Tag Archives: Canada

FHCMNT Vancouver Viewpoint Challenge

Well there is now less than 6 weeks left until the first major tournament of the year for the Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey Team at the 23rd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. This will be the perfect opportunity for us to test ourselves against a whole host of high quality teams including Pakistan, Malaysia, France and Korea. We are going to need to be in absolute top condition to play our up-tempo, aggressive style against these teams especially considering the unforgiving Malaysian heat and humidity. I can tell you from experience that going from the cool, crisp West Coast air to the heat and humidity in Malaysia can make you feel like you’ve just smoked 75 packets of cigarettes before a match played underwater on a pitch doubled in size. Ok maybe a little dramatic… but the critical point is that we are going to need to put in a huge amount of work over the next month and a bit to get our fitness levels where they need to be. We also know that pounding pavement alone on these cold, wet and dreary winter days here in Vancouver is about the least motivating thing on the planet and that we need to spice things up a little if we want to push ourselves to where we need to be..

Thus… Enter…

The #FHCMNT Vancouver Viewpoint Challenge

The FHCMNT will be undertaking a variety of creative workout challenges around the city in search of the best viewpoints you can find on two feet. This is an opportunity for our team to not only inspire each other to work harder on the Road to Ipoh but also to inspire our community to stay true to their New Years Resolutions and get out there and explore the most beautiful city on Earth. We encourage people to run with us / challenge us / or share their favourite running routes and staircases with us.

You  can follow our progress on the fieldhockey.ca website or better yet the check out and follow the official MNT Instagram and Twitter accounts @fhc_mnt for real time updates on our latest conquests in the GVRD!

Today we kick off the #FHCMNT #VVC with a run from the bottom to the top of UBC… starting down at the infamous Wreck Beach before charting a course for the 17th floor of Gage Tower North! Stay tuned for the pics…

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ONE TEAM…

Well this blog post is long, long overdue but the promise of 2014, the Seahawks making it to the Superbowl and a semi-intoxicated New Year’s resolution has combined to motivate me to jump back on the blogging bandwagon and discuss the year ahead.

Reflecting back on 2013 is certainly tough as although there were some small highlights including playing in front of friends, family and a surprise visit from my girlfriend on home soil in Brampton for the first time in my career at the Pan Am Cup was amazing. Also I was fortunate enough to cap off the year by being named to my first ever Pan-Am All-Star Team.

No better feeling then scoring on home soil...

No better feeling then scoring on home soil…

However success in my books is measured on the pitch and as a collective unit and our group wound up losing our two critical matches of the year in similar fashion, pulling off epic Leafs-style collapses in the second half against France at World League Round 2 and Argentina in the old Pan Am Final. Our young team struggled with the pressure of these big moments and is looking to rebound in 2014 – utilizing the tough lessons learned in these matches.

Trying my best to hold it together after the final hooter sounded...

Trying my best to hold it together after the final hooter…

Not to get emotional here but I think the Khaki-clad, sideline-psycho Jim Harbaugh said it best after his 49ers lost the NFC Championship game on Sunday, summarizing his post-game thoughts with the classic Hemingway line “A man can be destroyed, but he can’t be defeated.” This really resonated with me as I reflect back on the past year, and despite losing nearly all of our Government funding on top of those two critical matches our team is certainly far from defeated and we have a ever-increasing group of committed athletes who I am confident are prepared to work harder then they ever have in order to make our team better and this program a success both on and off the pitch. It has now been a long 5 years since I last tasted major success with this team at the 2009 Pan-Am Cup in Santiago, Chile and I for one am prepared to do whatever it takes to get back to the top of that podium in 2015.

Just yesterday our NSO, Field Hockey Canada, released their new Logo and long-term Vision for the organization and it is something that I am not only pumped about but also extremely excited to get behind. In my mind the “ONE TEAM” concept is crucial – not only within our own team – or within the organization itself – but in fact most critically for the Field Hockey community in Canada as a whole. We need your support as we move forward and I hope that we as a National Team can set a positive example and inspire people to work with us and support us under the ONE TEAM banner.

For a better idea of the direction FHC and myself plan to be heading check out this cool youtube video below… Ohh and I hope you’ll jump on board with us… 

 

 

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How does it feel to be the Leafs?

