Canada's Men's National Team (MNT) arrived safely in Paris yesterday ahead of next week's World League 2 tournament. With the 18-member team is a unique 19th member: "Johnny" Chimp.
"We've never taken a mascot on tour with us before," said Canadian forward Mark Pearson. "But we feel Johnny is an important part of the team image we are trying to build. He embodies the connection that each of us has with the field hockey community back home. Without the support of the grassroots players, supporters and clubs back home, we wouldn't be here playing for Canada. Now when he's on the bench, we know that the entire Canadian field hockey community is there with us."
See the photos of Johnny keeping the MNT safe en route to Paris
Perhaps you have noticed the flurry of BIG PUSH events happening over the past month. These athlete-driven events are designed to inspire young players in the local junior field hockey community, while helping to raise critical funding support for our National Teams. We’ve seen a great response thus far, and both the Women's and Men's teams are busy arranging additional events in May/June/July of this year.
"Our team is characterized by a gutsy spirit, and strong sense of community pride. As we prepare to host the 2013 Men's Pan American Cup in Brampton and the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, we recognize the opportunity we have to build a positive legacy in our community, and on the international stage. We are committed to giving back to the local field hockey community that gave us all so much as juniors growing up, and helping to inspire the next generation of athletes to reach for their athletic dreams."
"Community support means we can stay focussed on training, competing and getting Canada back to the Olympic Games. We hope to have you all along as one of our extended team, while we push forward towards Olympic qualification. Thanks for your support from back in Canada!"
-MNT forward, Phil Wright