Former York University field hockey head coach Marina van der Merwe was formally inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 21 at a ceremony at Mattamy Athletic Centre.
van der Merwe is a Canadian legend in field hockey, and is the first individual representing the sport to be inducted into the country’s Hall of Fame.
She was the head coach of York’s field and indoor hockey teams from 1971-99, guiding the field hockey team to six Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) silver medals, two CIAU bronze medals and seven Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships. She also led the indoor hockey team to seven OUA titles.
She is a two-time recipient of the CIAU coach of the year award, one that is now named in her honour, and a three-time winner of the OUA award.
For nearly 20 years, van der Merwe was also the head coach of the Canadian women’s national team, overseeing a tenure that is widely regarded as the pinnacle of field hockey for Canada on an international level. While sitting at the helm of the program, the team competed at three Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992), six World Cups between 1983-94 and three Pan Am Games (1987, 1991, 1995). Under to her leadership, the women’s national team was the highest-ranked summer sport team in the country, male or female, and became one of Canada’s most impressive team sport success stories as she created an international powerhouse.
She entered the Hall of Fame Oct. 21 alongside speed skater Susan Auch, ice hockey players Paul Coffey and Daniel Goyette, para-swimmer Michael Edgson, judoka Nicolas Gill, cross-country skiers Sharon and Shirley Firth, freestyle skier Jennifer Heil, soccer player Craig Forrest, cyclist Lori-Ann Meunzer and golfer Jocelyne Bourassa.
Additionally, van der Merwe is part of the inaugural class for Field Hockey Canada’s Hall of Fame, and she was honoured for that at a ceremony held during the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.