Maple Leaf

Masters Committee Q&A

Featuring Ian Baggott – Chair of the Masters Steering Committee

We went behind the scenes with the Chair of the Masters Steering Committee, Ian Baggott, to get a crash course in all things Canadian Masters Hockey and to learn more about the important role the Committee plays in the operations of this programming.  

History Behind Canadian Masters Hockey 

The Field Hockey Canada Masters Hockey group kicked started all because of a conversation between two long-time friends, Ian Baggott and Rene Granat, goalie for both the ‘Golden Oldies’, Masters events and vice president for the Americas at the World Grand Masters Association (WGMA). Rene commented to Ian; “Why doesn’t Canada participate in Masters events”? As the Chair of FHC at the time, he took this as a challenge, the proverbial ‘dueller’s glove’ thrown at his feet! From there, the formation of FHC’s Masters ‘Steering’ Committee followed. The initial committee consisted of; Ali McGillivray, Don Paterson, Heather Banham, John McBryde and Shad Stephens, who were very dedicated in organizing our two initial Masters Teams for the 2016 World Cup in Canberra, Australia. 

 The People within the Masters Community 

All ‘active’ field hockey players or officials who are over the age of 35 are and can become a part of this community, whose purpose is to instil the philosophy of sport for life. There are seven different age categories (035, 040, 045, 050, 055, 060, 065) at the national competition level, available to both men and women to continue their field hockey journey. Within these age categories players have the option to engage in outdoor hockey or indoor hockey (once they hit the benchmark age of 040). There are approximately 1,600 Masters players across Canada and currently 148 of these athletes partake in these Masters National Level Teams.  

Often times many of these players come from the FHC National Teams and Senior Teams, as they have aged out of those programs and wish to continue their pursuit of field hockey as a player and/or coach, within the Masters community. Alan Hobkirk (coach of 60+), John Sacre (coach of 50+), Guy Manwaring (50+), Heather Banham (50+), Dave Bissett (60+) and Paul (Bubli) Chohan (60+), are but a few examples who have made this seamless transition.  

How to Get Involved

Contact the Masters Committee at  

1. How did you become involved with Masters, not only on the administration side but on the playing side as well?

 As Chair of the Masters Committee, I was also an active player. With the prospect of an over-60’s Masters team entered for the Barcelona Grand Masters (O-60’s and older) World Cup and a not overly large number of players in that age group, I attended selection trials for the group and was fortunate enough to be selected. 

2. What is the purpose of the Masters  Committee?

The Masters Committee mandate covers oversight and encouragement of all Masters activities and events (Outdoor, Indoor, Domestic and International) to include participation of officials and coaches. It must ensure consistency, alignment and adherence to FHC objectives with policies and guidelines and support of PSO’s.  

3. Who is involved on the Committee and what roles or responsibilities do they have?  

The original group who was behind the making of the Committee, Ali McGillivray, Don Paterson, Heather Banham, John McBryde and Shad Stephens, remain on the Committee today, along with two new recruits, Adam Hyde and Clare Ford. The structure of the Masters Committee is augmented to include Outdoor, Indoor, Officials & Domestic Sub-Committees. ‘Indoor’ and ‘Outdoor’ Sub-Committee members would be the ‘team leaders’ of the teams selected to the next international (biennial) World Cups or Regional events; Domestic Sub-Committee members would have similar roles for Canadian events. The ‘Officials’ Sub-Committee would be responsible for appointing technical officials and umpires to the above events from their list of qualified individuals. 

An immediate task for the Masters Committee is to appoint Chairs of the 4 sub-committees. Primary role of each Chair would be to coordinate activities of each team Manager attending the next event. Each team Manager would have a role as group Treasurer, Uniform, Accommodation and Travel coordinator.  

4. What are the monthly tasks associated with being a committee member? 

There are infrequent ‘regular’ meetings of these committees. Most meetings (via Zoom call) are called as circumstances demand, likely every 2 months; to coordinate Team coaches, player training/selection calendar, accommodation/uniform requirements, event budget and player deposit calendar. This process starts 18 months prior-to an event. 

5. What are the main goals of the Committee moving forward?

The Masters Committee is mostly concerned with program oversight and ensuring events adhere to common goals and expectations. One short-term goal would be the creation of Masters Divisions within local/Provincial leagues. This would form connectivity and competition within age-groups.  

6. What challenges does the Committee face? 

Engaging those small groups of Masters players to others within their province and connecting the various PSO’s Masters group to closer cohesion, as Master player chapters are small and isolated to a few ‘pockets’ close to playing facilities (fields or gymnasiums).