The year started out like any other with the Men’s National Team preparing for an Olympic campaign. The Women’s National Team was preparing for the next steps including World Cup qualification. The NextGEN Women’s program toured to Chula Vista and sent three teams over the two weeks.
Then, all of a sudden, everything stopped.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent postponement of every major global event ground international competition to a halt and left organizations, teams and leagues scrambling to figure out next steps. The Canadian Olympic Committee was the first national federation to pull out of the 2020 Games, starting a domino effect, leading to the postponement of the Games to 2021. Every major competition followed suit and we were left with a dry 2020, empty of any international or domestic events.
How do sport organizations respond when there are no tournaments? No tours, limited training? Field Hockey Canada wrestled with these questions and the result was a dedicated effort to our online presence. The organization and administration built out resources, offered webinars and other e-learning opportunities. Additionally, Field Hockey Canada led the successful and safe nationwide return to play for all athletes and staff.
Typically, these reflective lists are dominated by our national team athlete’s accomplishments and rightfully so. This year, with little-to-no competition to reflect on, to celebrate the positives of 2020, we’ve highlighted five feel-good projects from the 2020 programming slate to reflect and reminisce on as we sip some eggnog and prepare for the excitement of a new year.
From April 19–25, Field Hockey Canada celebrated National Volunteer Week and highlighted a few volunteers across the nation, including Alison Sweeten, Ashleigh Gold, Christa McAlduff, Diane Huneault and Michelle Savich. The game is nothing without the people who work tirelessly to put together matches, recreational and competitive leagues and countless other initiatives behind the scenes. We thank them and everyone else immensely — your efforts do not go unnoticed!
National Coaches Week, put on by the Coaches Association of Canada, took place from September 19–27 to recognize the crucial role they play in everyday sport and life. Fittingly, Field Hockey Canada gave out four FHC Coach Awards: congratulations to Sara Restani and Ray Lewis, the Grassroots Coach Award recipients, and Andrea Gibson and Ed Fernandes, the Development Coach Award recipients! Along with the introduction of our Competitive Development Cohort Program, we are proud to share coach education resources and institute more NCCP-trained coaches to support our domestic programs. #ThanksCoach indeed!
Though the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has been postponed until further notice, we celebrate the Class of 2019 all the same along with their incredible achievements. Each inductee was carefully selected and has paved paths for present and future individuals and groups. We congratulate: Shelley Andrews, Alan Hobkirk and Reg Plummer in the Athlete category; Alan Waterman in the Official category; Dot Asuma, Jenny John, Denys Cooper and Dr. Jack Taunton in the Builder category; the 1983 Women’s National Team in the Team category. Please see the full announcement here.
Held on December 1–4, this inaugural event was created from the desire to engage the field hockey and broader sports communities during these unprecedented times and to provide an entertaining and educational twist on our Ahead of the Game Webinar Series. We offered six sessions in total, featuring 13 speakers and 138 delegates, and are proud to lead and continue the conversations had and ideas sparked. See the conference recap article along with our closing video here. Archived sessions can be found on our YouTube channel.
While national team play abruptly came to a halt in March, there were a few silver linings as the pause made way for changes to our high-performance programming and staff. As we thank individuals like Paul Bundy and Hugh Purvis for their long-standing commitment to the organization, and Patrick Tshutshani for his ongoing support to the WNT, we also look to the future with new hires: Andre Henning and Pasha Gadement as MNT Head Coaches, Andrew Wilson as WNT Head Coach and Adam Janssen as High Performance Director. With our Team of Teams structure as the higher purpose, Field Hockey Canada strives towards developing the sport from coast-to-coast. Read more here.