Concordia Top Seed Heading into National Tournament

The schedule is set for the U Sports women's hockey championship. The tournament will be played March 14-17 in Saskatoon, Sask.

Concordia Top Seed Heading into National Tournament
Eight teams from across Canada will compete for the national title. | Photo by Simon Hopkins

League playoffs are complete for Canadian University women’s hockey, and the bracket is set ahead of the national championships this weekend in Saskatchewan. The tournament begins Thursday afternoon.

U Sports, the national governing body for collegiate sport in Canada, posted the bracket last weekend on X.

Two teams from each of the four regional leagues within U Sports will compete in the single-game elimination tournament. The finalists in each league’s playoffs qualify for the national tournament. As the host, the University of Saskatchewan usurped the number two team from Canada West’s league.


Concordia tops the rankings after completing a perfect regular season. They were 25-0 champions in RSEQ, Quebec’s university hockey league. Unlike in previous seasons, where they were undefeated in the playoffs, Concordia lost twice in their march to an RSEQ championship. The team is still favoured to win the national tournament. They won dominantly in 2022 and were runners-up to Mount Royal in 2023.

In second is the Thunderbirds from UBC, who have been a growing team on the U Sports scene for a few seasons. This year, they made light work of their league, winning 24 of their 28 games. In that span, they outscored opponents 112-34. Their offensive power was unmatched by the other teams, while their defensive skill was among the top. Fourth-year UBC forward Mackenzie Kordic led Canada West in scoring with 15 goals and 21 assists in 28 games, according to the league website. She nearly doubled her scoring from previous seasons.

Third-ranked are the Reds from New Brunswick. The school has been a top force in the Atlantic league for a long time but has struggled to find footing at the national tournament. Last year, a lower-seed team beat the Reds in the opening round. In the Atlantic league this year, New Brunswick finished second behind StFX. The Reds were dominant but stumbled down the stretch, losing four games in the season's final weeks, according to league stats. Their playoff success and win over StFX earned them the higher ranking, but I think they’ll struggle against their strong first-round opponent.

Ontario’s underdog this year was the Waterloo Warriors. They finished second in their division but pulled off upsets in the playoffs to win the OUA championship. Waterloo has never qualified for the national tournament, and this will be their first appearance. Waterloo goaltender Mikayla Schnarr lifted the team to their highest potential all season. According to the league website, she had a .936 save percentage in 18 regular season games and a .973 in three playoff games. Big-game offence from Leah Herrfort also contributed to their success all year. Clutch performances could see Waterloo continue their upsets at the national tournament.

The regular season leaders from the East Coast are the fifth overall seed. The StFX X-women went 21-5-2 in the regular season but stumbled in the playoffs. They had the second-best goal difference in the league, outscoring opponents 88-54. The X-Women made their first-ever national tournament appearance last year after a second-place finish in the Atlantic playoffs. They lost a tight game in the opening round and will look to go further this year.

The University of Toronto is the sixth seed, dropping from its position as the first seed last year. Toronto won the Ontario championship in 2023 and took the top spot heading to the national tournament. They were upset 3-2 by the eight-seed Mount Royal Cougars, who went on to win the tournament. Like Waterloo, they also finished second in their division but made-up ground in the playoffs. The team brings many of the same key pieces, but goalie Erica Fryer has taken over the starting goaltender position, playing 26 of the team’s 28 games this year.

Montréal makes it to the tournament as the seventh seed. They have four national tournament appearances and two championships from 2013 and 2016. The team was engaged in the Quebec league’s fierce fight for second place behind Concordia. Montréal, Bishop’s, and Ottawa all played for the league spots, but Montréal finally pulled out victorious. They played two tight series in the playoffs and showed their grit to the end. They’re a tough team to beat but will be up against a mighty force.

Rounding out the group is the tournament host, Saskatchewan. The Huskies were the fourth team in the nine-team Canada West league but were the lowest-ranked team with a winning record. They were knocked out in the first round by Calgary, who outscored them 5-2 over three games. Goalie Camryn Drever led the regular season in save percentage with a .954. She faced one of the highest workloads of the league’s top teams and performed for her club. It will be exciting for Saskatchewan to play in front of their home crowd, but I imagine Concordia will steamroll them.

The tournament begins Thursday afternoon.


Thursday, March 14

·      StFX vs Waterloo – 1pm CST

·      Concordia vs Saskatchewan – 7pm CST

Friday, March 15

·      MontrĂ©al vs UBC – 1pm CST

·      Toronto vs UNB – 7pm CST

Saturday, March 16

·      Consolation #1 – 10am CST

·      Consolation #2 – 1pm CST

·      Semi-final #1 – 4pm CST

·      Semi-final #2 – 7pm CST

Sunday, March 17

·      Consolation final – 11am CST

·      Bronze Medal – 3pm CST

·      Championship – 6pm CST