The U23 division started on Friday night under the lights at Tamanawis with a pair of men’s games. Alberta played vs Quebec and BC Lions took on the BC Rams. Most of the attention was on the battle of BC, as the two teams were coming out of a scrappy match last week at the India Club tournament. The BC teams tied as Quebec outlasted Alberta on field two at the same time.
The tournament really kicked into gear on Saturday morning BC Rams vs BC Lions in the women’s division. A one-sided affair, the Rams jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Despite dropping the opener, because of the tournament format, the Lions will have another look at the Rams before the round-robin is over.
The women’s division kept rolling in the afternoon as the Rams took on Ontario. This was a much more even match with BC jumping out to a lead and Ontario responding. Ontario’s coach Shankar Premakanthan, said that the format allows the teams to adapt their play and focus on improvement throughout the event.
“It’s a good mental test for the team. When you see the same competition, it can breed complacency,” he said. “We need to stay focused and stay sharp. We’ll keep learning and it’a a great challenge for us.”
Premakanthan, who also coaches the senior indoor women’s national team, said he thought his team worked hard to adapt after a slow start
“I’d say we ‘survived’ the first quarter. We leaned on the experience of some of our older, more experienced players to get us back into the game,” he said. “In the second half., we found our structure, found our footing and starting creating some dangerous scoring opportunities.”
With six teams from four provinces, the men’s competition heated up on Saturday with each team playing twice. The Rams remain undefeated after taking down the U18s and Quebec. The afternoon match against Quebec was very even until the BC cracked the code in the second half and popped four goals. Quebec wasn’t able to manage enough offensive chances to stay in the game. The final rounds ended with a tight victory by BC Lion
The action continues tomorrow with women’s double round robin action in the morning followed by some big men’s division match ups.
Born: India, moved to Canada.
Playing Career: Started playing at 10 years old, has 317 Senior National Caps: three Olympics as a player and one as an assistant coach, 6 Pan American Games, and 3 World Cups.
Why did you start coaching? “I believed I could give something back what field hockey has given me.” “I like coaching because I feel I can help the younger athletes”
Best coaching moment?
“There’s so many..It’s always nice to win, but my favourite moments are when athletes 4-5..10 years down the road who I’ve coached tell me ‘you’ve really helped me with my achievements’.. It’s very rewarding”
Born: Netherlands, moved to Canada last year after accepting a job with FHA.
Playing Career: Played in the second division in The Netherlands for 5-6 years. Kept playing field hockey until last year.
Coaching: Was coaching in The Netherlands before being offered a job with FHA, then moved to Canada. Wanted to experience field hockey in a different country and culture.
Favourite Coaching Moment: Coached the U18 team in Netherlands alongside Inge Polemans (FHA U23 Manager) where they qualified for the highest league in playoffs a few times. Making the Semi-finals in the dutch championship.