Upper Canada College Year 11 student Matt Martin had one of the thrills of a lifetime when he played for Football Ontario against the U.S. Under-17 Stars at AT&T Stadium on Jan. 12.
“The feeling you get when you walk through the same tunnel that the Dallas Cowboys walk through on to the field is indescribable,” says Martin. “When the announcer called your name through the speakers, it felt like you were a real-life pro — not to mention the huge Jumbotron, where even if you were standing right beside the field you felt compelled to watch.
“I would say there were around 1,000 people in attendance, but the size of the stadium made that number seem small.”
Martin has played football since he was 10 years old, and he was a member of UCC’s junior varsity team for three years before joining the varsity Blues squad this past fall. He credits varsity head coach Dave Brown for some of the progress he’s made as a defensive back/safety, which landed him an invitation to try out for the Football Ontario team in Stoney Creek in early December.
“There were about 200 players who came from all over Ontario trying out, and 40 made the team, so it was a pretty competitive process,” says Martin. “Through drills and a game, they were able to narrow the team down.”
Matt Martin playing for the Football Ontario team at the 100,000-person capacity AT&T Stadium.
Martin’s team flew to Dallas on Jan. 5, which gave it a week of preparation for the game. The players went through two practices, as well as team meetings, each day. There was also a scrimmage against a tier two American team on Jan. 10.
While Martin’s team lost the big game, he says it was still a valuable experience.
“I learned that, in order to play at the highest level, I need to add a certain ferocity to my game — something which every player on Team USA had. Whether it was in their practices or the game, they always left everything on the field — something I can definitely learn from.”
While Martin is unsure where football will take him next, he hopes to play past the high school level and continue with the sport as long as he can. There’s no tunnel vision in achieving his goal, however, and he’s the antithesis of the “dumb jock” stereotype.
“Something that the coaches kept reiterating through the whole trip was the importance of grades when it came to playing post-secondary sports,” says Martin. “For anyone who wants to play at the next level, I would give them the advice to keep their grades up because they matter just as much as your play on the field.”
While Upper Canada College didn’t end up with as many wins at this year’s Winterfest as it did last year, when it took 12 of 13 decisions, it was another success from a school spirit perspective.
The annual Winterfest, a showcase for the school’s snowy season sports teams, featured swimming, basketball and hockey at both the Prep and Upper School levels.
Winterfest kicked off with an exhibition swim meet involving UCC’s Prep and U14 teams along with representatives from The Sterling Hall School and Crescent School.
Prep basketball players were in action through the early afternoon.
Prep basketball games against Crescent School took place in all three gyms, as well as in the winter sports bubble that’s taken over much of the oval field, and highlighted the progress that the school’s young players have been making with their shooting, passing, dribbling and teamwork. Two of the games ended up in ties, showing how closely matched some of the teams were.
A 3 p.m. pep rally in Laidlaw Hall got Upper School boys pumped up to cheer on UCC’s older hoops and hockey players.
UCC’s varsity basketball team won an overtime thriller.
The spirit shown at the rally carried over to the Lett Gym, where the Blues varsity basketball team took on St. Andrew’s College. UCC had a slim halftime lead, but the lads from Aurora roared back and looked like they were going to disappoint the home team’s fans as they held a lead in the last minute.
A three-point basket by UCC with six seconds left tied the game at 48-48 and sent it into overtime. The momentum the Blues built late in regular time continued in the four minutes added to regulation and UCC went on to a 58-54 victory, which sent joyous fans storming on to the court in celebration afterward.
UCC’s Year 7 hockey team faced off against the College’s Year 8 team at 3:30 p.m. in the Olympic-sized Mara rink, and the younger boys came away with a 4-1 victory.
The varsity hockey game provided lots of entertainment.
The marquee hockey game, pitting the relatively young varsity Blues against their counterparts from Nichols School in Buffalo, N.Y., opened with a 6:30 p.m. ceremonial puck drop by UCC Principal Sam McKinney.
The Blues killed off an early penalty and its players delivered some big body checks later in the first period. While the two teams traded scoring chances, there were no goals after the first 18 minutes. The young Ice Chips players took to the ice during the first intermission and showed a lot of enthusiasm that will hopefully carry on in future years when the games start to mean something.
