Field Hockey Canada is excited to share the preliminary pools and schedule for the 2018 Commonwealth Games field hockey competition. The official announcement came this morning from the Gold Coast 2018 organizing committee. The hockey competition will take place April 5-14, 2018 at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre in Queensland, Australia.
The women’s tournament features four top-10 FIH ranked teams including the current Olympic Champions, England. Canada is ranked seventh at this event. Ian Rutledge, Canada’s Head Coach, said he is cherishing the opportunity for his athletes to gain valuable multi-sport game experience.
“The Commonwealth Games is a marquee event in any athlete’s career,” Rutledge said. “Australia does multi-sport events extremely well and are hockey fanatics. For our team to play in front of 5,000 spectators at such an event, in front of an appreciative hockey crowd will be a once in a lifetime experience.”
Rutledge said the competition in the Commonwealth is very strong, which adds even more value to an already amazing event.
“To be drawn in the same pool as world number four and five (Australia and New Zealand), will add additional excitement and opportunity to the experience,” Rutledge said.
The men’s tournament includes eight top-20 teams including the number-two ranked nation overall and current World Champion, Australia. Australia has won five consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals and is the early favourite at GC2018. Canada will have a chance to face Australia in preliminary play on April 8, 2017.
Paul Bundy, the newly appointed Head Coach of the Men’s National Team, said the parity at this event makes every game important.
“It’s very good competition,” Bundy said. “On any given day, any team can win games. These are the events we want to be at, we want to play against the top teams.”
Canada kicks off the event against a top team in New Zealand at 11:30 on April 6. According to Bundy, that game (featuring the 8th and 11th world ranked nations) will be extremely exciting. On top of valuable competition experience, Bundy said the Commonwealth Games fits strategically in their longer-term plan as well.
“The Commonwealth Games is a great litmus test to see where we are at heading moving into the World Cup,” he said. “…and it gives us a great opportunity to test our process at multi-sport events. Looking forward to Tokyo 2020, any chance we get to play a major multi-sport event, is great.”
GC2018 MEN’S HOCKEY COMPETITION POOLS
April 6 – CANADA vs NEW ZEALAND (11:30)
April 7 – CANADA vs SCOTLAND (11:30)
April 10 – CANADA vs AUSTRALIA (16:30)
April 11 – CANADA vs SOUTH AFRICA (21:30)