by Ali Baggott, for Field Hockey Canada
Canada’s mens’ field hockey team has determined their 18-man roster after an intense two months of preparation and training. The team will face Ireland in a two-game, aggregate winner-takes-all qualifier for a spot to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Head coach Paul Bundy has selected 18 players and five reserves. Heading the roster is Canadian skipper Scott Tupper who has 306 international caps to his name. The qualifier team has 10 players that were at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, hoping to qualify Canada for their first back-to-back appearance since the 1984 and 1988 Games. Should Canada qualify this weekend it will be the nation’s eighth appearance.
The majority of this group were also at the recent Pan American Games, while Gabriel Ho-Garcia and Floris van Son are back in the fold as they were away competing with their club teams in Spain and the Netherlands, respectively.
There is definitely no shortage of fire power as the forwards lines blend a mix of speedy youth and experienced veterans. The team will explore most of its youth up front in West Vancouver’s Fin Boothroyd, Netherlands-born van Son, and Vancouver’s Jamie Wallace, all of who will be coupled with the experience of strikers Oliver Scholfield, Matthew Sarmento and Keegan Pereira.
Canada is packed with composed and creative midfielders. Ho-Garcia, Brenden Bissett and James Kirkpatrick will provide the speed necessary in transition, while the veteran mindset of central players Adam Froese and Sukhi Panesar will provide the stability needed through the middle of the pitch.
In the backfield Canada is anchored by Gordie Johnston and two-time Olympian Tupper, both also lethal on penalty corners. John Smythe, Brad Logan and Balraj Panesar provide additional creativity in outletting, while the one-two punch of keepers David Carter and Antoni Kindler leave Canada in good hands in their defensive end.
Canada is ranked No. 10 in the FIH World Rankings, while Ireland are close behind at No. 13.
|1||Floris van Son||Forward||Ghent, Belgium||28|
|4||Scott Tupper (C)||Defender||Vancouver, BC||306|
|6||Brad Logan||Defender||Vancouver, BC||11|
|7||Gabriel Ho-Garcia||Midfield||Burnaby, BC||125|
|8||Oliver Scholfield||Forward||Vancouver, BC||63|
|10||Keegan Pereira||Forward||Ajax, ON||173|
|11||Balraj Panesar||Defender||Surrey, BC||70|
|14||Adam Froese||Midfield||Vancouver, BC||189|
|16||Gordon Johnston||Defender||Vancouver, BC||170|
|17||Brenden Bissett||Midfield||New Westminster, BC||130|
|18||James Wallace||Forward||Vancouver, BC||41|
|20||Fin Boothroyd||Forward||West Vancouver, BC||16|
|21||Matthew Sarmento||Forward||Vancouver, BC||113|
|22||John Smythe||Defender||Vancouver, BC||112|
|24||James Kirkpatrick||Midfield||Victoria, BC||91|
|27||Sukhi Panesar||Midfield||Surrey, BC||143|
|30||David Carter||Goal Keeper||Vancouver, BC||193|
|31||Antoni Kindler||Goal Keeper||Vancouver, BC||92|
For Canada fans both near and far, the game will be more accessible than ever. Canadian residents can stream the game live via cbcsports.com while the FIH will have all Olympic qualifier events streamed live at fih.live.
Those travelling to Rutledge Field in West Vancouver can purchase tickets online, while volunteers are also still being recruited. Both games will push back at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Visit the Olympic Qualifier event page for more information.