Winter 2023

Gator Zone

Headshot of Carla diFilippo

Message from the Upper School Athletics Director

Ms. Carla Di Filippo

Hello Gators,

Our winter season was action packed with more than 400 students in the Upper School playing on 25 sports teams. Wow! There is nothing better than walking by a gym, a pool or a rink to witness the hard work and teamwork first-hand. A highlight for me was the reemergence of the HC Squash Team. The team competed at various tournaments with an end of season CISAA championship right before the March Break. At the finals there were four divisions and HC won three of them! Thank you to Maya Askari and Sienna Grossi for starting this team again!

It is difficult to write about the winter term without mentioning the most wonderful day of the year: Hockey Day. The spirit on display during this day can only be experienced. It represents everything that is Havergal College and the love our students and staff have for each other and this special community. Although it was tough to give up “Hewie” (the nickname for the Hewitt Cup, which is won on Hockey Day), the pride, positivity and support on display during this day is second to none. 

Congratulations to our Senior Volleyball Team, who competed in the OFSAA provincial championships, and to our rowers, who returned to Tennessee for their intense training camp. I’d also like to compliment all our athletes and coaches who displayed courage and determination this past winter. It is such a treat to be able to watch the growth, competitiveness and fun that is on display during games.  

On March 30, we celebrated the accomplishment of our winter athletics season at an awards assembly. It was here that each team announced their MVP and Coaches Award for the term. As well, two major awards were given out: The Caney Cup (swimming) and The Mingay Award (volleyball). View the full list of award recipients HERE

I am looking forward to some sunshine and grassy fields this spring! 

Ms. Di Filippo

Headshot of Anna Bartlett

Message from the JS Athletic Director

Ms. Anna Bartlett

For the first time in Canadian independent school history, Havergal sent their all-girls hockey team to a U12 boys hockey championship. This exceptional crew of hockey players skated out on the ice against Pickering College and Crestwood School. Havergal’s team scored 10 goals and came out undefeated in the tournament. It was very impressive! 

Our Grade 4, 5, and 6 athletes had over 70 team members learning to play volleyball. Our three under 10 teams went to Bayview Glen, where they had a fun day of friendly competition. The four U11 and U12 Volleyball Teams were also eager to compete and worked on developing their forearm pass and serving skills this term. There is no doubt the development in Junior School strengthens their passion and love for the game as they move on to the Upper School.

Our Under 12 Swim Team trained hard and swam their way to victory at the CISAA U14 Swim championships. Some were learning new strokes for the very first time while others turned up ready to show off their skills. Special shout outs go to Kacelyn Luk and Kaley Yan for coming first in 50m freestyle; to Victoria Xiong for coming first in the 50 m butterfly; and to Anh Le for coming in first in breaststroke!

This season the Junior School gym was filled to the max with students in Grades 1 to 3 participating in multi-sports. Some of this dedicated group of students even practised on Friday after school. This program worked to build their physical literacy.

Ms. Bartlett

Student Sports Corner

Emma's headshot

Message from the Student Editor

Emma Wagman

Hey Havergal!

I am pleased to introduce the Winter 2022-23 edition of Gator Zone. In this issue, you will find exciting articles about new and reintroduced teams at Havergal, incredible staff and student highlights, and, of course, Hockey Day news. A common theme you might observe throughout this issue is the strength of the Havergal Athletics community, which was taken up a notch from the fall term.   

The beauty of the lengthy winter season is that athletes are given the opportunity to cultivate lasting, meaningful relationships with teammates and coaches over the course of the season. I was able to watch and scorekeep for many games this season and I could feel that the energy was unmatched!

I would like to give a massive shout-out to our Sports Prefects, Piper Nixon and Beats Tura, along with their extremely hardworking Sports Council and all of our student leaders for putting on a legendary Hockey Day this year. Keep on reading to find out just how legendary it was. I would also like to thank Ms. D, Ms. Pink, Ms. Bartlett and my amazing team of writers for their contributions.

With our spring season already in full swing, I would like to provide a warning to my fellow Gators: the spring season goes by fast! Savour each game and  practice and end on a bang! I can’t wait to see all that our Gators accomplish this season.   