Nichols School pulled off a 2-1 win.
Nichols went up 1-0 eight minutes into the second period, which was pretty scrappy and featured a few instances of post-whistle pushing and shoving. That score held up going into the final frame.
UCC withstood a two-man disadvantage early on, and it had a couple of power plays of its own later on, but the team couldn’t take advantage as Nichols’ goalie made several tough saves. Ryan Moore tied the game on a nice tip-in with 4:03 left, but Nichols went ahead again three minutes later. The Blues pulled goalie Joe Howe with 32 seconds remaining, but couldn’t put another equalizing goal into the net.
Several Old Boys watched the game from the comfort of the Foster Hewitt Foundation Lounge, where they enjoyed free snacks and a cash bar generously sponsored by UCC’s Young Alumni Network.
The Old Boys’ varsity alumni hockey game took place at 11:30 the next morning. Lunch and beverages, and likely some reminiscing and friendly trash talk, followed in the lounge.
Here are the Winterfest scores:
U10A basketball: UCC 38 – Crescent School 38
U10 Blue basketball: UCC 18 – Crescent School 18
U10 White basketball: Crescent School 30 – UCC 24
U11 basketball: UCC 23 – Crescent School 16
U12A basketball: UCC 38 – Crescent School 18
U12B basketball: UCC 50 – Crescent School 19
U13A basketball: Crescent School 47 – UCC 46
U13B basketball: Crescent School 36 – UCC 23
U14 basketball: UCC 51 – St. Andrew’s College 26
U16A basketball: St. Andrew’s College 58 – UCC 54
Varsity basketball: UCC 58 – St. Andrew’s College 54
U14 hockey: UCC Year 7 4 – UCC Year 8 1
Varsity hockey: Nichols School 2 – UCC 1
Here are some varsity basketball photos taken by Lori Kerrigan and varsity hockey photos taken by Lisa Kellett:
Upper Canada College captured several Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association (CISAA) athletics championships and medals this fall.
UCC had a very successful soccer season, winning at almost every level. There are seven age groups at the first tier level for CISAA competition: U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U16 and varsity. This year the Blues dominated by winning all age groups with the exception of U13.
The highlight was a 3-0 final victory over St. Michael’s College School by the varsity team after an undefeated regular season. The team earlier captured the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools National Tournament.
UCC’s U12 volleyball team.
UCC’s varsity volleyball team had a strong playoff run and defeated regular season first-place finisher St. Mike’s in a close, five-game CISAA final match. The U14 vollebyall team defeated St. Mike’s in four games in its tournament final. UCC’s U12 volleyball team avenged a regular season loss against Bayview Glen by defeating it in its CISAA final.
UCC’s Upper School cross-country runners returned from the CISAA championships at Trinity College School with silver medals for the midget and senior boys teams.
Midget runner Ethan Mistry finished sixth out of 265 runners at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships in Petawawa on Nov. 4. It was the highest OFSAA finish for any UCC runner in the school’s history.
UCC’s U10, U11, U12, U13 and U14 Prep cross-country teams took part in the CISAA championships at Centennial Park in Etobicoke. UCC won the U10, U12 and boys overall divisions.
Anthony Chandler heads Upper Canada College’s Middle Division English department. But when he’s not laying the groundwork to produce the next Stephen Leacock or Robertson Davies, it’s quite possible you’ll find him laying out opponents in Brazilian jiujitsu.
“As a teenager I had taken classes in judo and karate, and as an adult I tried out tai chi, but none of those activities really engaged me in a meaningful way,” says Chandler. “I wanted to be Bruce Lee, a ninja and a Shaolin monk all rolled into one; clearly, none of those childhood dreams came to early fruition.
“Two years ago I suffered a minor back injury from lifting up my dog who had just been sprayed by a skunk. In the same week my wife and I discovered that we were going to have a little baby. At the age of 43, I decided that I needed to visit a nearby chiropractor and a new activity to loosen up my hip muscles. My tattoo artist highly recommended that I try BJJ. I started two years ago and have been working hard ever since.”
