Winter 2024

Gator Zone

Headshot of Carla diFilippo

Message from the Upper School Athletics Director

Ms. Carla Di Filippo

Hello Gators,

The winter athletic season at Havergal College is not just about competition; it’s about fostering a sense of community and wellbeing among students. Through regular practice sessions, league games, team bonding activities and coaching support, students develop important life skills such as perseverance, resilience and leadership. More than 425 students played on 27 winter teams to achieve our athletics mission of developing confidence to remain active throughout one’s entire life. 

After an exhibition season last winter and with pressure from schools like Havergal, CISAA created the first-ever Girls Squash League. The team competed in the CISAA finals on February 21, where Havergal won the A-Flight Championships. This would not have been possible without the dedication and support of our HC coaches: Mx. Curtis and Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams was instrumental in the development of the league, creating league guidelines and tournament rules for CISAA. Our Swim Team continues to dominate the water winning an impressive three CISAA Championships and qualifying more than 15 athletes for the provincial meet, OFSAA. Congratulations to all of our winter teams on their efforts this term!

It’s impossible to write about the winter term without mentioning Hockey Day. We hosted more than 800 students and 100 faculty and staff at Mattamy Arena to support the Gators. As always, the Havergal spirit was on full display. I encourage everyone to check out the @havergal_gators Instagram for some highlights. The Hockey for Health initiative was a success with numerous student-led activities aimed at “chomping the stigma” surrounding mental health, as well as fundraising over $2000 for Kids Help Phone. Our Prefects, Kaitlyn and Paige, along with the Sports Council, continue to highlight everything HC athletics and I am grateful for their passion and love for the Gators! 

Finally, I’d like to mention our HC coaches: these coaches go beyond teaching the technical aspects of a sport; they serve as mentors, motivators and role models who contribute significantly to the overall development of our students. Thank you, coaches, for your time, passion and support of our athletes. 

I look forward to some sunshine in the upcoming spring season!

Roll Gators!

Ms. D

Headshot of Anna Bartlett

Message from the JS Athletics Director

Ms. Anna Bartlett

With Intramurals, Squads, Squad Teams and Teams you can be sure that all of the girls at the Junior School are keeping active during the chilly winter months. 

The gyms were buzzing with excitement at Havergal’s Junior School; for the first time, we had nine Volleyball Teams and 82 players from Grade 4 to 6. This is the highest number of participants in Volleyball at a school in the CISAA. The teams went on to bump, set and spike their way into the finals, which were hosted at Havergal on February 22.

The U12 Hockey Team represented Havergal on Hockey Day. The players proudly stepped onto the ice in front of more than 1,500 spectators. Our three Grade 1 to 3 Multisport Squads and the Badminton Squad have also been having a lot of fun. Sydney Peters, a Havergal alumni, has stepped in to coach these students and we are proud to have her back in a coaching role. 

It has been wonderful to hear the sounds of joy coming from the gyms every recess. The gym is always packed with one grade at a time playing intramurals. From benchball to invasion, the students enjoy a break from the cold while they play fun games and develop their skills. 

Looking ahead to the spring, we will be offering a U12 Ultimate Team, which will be the only girl’s team to compete in a co-ed league. Students can also try out for our U12 Softball Team and, of course, our 90+ Track and Field Team will be out in full force. Multisport and Basketball/Soccer Squads will also be offered for the younger grades. 

Registration closes Friday, March 8, so be sure to get your child signed up for Junior School athletics! 

Go Gators! 

Ms. Bartlett

Student Sports Corner

Headshot of Nicole.

Message from the Student Editor

Nicole Stanley

I am pleased to present the Gator Zone Winter 2023-24 edition. 

In this issue, we tackle a variety of topics spotlighting thriving teams at Havergal, staff highlights, surges in sports popularity and the one-and-only Hockey Day! By now, I’m sure you were either at the game at Mattamy Arena or heard all about the exciting Havergal Varsity Hockey game against Bishop Strachan School (BSS) on February 13. 

Big props to our amazing Captain Scarlett Nowakowski for showing true leadership to not only her fellow hockey teammates, but to all of our Havergal community. In the articles ahead, we aim to acknowledge the amazing staff and students who have contributed to the success of Havergal’s programs. 

Ironically it is in the cold and grey days of winter when Havergal athletics truly shine. From volleyball to hockey, our intrepid writers have showcased a bevy of amazing achievements. Our Gators have been nothing short of remarkable. While the victories are important, it has been a pleasure to watch so many athletes create lifelong friendships and enduring memories. 

A heartfelt thank you to the dedicated Gator Zone team, including Ms. Di Filippo, Ms. Pink, Ms. Bartlett, the Sports Prefects and our talented writers for their contributions. Your efforts bring these stories to life and capture the genuine spirit of our athletic community. 