Photo of Piper and Beats hugging in their Hockey uniforms.

Message from the Sports Prefects 

Beats Tura and Piper Nixon

We cannot believe yet another term has gone by! We are both blown away by the constant support and spirit shown here every single day. We thought there was no way we could top our fall term, yet here we are! Winter was an exciting time! From OFSAA champs, all the way to the most legendary Hockey Day in history, this term has been one for the books.  

In December, we had our second Gator Day of the year where our U20 Volleyball Team took on Holy Trinity School. They set. They spiked. They conquered. We had Gym C filled to the brim with fans and Ms. Virc even busted out some exceptional dance moves (the new face of HC volleyball?)!

The year 2023 has also become the year of “epic hype videos.” Our Gators channelled their inner Steven Spielberg and made some pretty insane promo videos. From Gator Day to Varsity Hockey recaps, all the way to HCSN interviews, the media has gone crazy!  Be sure to check them out on Instagram @havergal_gators and @havergalcollegesportsnetwork

We’d like to give a shout out to all of our volleyball teams who were dominant all season. Congrats to our U13 D2 and U16 D1 Volleyball Teams for being CISAA champs, and to our U20 Volleyball Team for competing at OFSAA. We can’t forget to mention our incredible swimmers. Who knew Havergal was so aquatic? (I guess we are Gators after all!) This term, we had the honour of celebrating not just one, but multiple OFSAA medalists. Our Junior Swim Team demonstrated their strength by becoming OFSAA champions, and our U20 D2 Hockey Team exceeded all expectations in their inaugural season, earning a silver medal in the CISAA championships! We couldn’t be more proud of all our athletes this term. 

Last, but not least, we would like to discuss Hockey Day 2023. Never before have we seen the Mattamy stands so packed with green and gold. The fans were electric and the vibes were impeccable. It’s a day that none of us will ever forget, for those of us both on the ice and in the crowd. Although we may not have brought home the Hewitt Cup, the entire day was about so much more than just the scoreboard. The overwhelming support and positivity from our community was truly remarkable, even in the absence of a win. It just goes to show that Havergal is like no other. The community we have here is unmatched and, with our last term right around the corner, we encourage you all to go out and support, or try, something new! 

We are so excited for (in our humble opinion) the best term of the year. Let’s go make the most of it this Spring, HC!


Beats & Piper

Havergal's Basketball Team holds up the CAIS championship banner.

The CAIS Basketball Tournament

Natalie MacGregor

In November of 2022, the U20 D1 Basketball Team ended their season with an exciting and tough tournament: the CAIS Basketball Championship hosted at Bishop’s College School. The team made a long journey by bus to Sherbrooke, Quebec, during which time they spent their time strategizing and bonding as a team. With many of the original members of the team unable to make the trip, two talented players from the U16 D1 Team—Cadyn Rosenzweig in Grade 9 and Ashley O’Driscoll in Grade 10—were called up to join the roster.

The Gators started off the championship against some tough competitors: Ashbury College and the Sacred Heart School of Halifax. They put up an extremely strong fight in both games, but unfortunately fell behind and lost both games by just a few points. It seemed like a disappointing day for the team, until it was announced they had scored enough points to compete in a consolation match! It was the end of the day for the team, and they spent the night enjoying some of the fine cuisine of Quebec, bonding closer as a team and mentally preparing to continue to fight in the upcoming games.

The team was up bright and early the next morning with their spirits alive and ready to take down any team in their way. They played in the consolidation match and came out on top! They scored just enough points to be able to move on to the semi-finals, and the fight continued. The Gators faced St. Albert in a very tight game, but their teamwork prevailed and the Havergal team moved on to the finals!

The final game the team played during the 2022 fall season was a rematch against Ashbury College. The team put everything they had onto the court and the score was extremely close, making it a very nerve-wracking—yet exciting—game for anyone involved. Unfortunately, during the last quarter, the other team came out on top by just a few points. Despite some tough competition, the Havergal Gators achieved a well-deserved second place in the tournament. It was an absolute rollercoaster ride for the team, with several victories and defeats. Congratulations, Gators, and get excited because the future of basketball is looking bright!