Chandler normally trains from two to five hours a week and, because he loves to travel when he’s not teaching, has been able to train at some of the world’s great academies in San Francisco, San Jose, Maui, Denver, Prince Edward Island and Barcelona as well as at home in Toronto.
“I can travel to any part of the world and find a gym with a group of like-minded practitioners who welcome me as one of their own,” he says.
“I am currently at class 170 in my jiujitsu journey. Unlike other martial art forms, the promotion process is terribly slow. After two years I have received the fourth stripe on my white belt, which means I am close to receiving my blue belt. A black belt can easily take over 15 years to accomplish.”
Anthony Chandler in action.
Chandler entered three tournaments last year and earned two bronze medals and one silver medal, but he finds preparing for these competitions to be stressful. He also doesn’t think winning a medal is worth becoming injured or showing up to work with a black eye and has decided he’s pursued that aspect of the sport about as far as he wants to.
Even so, Chandler suffered a level three tear in his abductor muscles last year and tore multiple areas of his rotator cuff two months ago. He was just able to return full-time to the mats last week.
“Jiujitsu is a pretty rough sport,” says Chandler. “We spar on a nightly basis for as long as an hour or two at a time with fully resisting partners.
“Given my age, height and abilities, I tend to end up rolling with younger opponents (by about 20 years) who are much taller (often by as much as a foot) and who are heavier (by as much as 50 pounds).”
Part of the challenge is that Chandler belonged to a no gi gym. No gi styles forego the traditional Japanese-style kimono in favour of compression spandex and shorts, which makes the game more athletic, fast and easy to become injured against larger opponents.
“I am visiting five local gi-based gyms in the Toronto area to focus on the more technical, slower aspects of the art for now,” says Chandler.
“It will probably slow down my promotion to a blue belt, but injuries are not good for being able to stay healthy on the mats. Every step is a part of the path.”
The rowing program at Upper Canada College led by head coach Grant Boyd has a history of producing world-class athletes, many of whom have successfully moved on to prestigious collegiate crews as well the world stage.
A number of UCC athletes, both past and present, recently raced at the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston. It’s a testament to the many years of training, hard work and dedication instilled at UCC.
The UCC Old Boys crew raced in the Men’s Seniors Masters Eight and UCC boys entered in the Men’s Youth Fours and Men’s Youth Coxed Quad. The rowing program fosters strong bonds among the boys, as can be seen in the alumni crew members — some of whom hadn’t seen each other in more than 30 years. The alumni members (pictured above) were Barney Williams, Jeff Collins, Peter MacGowan, Pat Turner, Jim Relle, Tim Turner, Ted Gibson, Bruce Ross, John Houlding and coach Boris Klavora.
The Boston Old Boys hosted the traditional reception during the regatta at the Harvard Club, with both Old Boys and current UCC boys and their guests.
A crew of five represented the UCC 4+. Along with the UCC entry and alumni entry, there were eight current UCC boys who entered the regatta separately (through the Hanlan Boat Club) but were introduced to rowing through the UCC program.
Thanks to head coach Boyd and assistant coaches Blair Baker and Jurgen Schubert, who made this unforgettable experience possible.
We asked three current rowers and coach Jurgen Schubert to share their thoughts about rowing and the regatta.
UCC principal Sam McKinney, Matthew Thompson, Raphael Berz, Simon Osak, Dane Halkiw, Max Hardisty and coach Grant Boyd.
Simon Osak, UCC 4+ cox
In the varsity ergometer room, there’s a quote from former Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi that reads “the man on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” The UCC Charles 4+ crew of Simon Osak, Max Hardisty, Dane Halkiw, Raphael Berz and Matthew Thompson really took this quote to heart. We wanted to carry forward our success from last spring and grow even more as a crew. I feel that we accomplished this goal.
After a productive Welland training camp and strong results at the Head of the Welland and Head of the Genesee regattas, our eyes were set on the Charles. Our pre-Charles training camp was critical in improving our technique and bonding as a boat.
