Team Canada to embark on final training tour prior to 2018 Commonwealth Games
In 50 days, the Women’s National Team will be facing off against world number five, Australia on their home soil in the opening game of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Playing against Australia, in Australia on opening day. It doesn’t get any better than that – Kate Wright
According to Kate Wright, captain of the Women’s National Team, between now and that moment, there’s a lot of room for improvement. That improvement started in January in Chile with an undefeated test series and now, the Canadian Women’s National Team departs to Chula Vista, California for a two-week training camp featuring four test matches against the USA national team. Wright said the team made great strides in Chile and she is looking forward to more in California over the next two weeks.
“It was great to play against Chile head-to-head in non-qualification games. We played pretty free and implemented our new tactics,” Wright said. “Moving forward, we need to trust what we started to build in Chile and continue to improve that attacking mentality.”
Newly appointed head coach, Giles Bonnet, said he’s excited to tackle the second phase of the year and continue building on what the team learned in Chile when it comes to the new style of play and team structure.
“We will start to introduce patterns of play within the structures and focus hard on the refining of technical skills required to execute the systems,” Bonnet said.
Getting competitive international games is a geographical challenge for Team Canada. Being removed from Europe, the global centre of hockey-playing nations, means the team has to travel far to get those games in. With a major multi-sport competition —Commonwealth Games— lurking in the spring, Wright said getting games against Chile and USA is crucial to their year-plan.
“We don’t have the luxury of playing a different nation every week. These opportunities don’t happen that often for us; We want to make the most of it,” she said. “It’s great preparation for the Commonwealth Games and even more so looking forward to Olympic qualification.”
Upon returning from Chula Vista, the national team will have a month to get everything set before they depart for Commonwealth Games. Even now, the player selection is looming and Wright said she can feel the team’s excitement in preparation for April 5.
“Playing against Australia, in Australia on opening day. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Wright said. “We are really looking forward to it. There are so many great hockey-playing nations in the Commonwealth. It’s such a great experience.”