Hockey team in a huddle on the ice.

Hockey Day 2023: Supporting our Community On and Off the Ice 

Hayden Blakely 

Ask any Havergal student what the best day of the year is. Without a doubt, the answer you will get is Hockey Day. Hundreds of screaming fans and a sea of green and gold ensures a good time for all students in Grades 4 to 12. 

With Piper Nixon and Beats Tura leading the team as our Team Captains and Abby Smith, Brianna Livingstone and Scarlett Nowakowski as our Assistant Captains, the Gators couldn’t have looked better out on the ice. It was a game full of action with every shot on the net matched by oohs and ahhs from the crowd. Although Bishop Strachan School won by a score of 3 to 2, our D1 Hockey Team put up an exceptional performance. Twenty minutes after the game was called, you could still hear the cheers and laughter coming from the 200-plus students waiting for the Hockey Team to come out for one last applause, a real indication of just how much spirit and support we students give to one another. When I think about past Hockey Days at Havergal, I never dwell on the score or the end result. What really resonates is the sense of pride I have when surrounded by so many peers all cheering our lungs out. 

Piper Nixon explains that the overwhelming support she felt on Hockey Day was the greatest honour for her, which is why it was immensely important to her that we bring that sense of support to those who are struggling. This led Nixon and a group of Grade 12 student leaders (Beats Tura, Sophie Hodgson, Abbey Mckee and Madison Cunningham) to start Hockey for Health, a partnership with Children’s Help Phone to raise money and awareness around mental health resources for youth. Not only did this fundraiser raise money and attention for the organization, but it also brought joy to those who supported the cause, adding to how special Hockey Day is. 

Hockey Day this year was a tough and challenging game, but our Gators fought hard out there and left it all on the ice. It was a truly remarkable game and, even though Hewie may be on vacation, Hockey Day and the sense of community it brings will always belong to the Havergal Gators. 

The D2 Hockey Team.

A New Generation of Hockey Gators 

Sarah Botha and Sarah McQuillen Young

Hockey has been a core element of the Havergal community and spirit since the early days of sports at Havergal. Hockey is a sport that brings students together across all grades, whether they are on the team or cheering on the team on Hockey Day. With the overwhelming number of players eager to become a part of the Havergal Hockey Team this year, a D2 team was formed! The team brings together students from Grades 7 to 10, both on and off the ice. 

In January, the D2 team ventured to Buffalo alongside the Varsity Hockey Team to play Nichols School. The team crushed their opponents in an intense game with a final score of 4 to 1. This was a big win for them as they lost to Nichols School this past December in a close game. Marlowe Andrews, a Grade 8 defender, said the Buffalo trip was her favourite memory on the team this season. The team bonded over this win with a fun trip to Target. 

Sarah Keddie, Captain of the D2 Hockey Team, has great advice for anyone looking to get involved in hockey at Havergal. She said: “You should definitely give it a chance because it is an amazing environment and a great way to make friends in other grades.” Even if you’re not a hockey player, coming out and supporting your friends is a great way to experience the spirit at Havergal. 

With the two teams consisting of strong players, the future of Havergal hockey is bright. We are excited to see these players continue their hockey careers at HC. Get ready to see these D2 Gators on the ice next year at hockey day to bring Hewie home!

Squash players on the squash court.

Building Community Through Squash: The Heartwarming Story of Our School’s Revived Team

Eshal Shakir

Everyone hold on to your rackets and get ready to squash some athletic records! We’ve got some exciting news to serve up. Havergal has just revived the Squash Team and, no, we are not talking about the vegetable! Squash is like tennis, but played in a smaller court with a bouncier ball. But don’t let that fool you, this sport is no joke. It requires fast reflexes, strategic thinking and a healthy dose of competitiveness. In squash, the fundamental concept is to continuously strike the ball against the front wall until your opponent fails to return it, either by allowing the ball to bounce twice or hitting it out of bounds. 

