Former UBC Thunderbirds Captain Poonam Sandhu Named New Women’s Field Hockey Head Coach

Desibuzzbc-Banner-Metrics-FinalPoonam Sandhu"I am very excited for this new chapter with the women's program," said Sandhu. "UBC has always supported me throughout my athletic career and I'm fortunate to have this opportunity to give back to the UBC community. As a proud Thunderbird, I look forward to providing our athletes with the same values I received from my great experience as a student athlete at UBC."

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds have named their former captain Poonam Sandhu as the new head coach of the women's field hockey program.

Sandhu is a five-time U SPORTS national champion as a player and won a sixth title this past November as an assistant coach with the team when they won gold on home turf at UBC.

In addition to her experience with the Thunderbirds, Sandhu has also competed internationally as a member of the Canadian women's field hockey team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She is a two-time U SPORTS All-Canadian and a two-time U SPORTS Championship All-Star having scored the game-winning goal in the championship final in both 2012 and 2015.

"I am very excited for this new chapter with the women's program," said Sandhu. "UBC has always supported me throughout my athletic career and I'm fortunate to have this opportunity to give back to the UBC community. As a proud Thunderbird, I look forward to providing our athletes with the same values I received from my great experience as a student athlete at UBC."

Sandhu was named interim head coach in December following the appointment of former head coach Robin D'Abreo as Director of Athletics, Operations and Team Support. D'Abreo was at the helm for the last four seasons and kept the winning tradition going by leading the team to four straight McCrae Cups as U SPORTS National Champions.

Poonam Sandhu3"I'm absolutely delighted to have Poonam lead the team," said D'Abreo. "She has lived the student athlete experience first hand at UBC and understands the focus and drive needed to achieve excellence on the field and in the classroom. Having represented Canada at the National level, she also understands the elements of a high performance training environment and will continue to develop these within the program. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, she understands the value of the team culture and traditions that have been the single biggest reason for the program's success in my time leading it. She has already proven to be an excellent coach for the program and I'm confident she will do a fantastic job leading it."

In addition to her experience with the Thunderbirds, Sandhu has also competed internationally as a member of the Canadian women's field hockey team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She is a two-time U SPORTS All-Canadian and a two-time U SPORTS Championship All-Star having scored the game-winning goal in the championship final in both 2012 and 2015.

A Vancouver native, Sandhu holds a Master's degree in Applied Sport Psychology and Exercise Science. In addition to coaching both varsity and club programs, she also runs a small business.

Assuming the reigns of the 19-time national champions, Sandhu and the Thunderbirds will begin their quest for an eighth straight U SPORTS title in September.

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