The day has finally come – it’s game day!
Canada’s women’s field hockey team opens the 2017 Gryphon Hockey World League Round Saturday against Mexico at 4:30pm PT (7:30pm ET) in West Vancouver, British Columbia.
The beginning of the competition ends months of anticipation, as Canada’s Women’s National Team finally gets to take to the turf on home soil.
Here is what to watch for as Canada’s competes in West Vancouver:
Home field advantage
Canada’s women don’t get to play at home very often, but when they do there is no shortage of support.
Fans showed up in droves to the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and helped push Canada to a bronze medal victory, making the team the first Women’s National Team to win a medal at the Pan Am Games since 1999.
If last week’s test series – during which Canada won three out of three games – is any indication, playing at home in West Vancouver, in a province where many of the women on the team are from and have family and friends coming to watch, will provide the same boon to Canada this year.
Counting with Kate
Canadian captain Kate Wright (Gillis) has slowly been inching her way up the table of games played for Canada’s Women’s National Team.
Wright is currently the most experienced active Women’s National Team player with 162 games played for Canada’s senior team.
In the team’s first game of the competition on Saturday, Wright will tie Laurelee Kopeck for second spot all-time with 163 games. If Wright plays all Canada’s games at Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2, she will have the chance to tie or surpass all-time leader Stephanie Jameson, who currently sits at 168 games played.
In most competitions, the final match – for all the marbles – is usually the most important. And while both teams that end up in this year’s Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 final match in West Vancouver will undoubtedly be looking to be crowned champions, it is the Semi-Finals in this competition that have the most implication.
With only the top-two finishers in West Vancouver moving on to World League Round 3, where 2018 World Cup spots are up for grabs later this summer, winning the semi-final carries a lot of weight.
Canada’s women will be aiming to finish first in their pool (Pool B) and advance directly to the tournament semifinal, in which they will be looking to punch their ticket through to the next round of World League (the Semi-Finals, either in Brussels, Belgium or Johannesburg, South Africa) with one more win.
Then and only then will the focus will shift to the final and the opportunity to be win it all at home.
Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 in West Vancouver has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. Additionally, we would like to thank the Province of British Columbia and viaSport for their generous support of this project.
The West Vancouver Field Hockey Club is also proud partner of this event.