Feature photo provided by Yan Huckendubler
Article contributed by: Chelcie Mendonça
It’s been a busy second half of the summer for athletes in the Men’s Junior Development Squad. Most, if not all, competed at Nationals in Toronto. They followed that up immediately with a five-day training camp in Toronto. Last week, a small contingent of athletes wrapped up the summer with a four-game series against the Chilean U19 squad in Burlington, Vermont. The coaches for the event were Mark Dekker, Roel van Maastrigt and Chelcie Mendonça.
The Canadian squad, comprised of primarily Ontario and Quebec athletes, were up against an experienced Chilean side and the first game proved they were in for a tough test. In game one, Chile attacked quickly and precisely and won the game 5-1. Jackson Syyros notched the lone goal for Canada. Dekker said, “the first game was a wake-up call not only in terms of game play, but especially in terms of playing style.”
Canada came back in the second game with an added sense of urgency, knowing what to expect out of Chile. Canada struck first in the second game and eventually played the game out to a tie. By game three, fatigue was catching up to both squads and despite two quick Canadian goals to start the third game, Chile stormed back to win 3-2.
The final game was a tremendous show of heart and hard defense. Canada took the lead and held onto a 3-2 victory in the final game. Given the short bench and youth of the Canadian athletes, the coaching staff are very proud of the results and performances. They finished the series with a 1-2-1 record against a quality Chile team. According to coach van Maastrigt, “sport does not build character, it reveals it,” and added that the young men showed their character and hard work especially in the final few days of the series.
With the summer of competition and training wrapping up, a lucky few of the Junior Development athletes will be selected to represent Canada at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Keep tabs on the Field Hockey Canada website and social media for a roster announcement later in August. Click here for full photo gallery.
Canadian junior squad takes on Chile in a four-game test series in Burlington, Vermont. Photos: Yan Huckendubler