“Errr… Welcome to Vancouver, the temperature outside is 15 degrees and slightly overcast… please remain seated until the seatbelt sign turns off… ohhh and for those looking for an update in the hockey game the Leafs are up 4 – 1 in the 3rd period… flight attendants please prepare for cross check… “
 

These were the first words we heard after arriving back in Vancouver from Paris and the many Leafs fans on board our flight AC181 from Toronto to Vancouver were quick to burst out into cheering and applause. Little did they know that by the time we had passed the first bar in the airport the score would be 4-3, by the time we had reached the baggage carousel it would be 4 -4 and by the time I climbed into my car and turned on the radio the Bruins had scored in overtime to win Game 7. On the drive home the radio hosts were already talking about how this was one of the greatest chokes in playoff history, and the front page of the Toronto Sun the next day sums up perfectly the general sentiment in the GTA…images

The irony of the situation did not escape me and I was quick to draw parallels to our own result in Paris at the FIH World League Round 2 Tournament only 36 hours earlier where we blew a 2 – 0 first half lead against France to lose 3 – 2. It was a win and your in scenario with only the top 2 teams progressing into the next round and thus we were extremely disappointed to come away with nothing… the wounds were still very fresh…

As I watched the highlights of the Leafs collapse later that night I couldn’t help but continue to draw parallels between the two games as at both the TD Bank Garden in Boston and the Saint Germain Hockey Club in Paris the home fans had helped to propel the comeback.  Their passion and energy helped to shift the momentum in the matches and we were unable to swing it back in time to hold on to the match.

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As an athlete I hate the word Choke and I feel for those Leafs guys getting blasted by the press and their own fans. Games are a constant roller coaster of momentum and in my 7 years as a member of the Canadian Team and 2 years in the Bundesliga I have seen this roller coaster shaped in countless different ways. The mistake we made in Paris was allowing that roller coaster of momentum to shift to such a degree that you feel like there is nothing you can do about it and you are merely out there waiting for them to score…

From my experience I think that solving this scenario is super simple and does not require 10 years of experience or 200 caps to learn. You need solid basics and to win fouls in order to slow down the match, decrease the tempo, allow your own team to reset and begin slowing down the momentum shift. Scooping the ball 70 yards seems at times like the best option to relieve pressure however often the ball is merely picked up and pumped back into your own half putting yourself on the back foot again. It’s the same in ice hockey where teams holding a lead tend to just hit the red line, dump it in and then retreat, allowing teams like the Bruins an easy opportunity to start an effective breakout. Our team, like the Leafs needs to learn from this experience and recognize the reasons for failure in order to prevent losses like this in the future. Solid basics, a strong mentality and an ability to recognize and respond correctly to situations and the shifting momentum in the match is critical and provides a framework for success.

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Overall this was certainly a disappointing result and progressing to World League Round 3 would have been a huge accomplishment and reward for our hard work, however I have to keep in mind that this is a young group at the beginning of a journey and we will have more chances for glory on the Road to Rio 2016

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Big Chimping…

So me and my teammates have recently started Chimping!
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Here’s the scoop… CHIMP (CHaritable IMPact) is a website which allows donations and tax receipts to be done easily online and encourages donors to “follow” and engage with us on our journey towards the Rio Olympics. The goal is to create a community of supporters who we can interact with using our CHIMP account. Donated funds are collected through this online charitable platform and then will be redistributed to my network of charities within CHIMP. Although this is definitely a very new technology, it has been done successfully by other Canadian athletes and I used Olympic Windsurfer Nikola Girke as inspiration for my own account. During the lead up to last summer’s London Olympics Nikola utilized her CHIMP account very successfully and to date has been able to attract over 50 members to her group and redistribute over $3000 CDN to charities which were especially meaningful to her including CAN Fund, Kidsport and the CKNW Orphans Fund. Nikola was great at posting photos, comments and her goals for the Olympics and was able to challenge her network of followers to donate more should she achieve a podium / PB finish in London. We aren’t talking major cash here but how cool is it that someone can say they offered up $20 to help motivate and drive an athlete to achieve her goal at the Olympic Games.
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As an athlete this is where I recognize the value of this new technology, as no longer are we forced to solicit money selling T-Shirts to our friends and family, we can now share our goals and aspirations within our community of supporters and challenge them to CHIMP us should we achieve them. Therefore, my goal at this point is to begin building my community of supporters that I can bring along with me on my journey to the Rio Olympics. Click the link below if you’re interested in checking it out I’d love to have you on board…
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Back at it…

The dreaded Yo-Yo

The dreaded Yo-Yo Test

The title says it all… After some baseline fitness testing for the boys last week out at UBC, we finally got to pick up the sticks again on Tuesday. It has been a long 5 weeks since our last game at the Champions Challenge in December and although we have been busy on the treadmill and in the weight room over the holidays there is always a special soreness that comes after the first on-field session back. Luckily a few ice baths, roll outs and maybe a yoga session or two over the next week will help sort that out.

However, despite the soreness and cold January weather there was a good competitive atmosphere at training, which I think has been aided by the introduction of some new juniors into the fold. Although maybe not quite as dramatic as the addition of Portman and Mendoza in Mighty Ducks 2 each of these young guns bring something to the table and generally increase the level of competition at training. In my mind, competition is a healthy thing in any team training environment and will only serve to push guys to train harder on and off the pitch.

Overall I think it’s been a promising start to the year and I am looking forward to see where guys are at during our first inter-squad match tonight…

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