One of the highlights of Charles weekend was the UCC rowing reception at the august Harvard Club. Our crew really appreciated the honour of being hosted by UCC alumni. It reminded us of the tight alumni bonds we’re lucky to have at UCC, as well as the great rowers who came before us. We were even more motivated to have a good showing at our Sunday race and represent the crest with pride.
After an exciting race, we finished 14th out of 86 crews. While we wished to place higher, we were very happy with the result considering that we started the race in 40th place.
This result didn’t come easy. Yes, we had to work hard. However, a big contributor to our success was teamwork. We were a band of brothers who bled blue as one unit, the sum greater than each individual part.
Jurgen Schubert, UCC coach
Each fall some of our UCC coaching staff will run the Hanlan Fall Junior Men’s program to allow any eligible athletes to compete for a seat in a limited number of boats that are training and racing that fall.
This year Blair Baker and I trained three crews under the Hanlan banner, with 11 of the 15 selected athletes being from UCC. Those three crews competed in three regattas prior to the trip to Boston, which helped select and condition our Charles entries for their final races. Of the three crews, we took a 4+ and a coxed quad consisting of eight UCC athletes.
Both crews had good, meaningful races, which resulted in one secured entry for next year, lots of memorable experiences and motivation going into this new season. Blair and I look forward to the coming season.
UCC principal Sam McKinney, Ben Givertz-Steel, Surin Rao, Rupert Davies, Chris Willcocks, Alex Quinn and coach Jurgen Schubert.
Rupert Davies, Men’s Youth Fours co-captain
For me and two of the other guys in my boat this season, Ben Givertz-Steel and co-captain Chris Willcocks, this was our second time racing at the largest regatta in the world. It was the first time for cox Surin Rao and two seat Alex Quinn.
The Head of the Charles is almost like the Olympics for high school students, and we train hard from August until October to be a top competitor each year.
Even though the races are always held on the Charles River and the weather stays relatively the same, the races can be completely different each year, which can be a big deal for the person steering the boat. The main challenge is that more than 85 crews all row down the narrow river in five- to 10-second intervals and boats get passed constantly. It’s called a head race.
Last year we were in a tough and unfortunate situation when a boat crashed into us, causing us to stop rowing to get untangled from the other boat’s oars and realign with the course. This cost us more than 20 spots on the leader board. The other guys and I in my boat last year realized that this was just the nature of the race, and it’s what makes it equally stressful and exciting.
Like the Olympics, just being given the opportunity to participate at the Charles is unforgettable. The races at HOCR are supported by 300,000 spectators, which makes rowing the main event for the weekend and a big part of Boston’s sport culture.
Our boat this year had a great race, with Rao making sure we had a clear path. More importantly, we improved drastically throughout the season and were incredibly proud of these accomplishments. Our result was a mix of the hard work we put in and a little bit of luck.
Rowing comes down to three principles: patience, dedication and teamwork. For me, the rewards that it offers in return makes it all worth it. If I’m to only choose one lesson that rowing has taught me, it’s that you get what you put in. I’d recommend rowing to anyone who’s looking for a challenge that will build character, the ability to work hard with others, and the craving for being rewarded.
Carter MacLean, Thomas Rusaw and Adam Steiner.
Carter MacLean, Youth Men’s Coxed Quad
When our boat combination was decided for the Youth Men’s Coxed Quad, there were two UCC rowers, myself and Adam Steiner, and two Hanlan rowers, with a UCC coxie, Thomas Rusaw. This mix was an interesting experience for all of us, as we’d never previously met each other and we were bringing different techniques to the boat. After six vigorous weeks of training, two regattas and a weekend training camp, we flew to Boston.
While in Boston, we trained four times over the Thursday and Friday we were there. On Friday night we were invited to a UCC branch reception. The event was about our ties to the UCC community and our pride in that. I spoke to a few Old Boys who were present and were rowers in the 1970s and ‘80s. It was very cool to see their joy and connection to the school after all these years.
On Sunday we woke up and got ready to race. The nerves were raging in all of us. As we were rowing up to the start, the magnitude of the regatta got to me. There were about 10,000 rowers from all over the world.
We rowed down the course with all of our might. After the race we discovered that we had finished 17th, one spot away from requalifying the boat for next year. We were upset, but we knew that we gave it our best. I think that losing is the most important part about rowing. Losing drives you to improve, and that’s what we’ll do this winter to have an outstanding spring season.
