After Shelley Winter Andrews’ first full year playing field hockey at Victoria’s Gordon Head Junior Secondary, coach Gill Quiney wrote a message in her Grade 10 yearbook: “Shelley, you certainly excelled yourself this year…you worked so hard to achieve your high goal—the Olympics is your next stop.”

The message seemed innocent enough at the time and totally unlikely—women’s field hockey wasn’t even an Olympic sport and wouldn’t be for nearly a decade. But it grew in significance later on as Winter Andrews and women’s field hockey steadily rose. And, in 1984, it came true. “I was destined, I guess,” she said.

At the Los Angeles Olympics, there was Shelley, co-captaining Canada to a fifth-place finish, still our nation’s best-ever Olympic field hockey result. By then, she had firmly established herself as theanchor of the golden era in Canadian women’s field hockey. Today, she remains one of this nation’s greatest players of all time.

Born and raised in Victoria, Winter Andrews was first introduced to field hockey in grade nine P.E. class. A gruff social studies teacher encouraged her to go out for the high school field hockey team, which she did the next year, as well as playing basketball, badminton, and running track. After leading Oak Bay High’s field hockey team to a BC high school championship, at the suggestion of her coach GillHawkins, Winter Andrews went on to play at UBC.

Under legendary coaches Bim Schrodt, a fellow BC Sports Hall of Famer, and Gerry Gilmore, Winter Andrews played five years for the Thunderbirds, winning the Canada West championship four times. A favourite memory came in 1973 while a member of the BC provincial team coached by Schrodt, which won gold at the Canada Summer Games. At the conclusion of her final university year in 1976, shewas awarded the Marilyn Pomfret Trophy as UBC’s female athlete of the year.

By then, Winter Andrews was already entrenched as the blazingly fast, rock-solid defensive ace on both the BC provincial and Canadian national teams. She would remain a member of both squads for 14 and 12 years respectively until her 1986 retirement. Along the way she led Canada to its’ most successful run of international play. She would compete in six IWFHA or World Cup tournaments, highlighted by Canada’s best-ever international field hockey result, a silver medal at the 1983 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A bronze medal finish at the 1986 World Cup in Amstelveen, Netherlands followed.

Other highlights included representing Canada in Paris to receive a 1985 United Nations Fair Play Award on behalf of the national team. A year later, she dominated in a 3-1 victory over England in front of thousands at Wembley Stadium to take the prestigious Tipp-Ex Trophy in Canada’s first-ever victory over the English. Winter-Andrews was named player of the match. “England Shelley-shocked” one newspaper headline blared. Not long after, she became the first Canadian woman to accumulate 100 international caps.

After retiring from international duty, Winter Andrews coached in Victoria’s junior leagues and at Lansdowne Middle School for over 25 years. She continues to play regularly for the Oak Bay Ladies club to this day.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.