Women's Athletics

Helen Luckman

Helen Luckman has been an important figure in the fight for women's athletics at Western. She received a diploma in Physical Education in Scotland. She later completed a Masters in Education in the early 1980s. Before arriving at Western, she worked at McMaster University within women's athletics. There, she coached a number of sports including gymnastics, field hockey, curling and track and field.  She also advised on fencing and squash.
Luckman coached the field hockey team part-time at Western in the 1970s, before becoming faculty in 1981. She first worked in the Department of Physical Education and Athletics and was also involved with intercollegiate athletics and acted as Vice-Chair of Intercollegiate Athletics. She coached the field hockey team in the 1980s as well as the tennis team. After her contract ended with the athletic department in 1986, she received an honourary White Blanket for her accomplishments. It was the second one given as an honour (the first was to Mrs. Elfrida Kukainis Berzins).  
Women's programs were successful under Luckman. It was clear she cared for and worked hard on behalf of women's sports. Even when she moved onto to the Department of Alumni Relations and Development in 1986 she was still dedicated to women's sports. On one occasion she ensured that a list of the FWP Jones trophy winners (the top women athletes of year) was displayed, in order to demonstrate the importance of women in sports.  View that list here.

She was a member at large of the the Ontario Women's Interuniversity Athletic Association and then the Ontario University Athletics, and important in Homecoming as well. She was also one of the women who started the Women's Athletic Alumnae, which has been important in recognizing women's athletics.  Most recently, in 2004, Luckman and Pat Morden wrote Mustang Tales: The Story of Women’s Sports at the University of Western Ontario because they recognized the lack of women's perspective in the history of athletics at Western.