Maya Askari and Sienna Grossi revived the Squash Team this year because they are both passionate for the sport and wanted to play it more, aside from just outside of school. The final Havergal competitive Squash Team was composed of 16 players and had a very successful season. At the finals, there were four divisions and HC won three of them! Mr. Adams and Mx. Curtis were the coaches for this overachieving team filled with helpful and encouraging students who support each other, especially because many team members are new to the sport. The team hopes CISAA will make this sport an official league next year.

For those of you who missed out on playing squash this season, there will be plenty of opportunities in seasons to come. What really made this year’s team special was the sense of community, support and drive that developed among the players as they began to love the sport. So grab your goggles and dust off your rackets and get ready to unleash your inner squash superstar. It’s time to make your mark on the court and show everyone what Havergal is made of. Let’s squash the competition!

Jasmine playing hockey.

Jasmine Ke: Middle School Athlete Spotlight

Abby Smith

Jasmine Ke is a stellar player on Havergal’s Varsity D1 Hockey Team and was the only Middle School student on the team. Jasmine learned to skate when she was three years old and started playing hockey at four years old. Initially, her parents wanted her to be a figure skater, but she disliked the skates. So, her coach brought her a pair of hockey skates and, after skating once in them, she said it felt incredibly natural. From there, her hockey journey commenced. 

Jasmine plays for the Mississauga Senators, an all-boys hockey team, and dominates on and off the ice. She remarks her favorite part of hockey is the fast pace and the sense of team building it promotes. When asked what advice she would give others considering playing hockey, she says: “Regardless of your age or personality, no one cares as long as you’re willing to improve yourself and your skills while also helping others. This is the only way to truly enjoy the sport or any other sport, for that matter.” She believes that even if you don’t play hockey, sports are generally beneficial, as it is not just about “winning gold every day.” Sports are a fantastic way to meet new people. Jasmine is a dedicated, hard-working and passionate athlete and is a significant contributor to the Havergal athletic community. The future is bright for this excellent Middle School athlete!

Garth Nichols running in the triathlon in Abu Dhabi.

Staff Highlight: Mr. Nichols

Andi Meyerowitz

Here at Havergal, we are surrounded by hundreds of students that have talents like no other. As much as we love to show off our amazing Havergal talents, there are a group of people we don’t highlight so much… our staff! Mr. Nichols, VP of Experiential Education and Innovation, attended and competed in the World Championships for triathlon in Abu Dhabi this past November. Mr. Nichols competed in his “sweet spot” distance, which is the Olympic distance of a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and a 10 km run! 

Mr. Nichols has been doing triathlons for eight years. In 2019, he had a lot of success in his races and planned to qualify for the World Championships in 2020. Just shortly after he committed to qualifying for the 2020 World Championships, the world shut down faster than anyone could have imagined. Fortunately, triathlon racing is completely outdoors and therefore could operate some smaller events within Ontario. Mr. Nichols continued to race in smaller events throughout Ontario in 2021 and was able to gain a qualifier spot for the Olympic distance World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

In my interview with Mr. Nichols, he explained that he does triathlons to better his overall health and he truly has a love for the sport because of the experiences and connections he has made along the way. After he committed to the race in Abu Dhabi, he trained for the next year. A typical week of training was around 20 hours consisting of three swims, three to four bike rides, and three to four runs. His training through the COVID-19 restrictions was driven by self-motivation and his passion for fitness and training. 

In November 2022, Mr. Nichols travelled to Abu Dhabi to represent Team Canada. Surrounded by other triathletes, Mr. Nichols gained a deep appreciation for the people around him and the championship elevated his appreciation for this sport. Mr. Nichols had two goals for this race: to complete the race and to achieve a personal best time. After an over two-hour race, Mr. Nichols crossed the finish line with a massive smile across his face when he realized he had accomplished both his goals.

At the end of my interview with Mr. Nichols, I asked him what he would tell others who are passionate about something like this. He encourages others to, “Find something you love that you can push yourself to do.” He says, “Compete to be your best self, not to win” and to: “train for the bad days.” Mr. Nichols’ training was not always perfectly smooth sailing, but it’s the hard work and dedication that helped him continue on the journey and succeed. Congratulations, Mr. Nichols!