Alison Lee competes at the 2017 Pan American Indoor Cup. Yan Huckendubler/Photo
The road to the Indoor World Cup started last weekend in Toronto.
Shankar Premakanthan, assistant coach of the women’s national indoor team, said the turnout at last weekend’s camp was an excellent indicator that this team is already off to a great start. The multi-phase plan developed by program-head Louis Mendonca and Premakanthan is designed to increase the profile and participation in indoor hockey in Canada and set the team up for World Cup qualification.
According to Premakanthan, the camp was well-attended and went really well from his perspective.
“We had 35 players attend. Right now, it’s all about acquiring the skills and tactics in the indoor game,” he said. “We have a wide range of ages and skills and we’re trying to establish a baseline standard for all players before we move into the next phase of the plan.”
Alison Lee, captain of the 2017 iteration that failed to qualify for the 2018 Indoor World Cup, said the early start in this cycle sets the team up for success long-term.
“Definitely starting early is a huge advantage. It’s already looking very promising for the program and the early start and emphasis on more competition can only result in more success moving forward,” Lee said.
Lee added that the young team’s participation at the Pan American qualifier in the fall adds more international experience to the roster moving forward.
Both Lee and Premakanthan said the outdoor game and the indoor game have many transitional skills that make the two games complementary to one another.
“I think the biggest assets that players can transfer from the indoor game to outdoor is working in tight spaces and making pressured decisions,” Premakanthan said. “Things happen so much faster in indoor, you have to make quick decisions and you have to have the skills to execute.”
Lee added that although the tactics can be quite different from indoor to outdoor, the refined skills open up a player’s arsenal substantially.
“In indoor, you can’t lift the ball, so you have to be good at trapping and very good at the fundamentals of dribbling,” Lee said. “That translates very well to the outdoor game.”
Lee is an example of a player who focused attention on indoor hockey earlier in her career and was eventually selected to the outdoor national team. With that in mind, according to Premakanthan, the goals of the indoor program are two-pronged.
“Of course, the program is working towards success at Pan Americans and towards World Cup qualification,” he said. “But we are also take pride in developing players so they can get selected to the outdoor national team; the Olympic hopeful team.”
With program director, Louis Mendonca, at the helm and support staff such as Premakanthan working hard to push the program forward, the women’s indoor team is off to a fast start looking forward to the coming qualification and hopefully a World Cup spot in the coming years.
The coaching staff has selected 27 players to make up their phase-1 squad. View the roster here.
Photos from January 6-7 training camp contributed by Shankar Premakanthan.