I’m thrilled to see what our Gators will accomplish in the coming spring season. With that, I hope you enjoy the second edition of the Gator Zone 2023-24!


Senior Hockey Team members

Message from the Sports Prefects 

Kaitlyn Windover and Paige Edwards

Hey Gators!

We cannot believe that the winter term is already coming to an end, with only the spring term left to go! Even with the sadness that comes with this ending, we must celebrate all of our Gator achievements and good times this winter. It truly was an awesome term!

Before the winter break, we had our second Gator Day of the year, with our U20 Volleyball Team putting on a show against Holy Trinity School. So many people came out to watch them from all grades. The ever-lasting support from our green and gold fans not only led the team to a win, but also served as a reminder of what makes Havergal Athletics so special!

As Sports Prefects, we would like to think that our amazing media skills on Instagram are what make the fans show up. But, in all honesty, we know the HC fans go to EVERY game so they can cheer on their friends from the sidelines! However, the havergal_gators Instagram is still going very strong with the continuation of Athlete of the Week and Games of the Week being posted. Huge thanks to our Sports Council (SpoCo) for this, who ensures everyone feels involved and celebrated in athletics at Havergal. 

This term of course included the highly anticipated Hockey Day 2024, which was amazing. Even without bringing Hewie home, the Hockey Team definitely won the day with spirit from the HC community, leaving everyone with an incredible experience. As we expected, the Havergal Gators were overflowing with green and gold, taking over the Mattamy Arena with their crazy outfits and loud cheers. The unconditional support felt from the crowd left us players speechless, which contributes to the legacy this day leaves for women in sports. Fun fact: in the same week as Hockey Day, the Professional Women’s Hockey League broke the record for the most spectators attending a women’s hockey game at a sold-out Toronto vs. Montreal game!

This term also served as an incredible opportunity for our entire community to get involved in athletics. Most notably, through House games and benchball. For winter House games, the vigorous game of tchoukball was played, which was a huge success! Kate Leonard House took the win in the end, but every House showed up super excited to participate and cheered on their peers the whole time. During Spirit Week, the Sports Council was in charge of benchball, which is taken very seriously at HC and involves all students and staff! The staff won and made sure the message of “Staff Don’t Lose!” was made very clear to the students through cheering and signs. Way to go, staff!

Now that fall and winter are complete, it is time to look forward to the spring season! We are beyond excited to see what blooms this term and to discover all that our Gators have in store because it is never short of amazing!

Your Sports Prefects,

Paige and Kaitlyn

Nordic Ski team posing at a downhill ski resort.

Nordic Ski

Charlotte Pickersgill and Aimee McCurdy Franks

This season has been a great one for Havergal’s most up-and-coming winter sport: Nordic Skiing! From many adventures in the snow to our 7.5 km race, we have developed our skills and bonded as a team.

We started off by travelling up to Collingwood for a two-day Nordic ski training camp! This tight-knit group was able to build their Nordic ski skills through lessons from experts, participate in a variety of trails and embark on a whole lot of team bonding. We were able to test our abilities by breaking off into small groups and tackling the challenging hills that faced us. Once we finally made it to the top of the hill, we were able to enjoy the glide down while trying to maintain our balance. As older students, this trip provided us with a great opportunity to work with the younger students and teach them Nordic ski skills. Finally, we ended our adventure with an entertaining bus ride back to the city, where we were able to connect over our shared love for Nordic skiing.

A couple of weeks later, we were able to participate in the OFSAA qualifying race at Lakefield College School. This race was the longest one yet, a lengthy 7.5 kilometers! Even though there were a few tumbles in the snow, we all finished together and improved so much this season. Nordic skiing was definitely a highlight of our year and we hope that the Nordic legacy carries on to the younger athletes.

Curling Team member throwing a rock.

Rise of Curling Popularity

Jessica Torkos

Congratulations to the Curling Team for gliding into another year of success on the curling rink! This year, we celebrate our highest curling engagement with our exhibition league having three times as many members as last year! Our exhibition players eagerly joined the D1 and D2 Curling Teams for practices on most Mondays and Wednesdays. As they rode on the bus together to the Leaside arena, they used the time to form a tight curling community, which helped to improve their curling skills. 

Each Curling Team consists of four players (plus a spare): the Lead, the Second, the Vice and the Skip. The team’s objective is to slide the most rocks into the target (known as the house) to gain points while keeping the other team’s rocks out. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins! Our new curlers quickly picked up the sport, while our returning players focused on refining their skills and techniques to compete against other schools.

Due to their emphasis on skill development and practice, most exhibition curlers did not participate in formal competitive games this season. Nevertheless, the rise in curling enthusiasm may hopefully lead to the possibility of exhibition games next year!

