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March 21, 2023

See How She Got Started: OUA & McMaster University Field Hockey Player Angela Ponikvar


See How She Got Started in the OUA

Anchored in the efforts to spotlight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) student-athletes, the initiative See How She Got Started showcases and tells the story of how some of the conference’s talented student-athletes first got involved in sport and have made their way to the varsity stage on which they currently shine.  It is also hoped that their stories can inspire young athletes to aspire to compete in varsity-level sports.



Meet OUA Student-Athlete Angela Ponikvar 

University - 

McMaster University


Sport -

Field Hockey


Year of Eligibility -

2nd Year


Hometown - 

Burlington, Ontario 


Program of Study - 




How did you first get involved in your sport?

I first started playing field hockey in grade 9. I knew I wanted to play a fall sport in high school but I was very average at basketball. My brother told me that he knew a lot of girls that never played field hockey before high school and started in grade 9 and really enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a go! My first time ever picking up a stick was the first try out and let me tell you I thought it was cool but I really didn’t think I was going to make the team. Turns out the coaches took a chance on me. Throughout the season I really came to love the sport and how unique it is. So I decided to pursue the sport outside of the school team and develop my skills. 


What most interested you about your sport that made you want to pursue it at a high level?

What interested me most about the sport is that there’s ALWAYS a new skill to learn. Whether it be a way of passing, defending, or beating someone on offence there’s just constant learning. Playing the game you’re always seeing new things that you can implement in your own skillset. This aspect makes it fun to show up for every practice and game, so much so that it made me sad to think that my last year of high school would be my last time competing for my school. That’s when I knew I had to consider field hockey programs at the university level.   


Was there a specific moment/experience that led you to believe you could compete in your sport at a high level, and if so, what was it?

I’ve always had confidence when playing the game because I think that’s a huge part of performing your best. Although, a specific experience that led me to believe I could compete in my sport at a high level was when I  was playing a home game in high school in grade 12 and there was a 3 on 1 coming at me in the back field I was patient, stepped and won the ball. I then broke out up the field to create a scoring opportunity. I knew at that moment that my calmness and presence on the field could allow me to play my sport at a high level. I thought if I can do that and further develop my skills why couldn’t I play?   


What is your fondest memory/experience of being involved in your sport thus far?

My fondest experience of being involved in my sport up until this point was our home opener this year. Last season was our first year in the OUA and we didn’t win one game. This year our goal was to make playoffs- which would require winning. In our home opener we won our game. It was such a sweet feeling just knowing how far our team has come and how great we can be starting off our season so strong! I am so happy that in my last year at Mac the future is so bright!  


Is there someone who inspires you to continue to pursue your sport at this high level (i.e., coach, professional athlete, family member, etc.) and what makes them an inspiration to you? 

My coaches KJ and Jono inspire me to pursue field hockey at a high level. They are both such great role models. Both having careers playing the sport professionally and for team Canada they have an abundance of knowledge and understanding of the game. They understand the mental and physical aspects of the game like no other, so having them as my coaches pushes me to strive to get to that next level. They are an inspiration to me because they are always giving so much to the field hockey community. 


What excites you most about continuing your athletic journey at the varsity level within the OUA?

What excites me most is the opportunity to compete at a high level and to grow the field hockey program here at McMaster! Just from when I started to where we are now, is so amazing to see how far we’ve come and how much of a bright future we have. 



What is/are some of the more unique aspect(s) of your sport that others may not know about?

I’d say that there are many unique aspects of field hockey that many people don’t know about. A few to name; there’s only right handed sticks, you can’t kick the ball let alone let it touch your foot, goalies can’t cover the ball, on short corners there can be as many offensive players as you want but only four defenders, and around the world people call our sport “hockey”and what we call hockey they call “ice hockey”.   


If someone else was looking to start playing your sport, what one piece of advice would you give them to get them started?

I would say try picking up a stick and playing around with a ball before your first tryout is super helpful! Even to this day my motto is “the more touches the better”, because if you feel more comfortable with your stick you’re able to do so much more.


What is one critical thing that you do to try to continue to experience improvement within your sport (i.e., specific drill/exercise, training regimen, routine, etc.)?

One critical thing that I do to experience improvement is after each practice I focus on a skill that I am not consistently performing well with so that over time I can implement it into my play. 


What would you say to your 10-year-old self about playing and staying in sport?

I would say staying in sport has taught me so much about myself and how strong I am. It has taught me confidence and mindset of working hard. Most importantly it has introduced me to my best friends!   


Is there one strategy that you find works well for you in creating a positive student/athlete balance in your life?

One strategy that I find works well for creating a positive student/athlete balance is creating deadlines for yourself ahead of school due dates so that if things come up which they do, you can still complete everything! 



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