As the door swings to a close on another year, we are recapping the top stories of 2019 and are looking forward to 2020.
Easily the story of the year. A breathtaking hometown performance, an unlikely comeback, last second heroics, a shootout comeback. This event had it all. Canada overcame a day-2 deficit to earn their spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the most dramatic of fashions. A weekend that will go down in Canadian hockey lore forever.
The last time the Canadian women’s hockey team made the finals at the Pan American Games was in 1991. This year, Canada fought back to the championship match defeating North American rivals USA en route to a finals appearance against Argentina. Although Canada couldn’t upset Argentina in the finals, their run to the title match shows huge strides for the women’s national team and bumped them up to 15th in the world rankings.
Since making his first international appearance in 2005, Vancouver native, Scott Tupper has played more than 300 games for Canada. The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) officially named Tupper as Team Canada’s Lima 2019 Opening Ceremony flag bearer in July prior to the games. He led a delegation of 477 athletes and 119 coaches into Estadio Nacional del Perú to kick off a successful event for Canada.
The Men’s National Team went to Malaysia twice in as many months. First for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and then returned for the Hockey Series Final. After dropping two games against the home team to close out the Azlan Shah Cup, Canada came back with a vengeance defeating Malaysia in a thrilling final to finish first at the Hockey Series Final in April.
After thumping the competition at the Hockey Series Open in Mexico a year prior, the time had finally come to compete at the 2019 Hockey Series Final. The goal was simple. Finish in the top two at the tournament and move one step closer to the Olympics. Canada played amazing hockey defeating every team except Spain and finished second place, earning a berth to the FIH Olympic Qualifier series.
With the Women’s National Team ramping up for the Pan American Games and the Olympic Qualification series, they saw the injection of youth to bolster their ranks. After playing USPORTS and NCAA hockey respectively, Anna Mollenhauer and Elise Wong took to the field to play for Team Canada at the 2019 Hockey Series Finals in Valencia, Spain.
Last February, Field Hockey Canada sent three teams to the World Masters Championships in Spain. Riding off the momentum from the previous summer, three Canadian teams showed up in Hong Kong ready to take on the world at the 2019 Masters Indoor World Cup.
It’s not only the athletes that get to shine on the international stage at multi-sport events like the Pan American Games. The 2019 edition saw six Canadian field hockey members proudly representing Canada not as players, but as part of the officials team. Two umpires (Megan Robertson and Tyler Klenk, an umpire manager (Wendy Stewart), one technical official (Laurie Hogan) and two members of the media team (Ali Baggott and Yan Huckendubler) are contributing to the sport of field hockey at the 2019 Lima Pan American Games.
The Women’s National Team participated in an unprecedented amount of capped games over the last two seasons. Their relocation to Belgium and their commitment to playing in more competitions has vaulted core veteran athletes to the top of Canada’s all-time cap list. Active players, Kate Gillis (216), Dani Hennig (188), Hannah Haughn (179) and Sara McManus (175) are the top four capped female athletes in Canadian history. Brie Stairs (163) and Natalie Sourisseau (141) are not far behind and will look to join their teammates at the top of the list.
In 2019 Field Hockey Canada revitalizing its Hall of Fame committee and formalizing some of the processes. The organization is thrilled to announce a large and incredible class of 2019 inductees including builders, athletes, officials and a team.