The Canadian Men’s National Team is ready to compete on the international stage once again. From November 24th to December 2nd, our men will represent Canada at the 2012 Men’s Champions Challenge 1 in Quilmes, Argentina.
This will be Team Canada’s first competition in the new quadrennial. Since the Olympic Qualification Tournament in February, the Men’s National Team has been immersed in a revamped training regimen and professional environment at home in Vancouver.
“The training program has been quite intensive,” says Scott Tupper. “We've made changes to how we train both on field and away from the field. We've seen physiological improvements, and now we'll get the opportunity to measure where we are in terms of our play.”
“This will be our first competition in the new quadrennial,” says Head Coach Anthony Farry. “Champions Challenge 1 is important for us as we continue to build on the professionalism of our program on and off the pitch, especially in our daily training environment. There is no doubt the group is excited to compete again. We will relish the challenge of testing our game against international opponents.”
There will be eight teams competing in Argentina, initially split into two pools. Canada will compete in Pool A against Korea, Malaysia and Poland. Pool B includes South Africa, Ireland, Japan and Argentina, Canada’s Pan American rival. The FIH explains, “All eight teams will move onto a quarterfinal game with the first place finishers taking on the last place finishers from the other groups and the second and third place teams playing in a similar cross-over. From there, the winners will move onto the semi-finals and medal games, while the losers will play for placement… the winner of the tournament will be automatically qualified for the next edition of the men’s Champions Trophy.” Teams will also be competing for World Ranking points.
As Team Canada looks toward the future, several up and coming athletes will be gaining international experience through Champions Challenge 1.
“After a solid performance at the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships, it’s nice to have some of the under-21 athletes return to training with the Senior Squad,” says Tupper. “They’ve brought some good energy and we look forward to the potential impact they will have for Canada at this tournament.”
The Canadian men have been disappointed with their performance at Champions Challenges in the past few years finishing in 8th place in 2009 and 2011. They hope this year will be a different story.
“I’d like to see us improve game by game,” says Tupper. “I want us to play our best hockey in our final three games as we play for position in the standings.”
In addition to representing Canada – Tupper is looking forward to Argentina’s weather.
“It’s always nice to play in the sun and heat,” says Tupper. “It will be a welcome change from the dark, cold, rainy practices in Vancouver.”
Brandon Barber (Toronto, ON): Stephen Bissett (New Westminster, BC): Matthew Bissett (New Westminster, BC): David Carter (Vancouver, BC): Spencer Curran (North Vancouver, BC): Jagdish Gill (Toronto, ON): Matthew Guest (Vancouver, BC): Richard Hildreth (Vancouver, BC): Gabriel Ho-Garcia (Burnaby, BC): David Jameson (Vancouver, BC): Antoni Kindler (Vancouver, BC): Ben Martin (Vancouver, BC): Mark Pearson (Tsawwassen, BC): Keegan Pereira (Ajax, ON): Suhkwinder “Gabbar” Singh (Mississauga, ON): Hudson Stewart (Vancouver, BC): Scott Tupper (Vancouver, BC): Paul Wharton (Vancouver, BC)
Anthony Farry (Head Coach): Paul Bundy (Coach): Celia Plottel (Team Manager): Elianne Tieleman (Physiotherapist): Paul Mounter (Video Analyst): Jason Vescovi (Physiologist): Bruce Pinel (Psychologist)