Upper Canada College’s cross-country runners returned from the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association championships at Trinity College School on Wednesday with silver medals for the midget and senior boys teams.
Midget cross-country team members Max Sipos, Nicholas De Chazal and Ian Vyse.
The midget boys team of Max Sipos, Nicholas De Chazal, Ian Vyse, Ethan Mistry and Luke Pitblado finished second and qualified for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) in Petawawa on Nov. 4. Mistry — who set UCC records in U14 400-metre, 800-metre and 1,500-metre races last May — led the team by winning the race.
The senior boys team of Andrew O’Reilly, Liangchi Zhou, Will McCreadie, Henry Gage, Jeremy Kofman and Jack Tanembaum also placed second to qualify for the OFSAA meet.
Ayomide Maxwell placed eighth in the junior boys race and will run at OFSAA as an individual.
Upper Canada College captured its second Canadian Association of Independent Schools Senior Boys’ Soccer Tournament title in three years over the weekend.
The team members and coaches Premek Hamr and Rich Turner travelled to Vancouver, where the tournament was hosted by St. George’s School, and had time to visit the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), take a rain forest hike and get in a practice before play got underway on Oct. 12.
The Blues’ first game was played in cool, wet conditions at UBC against the host school’s second team, which was a late addition after another team dropped out. UCC emerged with a 6-0 win. The skies cleared later in the day as the Blues played a tougher opponent, Lower Canada College, and came away with a 1-0 victory.
UCC’s final round robin game was on Thursday morning, and it turned into a one-sided 10-0 rout of The York School. After going undefeated in pool play, the Blues were matched against The Crescent School in the Gold Division quarter-final. UCC won 3-1, putting it in the Saturday semi-final against the host school’s first team.
It was a tight match and things weren’t made easier after a UCC player was ejected after being shown two yellow cards, so the team had to play with 10 athletes compared to their opponent’s 11 for three quarters of the game after taking an early 2-1 lead. The Blues played a more defensive game in the second half and were still on the positive end of the 2-1 score when the final whistle blew.
Tournament final most valuable player Oscar Brown.
Appleby College was the opponent in the final that afternoon after it defeated St. Andrew’s College in its semi-final match. After Appleby hit two goal posts, the Blues were the first to put a ball behind a goalkeeper in the 31st minute. UCC added two more goals in the second half and won the game, and its 10th national championship, by a score of 3-0.
UCC’s Oscar Brown scored nine goals in the tournament and was voted the most valuable player of the final by the coaches of all the competing teams. Team awards were also given out, and the defensive players of the tournament were Mark Yatchew and Jeremy Zhang. Sean Langlois was the offensive player and most valuable player of the tournament after scoring seven goals, including five in the knockout rounds.
A more detailed account of the tournament, written by coaches Hamr and Turner, can be found here.
The Battle of the Blues is back and let’s make Friday, Oct. 13 a very lucky day for the Blues! Last year, our UCC Blues squared off against the St. Michael’s College School Kerry Blues at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium in the second annual varsity football showdown, and each team came away with a win.
This year, we will once again take on rivals St. Mike’s in a fierce but friendly football event. A cheering crowd can make all the difference so come out and support your teams — Go Blues Go!
Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 4:30 p.m.
University of Toronto Varsity Centre
Junior Varsity game 4:30 p.m.
Senior Varsity game 7:00 p.m.
Buy tickets online at the Varsity Stadium ticket site. You will need to Register or Login using the buttons in the top-right hand of the screen before you can purchase tickets.
You can see highlights from last year’s event including a news story and video recap of the game below.
This past Saturday was Upper Canada College’s 38th Association Day, and it certainly had the highest temperatures and brightest sun of any in recent memory.
Parents of new students got to meet and mingle to kick off the day at an early morning breakfast in Weston Hall, after which they could go outside and watch Prep boys parade up the avenue to the front steps of the Upper School for opening ceremonies.
