The UPEI Men’s Soccer Panthers were beginning to cause a stir in the AUAA. On September 16, 1983, rookie coach Gordie Wilson was quoted in The Guardian: “Our number one goal is to finish 1st in the west division and win the AUAA Championship right here at UPEI.” That year he went on to fulfill his promise to Islanders. For the first time ever, UPEI won the AUAA championship, going undefeated in regular season play with a 9-0-2 record. Only seven goals were scored against them in their 11 league games.
UPEI hosted the AUAA Championship on the last weekend in October. On the eve of the finals, it snowed heavily. But with the help of over 50 volunteers, including Athletic Director Ed Hilton, they laboured for about four hours to shovel and scrape off the snow. The game was delayed for only a half-hour. That Sunday afternoon, the Panthers capped off a truly amazing season by blanking the defending champion UNB Red Shirts 2-0 to claim the Canon W. J Clarke Trophy, emblematic of AUAA soccer supremacy. The Panthers were anchored by Steve Polenz who was AUAA MVP and MVP Defensive Player. Other AUAA All-Stars were J. F. Painchaud (goal), Glen Smiley (midfielder), Frank Strohemier (fullback), and Richard Pierre-Gilles (forward). Polenz, Painchaud, and Smiley were selected to the CIAU All-Canadian team.