 2011 Winter Universiade games. “The thought of hearing ‘Team Canada’ being announced in the stadium at the opening ceremonies, and walking out with decorated athletes of all sports— it’s a moment that still gives me chills.”
Knox and Team Canada took home the gold that year, and Canada came in third overall at the Games. “Most would assume that winning Gold was my fondest memory and while it’s up there, a different win proved to be more memorable for me. We were playing the host team, Turkey. They had just come off a substantial (some might say unsportsmanlike) loss and our coaches sat us down to discuss our game plan,” she explains. “At the time, the Turkish team had little resources in terms of training, development and even equipment for their women’s programs. The odds were undoubtedly slanted in our favour, but we wanted to show our hosts the respect they deserved. So after the game, our team lined either side of Team Turkey’s gate and we saluted their players off the ice as a symbol of our gratitude. It brought tears to the eyes of players on both teams. After the game, the Turkish captain offered her jersey to our captain to show her respect. It was a wonderfully powerful moment — the kind of thing that only happens on a stage like FISU.”
“My advice to Ailish is to take it all in! Take lots of pictures. Set aside time to realize how extremely lucky we are to be Canadian and what a privilege it is to represent our sport for our great country. I can’t wait to relive it through you!”