On the heels of a huge World League 3 tournament in London, England which culminated in the Men’s National Team beating India for a qualifying spot in the 2018 World Cup, the team finally has their homecoming. And it feels good.
The Canadian men were back at their Vancouver office on Monday, sparking a series of at-home training weeks to prepare for the upcoming Pan American Cup.
Coming off their big wins in London – the team also picked up a substantial 6-0 win against Pakistan – the team goes into training sitting in a unique position.
In contrast to years passed when the men headed into the Pan American Cup with nothing in their back pocket, this year the team moves towards the Pan American Cup with qualification already assured. So, this homecoming feels a little different.
“It’s fantastic for our group that we can move forward to the next year and a half with a lot of confidence,” team captain Scott Tupper says. “And know that we’ve punched our ticket, but also did it at our first opportunity.”
For the team, training intensity and practice level hasn’t changed, but some of the edge is taken off.
For Tupper personally, he’s enjoying being back at home after spending the majority of the last six months playing club hockey in the Netherlands.
“It’s great, I always enjoy training in Vancouver especially in the summertime,” Tupper adds. “After being away for a few months and being out of from the daily environment it’s always fun and refreshing to come back and join the boys.”
Heading into the Pan Am Cup, the team has proved they can punch above their weight – successfully taking on teams who rank higher than them in the world standings. With this confidence in mind, and qualification already cemented, Tupper and team now focus on winning and only winning.
“Four years ago we had the burden of having qualifying for the World Cup. Now…we can go out and just play, and purely play for gold rather than having that extra attachment. The guys can play a bit freer and really have a run.”
Catch Canada’s Men play for top spot on the podium at the 2017 Pan American Cup when they open against Trinidad & Tobago on August 4th at 9am PT/12pm ET. For more 0f Canada’ schedule, results and recaps, click here.