By Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
It marked the start of one of the most dominant dynasties in Canadian University Sport history.
It was a historic moment not only for the University of Alberta, but also women’s hockey in Western Canada.
Loaded with a roster featuring All-Stars, Academic All-Canadians, and future Sports Wall of Fame Inductees, the 1999/2000 Pandas Hockey team captured their first CIAU National Championship.
And this Friday night, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics will welcome back the 2000 CIAU Champion Pandas back to Clare Drake Arena, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their historic title.
“It’s one of the biggest accomplishments in University of Alberta history. The impact that win had on that program, the school, and women’s hockey in Edmonton was massive,” said UAlberta director of athletics Ian Reade.
“They were so incredibly talented and driven. They were so fun to watch at Clare Drake Arena that season. They had one goal - to capture their first national title - and nothing was going to stand in their way.”
The Pandas entered the 1999/00 season having captured the first two Canada West Championships, while also earning a CIAU silver medal the previous season, losing to Concordia in the national final.
Led by head coach Howie Draper, the Pandas went an impressive 11-1-0 in Canada West play, with their only conference loss coming in November. The Pandas would go on to win 18-straight conference and playoff games, including a perfect 2-0 record in the conference tournament, en route to their third-straight CW title.
After a 4-2 win over Guelph in the national quarter-final, the Pandas exacted some revenge, beating Concordia on their home ice 3-2 in the CIAU semifinal.
Led by goals from Lori Shupak and Danielle Bourgeois, as well as a 19-save shutout from Stacey McCullough, Alberta defeated McGill 2-0 in the national final.