Women’s hockey became a CIS sport in 1997-98 but the University of Saskatchewan female students have been competing in the sport since 1912.
The first known women’s roster was printed in the Sheaf in 1914. They started competing against other female team in 1917. The women’s team played the University of Alberta women’s team in 1920 — once in Edmonton and again in Saskatoon. Saskatchewan won both meetings.
The early women’s teams were crowned the non-sanctioned Western Canadian women’s inter-university hockey league champion in 1921 and again in 1922. They won the city championship in 1929, 1932, 1939 and 1942. The women’s team started to play under the Huskiette name in 1937.
Women’s hockey continued on campus throughout the years but after 1955, it was intramural or interfaculty competition only. It was not until 1976 that varsity hockey returned from women’s at the Saskatoon campus. Two undergraduates, Nancy Dragan and Jane Hansford, were at the head of the reappearance.
An annual intramural tournament began and eventually other university teams began to play. In 1980-81,
the women’s team was recognized as a Huskie club. In 1977, Dragan and Hansford’s team captured second place at the University’s invitational intramural tournament.
A sponsorship was granted by Labatts Brewery and the first Labatt Cup: Women’s Hockey Tournament was organized in 1979. it featured eight teams including the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba. Alberta won the tourney.
In the third year of the tournament, it was renamed the Western Canada Cup. It became the unofficial Western Canada women’s championship.
The 1981-82 season marked the initial Canada- wide championship for women’s hockey. The championships were in Brantford, Ont., and Saskatchewan’s gold and black uniforms were sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart. The Huskiettes finished seventh at the event.
When the CIAU sanctioned women’s hockey and provided an official national championship, Kim Cudmore’s intramural/ club team formed to be the Huskies entry.
Donna Raeburn took over the head coaching position in 1999. Under Raeburn, the Huskies earned an appearance in the CIS Championship in 2003 after a finishing 8-12 and defeating the University of Regina Cougars in the Canada West semifinal.
At the championship, the Huskies entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed. They exceeded expectations finishing fourth after losing in the bronze medal game 1-0 to the University of McGill.
It wasn’t until the 2007-08 season, that the Huskies returned to the playoffs having their best season ever in the CIS, finishing with a 12-9-3 record and in third place. Although, the team lost in the semifinal in two straight games to the University of Manitoba Bisons, it was a huge step in the right direction for the program.
In the summer of 2007, Steve Kook, who had been co-head coach for the previous three seasons and named Canada West Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year in 2007-08, was named the first-ever fulltime women’s hockey coach at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Huskies program has continued to grow finishing in a Canada West third place in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10. In 2009-10, the Huskies made history finishing with a program-best 16-5-3 record. Breanne George was named the league MVP, as well as the Huskies first-ever CIS First Team All-Canadian. Kook became the first CIS major award winner when he was named the CIS Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year. He was also handed the Canada West Coach of the Year for a second time in his career.
The Huskies successfully made the playoffs again in 2012-13 marking their sixth straight playoff appearance.
In 2013-14, the Huskies made history capturing their first-ever Canada West title. Saskatchewan did it in historic fashion playing in three overtime games lasting 17 periods and 296 minutes. CIS Rookie of the Year Kaitlin Willoughby scored the game winning goal. The Huskies went on to win a bronze medal at the CIS Championship.
History taken from: Dogs on Ice A History of Hockey at the University of Saskatchewan. Written by Michael P.J. Kennedy and Bill Seymour.