>After the boys dispersed to take part in the Prep Soccerfest, the avenue soon became alive again as a variety of booths opened. Visitors could buy a variety of goods from the Jon Wookey ’08 Organic Farmers Market and other vendors. A few student clubs, Arts Booster Club, Blues Booster Club, the Norval Outdoor School and Prep Parents’ Organization were in attendance, and a myriad of things were up for bidding at the silent auction tent.
In addition to those selling foodstuffs to take home, there was also a large barbecue area, a snack shack and a Kernels tent offering popcorn and ice cream. There was no reason anyone should have left hungry.
You just had to be careful not to get your goodies splashed on if you came too close to the ever-popular dunk tank, where students paid a few dollars and were invited to fire balls at a target. Those who hit it caused several teachers, who graciously volunteered, to be dropped into the water. On a steamy day like this, it was probably quite refreshing.
Last year was Principal Sam McKinney’s first Association Day, but those who hadn’t yet met him or his family had an opportunity to do so at the “Meet the McKinneys” tent. The principal later opened up the garden to his Grant House residence for a reception for past parents.
Community members who may not have been back to UCC for a while and hadn’t seen some of its recent renovations were offered tours of the campus.
Music was provided by staff, faculty and student musicians for A-Tunes @ A-Day, but that wasn’t enough to drown out the excited shrieks of young children bouncing around on large inflatables just to the west in the “Kidzone.”
Sports always play a huge role at Association Day, and older students and even older Old Boys had their time in the spotlight in a variety of games after the Prep Soccerfest.
The white and blue teams played to a 7-7 draw in the Allan Harris Old Boys Soccer Tournament, while the brother pairing of Dan McConville ’99 and Rory McConville ’03 won a hotly contested final to capture the title at the Michael Evan Jurist ’03 Memorial Tennis Tournament.
Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association soccer, volleyball and football games took part throughout the day, with UCC teams combining for a 10-win and six-loss record against squads from St.. Michael’s College School, Lakefield College School, The York School and Toronto French School.
The final one was a varsity football game in which St. Mike’s pulled off a 21-13 come-from-behind victory over the home team in front of a healthy-sized crowd, including those enjoying beer and wine on the William P. Wilder ’40 Arena & Sports Complex’s terrace.
Association Day is also a focal point for reunion weekend, and this year graduating classes with years ending in ‘2’ and ‘7’ were invited back to campus for an evening reception and dinner. The 1967 and 1992 leaving classes were also feted with special tie presentations at lunches to mark their respective milestone 50th and 25th anniversaries.
Next year’s Association Day will take place on Sept. 29. Save the date and plan to be there.
Upper Canada College and Trinity College School played their first cricket match against each other on June 25, 1867.
That rivalry was renewed on Sept. 16 with two matches, followed by a reception and dinner at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of competition between the two historic schools.
“Back in the day, cricket was the bastion of independent schools,” says Rodger Wright ’70, a UCC Old Boy and faculty member before moving on to TCS as headmaster for 21 years. He returned to UCC a year ago in a part-time role as special adviser to the vice-principal of advancement and strategy.
“There’s been a relationship between the Cricket Club and independent schools, particularly TCS and UCC, for many, many moons,” adds Wright.
The driving force behind this sesquicentennial cricket celebration was Ed Bracht ’55, the captain of the first post-war Canadian junior cricket team to visit the United Kingdom. He went on become the treasurer and chair of the Canadian Cricket Association when his playing days were over.
One Old Boy whose playing days apparently aren’t over was John Harvey ’67. He competed in the 100th anniversary match between UCC and TCS while he was a student and returned to take part in the 150th.
UCC’s current players were dressed in their best when not playing.
Two matches, both comprised of current and former players, were played on Sept. 16. UCC, which had a larger contingent of current players since many of the players from last season had graduated from TCS, won both of them.
About 50 people, in addition to the players, attended the Bracht-hosted dinner afterwards. TCS Headmaster Stuart Grainger spoke and issued a challenge to UCC Principal Sam McKinney, which was accepted when the latter addressed the audience. The head of the losing school must wear the colours of the winning team of a Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association match next spring.
UCC head cricket coach Mark Baxter wrote an article about the history of cricket at the College, including the rivalry with TCS. Read it here.