As for our D1 and D2 athletes, both teams enjoyed a very successful season. A special shoutout to our D2 team athletes for earning their spot in the CISAA playoffs. We wish them luck as they compete over the next couple of weeks, aiming to sweep their way to victory on the ice.

New Rowing Boat

New Rowing Boat from Endowment

Isabella Janczewski

When ergs replace boats and the pool becomes a makeshift lake, rowers know that winter training has officially begun. We Gators have been working hard to maintain our fitness and skills by being flexible, disciplined and creative. After months of early morning sessions, whether in the tanks, gym or Fitness Centre, the crew is anxious to return to Hanlan Boat Club. 

The upcoming 2024 spring season promises excitement, not only due to our strong crew and dedicated group of parents and coaches, but also because of the recent acquisition of a new convertible four/quad boat! This valuable addition to our fleet was made possible by the HC Rowing Endowment, established in 2017. The endowment, led by Jeff Howe and other dedicated members, was established with the goal of raising one million dollars to enhance the rowing experience at Havergal. These efforts have provided equipment procurement, repair and financial support for student-athletes, ensuring the program’s growth and success. “I’m grateful for the generosity of the current and previous parents who have contributed to the endowment. It allows our program to have top-quality equipment and explore new technologies to support our program,” says Head Coach, Michael Grieg.

As we leave the cold and dark winter behind and prepare to take on the spring season, we Gators will once again row by the motto: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Havergal's U20 D1 Hockey Team huddled in a circle on the ice.

Hockey Day

Lily Pettingill

From intramurals to dress-downs to cheer off, Spirit Week is everyone’s favourite time of the year. And, at the very centre of it all, is Hockey Day. On February 13, our community came together with record-breaking spirit to watch our varsity Hockey Team play against Bishop Strachan School (BSS). Led by Team Captain Scarlett Nowakowski, the Gators gave it their absolute all. Although the score ended up being 3-0 in favour of BSS, no one could come close to touching that Havergal spirit. 

Hockey Day is tricky to explain to somebody who doesn’t go to Havergal—it’s more so a celebration of school spirit than it is a game. As Havergal students know, the only way to believe the true intensity of the Havercult is to see it with your own eyes, and there is no better demonstration than Hockey Day. A mob of Gators decked out completely in green and gold, many of whom will not have voices the next day, staying until every last player is off the ice. It’s an unspoken rule in everyone’s minds that blistered palms and strained throats are a small price to pay to show our team how proud we are of them. 

Although I’ve always been a huge fan of the annual Havergal vs. BSS hockey game, this one in particular felt more special to me than any year before. It was my sixth and final Hockey Day. As someone who has watched this game religiously every year that I’ve been at Havergal, I can confidently say I have never seen a crowd like this one. Around 200 more people signed up for Hockey Day this year than last, which is no small feat given that last year’s game already had a crowd with more energy and enthusiasm than the average high school could ever imagine. Being part of such a powerful community is an incredible privilege and an experience that I will never forget. 

To the masses of people who show up each Hockey Day and contribute to such an unbelievable atmosphere, thank you for making the HC community what it is. To our Hockey Team, you guys are just awesome. Like every year, you played your hearts out. We are so, so, proud of you. Finally, to Hewie… hold on. It’s just a matter of time until you’re home.

Mme Hogan wearing golf gear.

Staff Profile—Kayleen Hogan

Carol Rong

If you’ve ever taken French at school, you may have had the privilege of having Mme. Hogan as your French teacher. But, did you know that beyond the classroom, she is highly involved in sports and plays a pivotal role in Havergal athletics? Coming from an athletic family, she was immersed in sports from a young age and always aspired to become a dancer. However, her brothers were all involved in hockey, so she grew up being the only girl on an all-boys hockey team. She also plays softball, soccer, ultimate (Frisbee), beach volleyball and golf. Currently, her favourite sport is golf, which is no surprise considering she grew up riding around in golf carts with her golf obsessed dad. 

During the pandemic, she began taking golf more seriously as it was accessible. She became obsessed with the sport in a way she had never before. Now, she is constantly working on her skills and loves golfing for the fresh air and sunshine. 

After coming to Havergal, Mme Hogan was introduced to even more sports. Playing beach volleyball inspired her to start coaching the U16 D2 Volleyball Team with Coach Lia, where she discovered that indoor volleyball is a completely different sport from beach volleyball. Despite the differences, she thoroughly enjoys coaching and has also coached the U13 Basketball Teams to a third and fourth overall finish in CISAA! 

When asked what advice she would give to students, she said, “Always put yourself out there and try something new, even if you might be mediocre because at Havergal it’s cool to try.”