Tag Archives: hockey

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…

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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… 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Playing on home soil…

During my 6 year international career I have had the privilege to represent my country over 130 times and compete at the highest level across  6 continents. I have competed in two Commonwealth Games, an Olympic Games and a World Cup and yet always considered there to be one major omission from my hockey resume… The opportunity to play a meaningful tournament on home soil in front of a passionate Canadian crowd!

Certainly international test series and matches, such as the recent Brazil matches in Vancouver or the India Series in Surrey back in 2009 have always been an awesome experience and a great boost for the local hockey community but for me there is something extra special about playing tournament hockey on home soil. Winning the last edition of the Pan American Cup in Chile back in 2009 was the highlight of my hockey career to date and I still get chills thinking back or when I look back at the pictures.

535563_147343002094284_1920673860_n

I can only imagine what the feelings would be like if we were able to carry that cup around the Cassie Campbell pitch here in Brampton in front of 2000 Canadians in 8 days time. To give you some perspective on how much this tournament means to Canadian Field Hockey players check the blog I recently wrote breaking down the diary entries from the Canadian boys who won gold on home soil at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. I look to the successes of the past for inspiration and hope that this group of guys will be able to write their own chapter in Canadian Field Hockey history over the next week!

Overall, winning this tournament has been my sole goal since we failed to qualify for the London Games last February and the boys have put countless hours in on the pitch and in the gym to be ready for our first game tomorrow against Brazil. I for one cannot wait to suit up…

photo2

Also please remember to check out http://www.panamhockey.org/en/home for all the tournament info and live streaming of the matches!!

Tagged , , , , , ,

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.

972288_507991342569573_529622403_n

283745_507991312569576_1774895698_n

 

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.

484597_506008662767841_225471230_n

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

Tagged , , , , , , , ,