Tag Archives: Olympics

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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Never an easy task…

Well turns out defending your Pan Am Cup title in front of your friends and family on home soil is not as easy as it sounds. Despite being undefeated after two games we are less than satisfied with the 3 – 1 win against Brazil and the 2 – 2 tie against Chile last night, especially allowing them to come back from being 2 – 0 down at halftime. This draw has made our goal of winning this tournament that much more complicated and we recognize as a group that we have lots of work and fine tuning to do over the next couple of days. What was especially disappointing for me was that it appears the lessons of our France match at World League Round 2 which I discussed here have not been learned and our young group is going to take a little more seasoning before we become comfortable in the pressure matches.

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However despite all this, what is reassuring and positive for me is that never before as a member of the Canadian Team have we looked so dangerous going forward or created as many goal scoring chances and penalty corners. I know it sounds cliche and I am going to sound like your classic NHL’er in a post game interview but it has literally been incredible how snakebit we have been in front of goal and how with just a little ‘kook luck’ around the keeper we might have won these two games very convincingly. Hopefully with a little extra work in the D at training over the next couple of days we will be able to start converting these chances in the matches and make our home town fans happy!

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All in all not the ideal start to our Pan Am Cup defence, but all the boys are loving the support from back home and here in Brampton and we are still positive and looking forward to our next match against Trinidad and Tobago…

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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.

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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…

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

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7 – 3 – 3…

That was the voting breakdown from the final round of the IOC secret ballot which determined the fates of Wrestling, Modern Pentathlon and Field Hockey for the 2020 Games. Almost as surprising to me as seeing Wrestling get dropped was the fact that Field Hockey was on such thin ice with the IOC. For two weeks last summer I watched agonizingly as the hockey competition played out on the new blue “Smurf Turf”

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in front of a packed stadium and with a football like atmosphere for both the men’s and women’s matches.

Even the most pessimistic British pundits had to admit that it was one of the most successful events of the entire Games and left me with no indication that losing Olympic status was even remotely possible. How the IOC comes to these decisions is beyond me and to be honest I am not really sure why we need to “lose” sports in general, however I can tell you reading blog entries from Canadian Wrestlers Sam Stewart and Matt Gentry that the results are devastating at all levels, from the individual Olympic level athletes, to the NOC’s and finally to all those young wrestlers who had aspirations of competing for their country at future Olympic Games. It is a complete death blow to the sport especially when the result came down so suddenly and unexpectedly and when you take into consideration just how massive and significant an event the Olympic Games have become.

No longer is it a meager collection of athletes from obscure sports, it has become a world spectacle, the giant dangling carrot that sits there motivating athletes and attainable only every 4 years. Top level success in amateur sports, especially for the smaller profile events, is now nearly solely judged on the basis of Olympic participation and performance, for better and for worse. (read this…) For the IOC to take that carrot away from so many wrestlers (364 athletes in London, not to mention the ones who had Olympic aspirations) is disappointing to say the least and the vote was a real wake-up call for me after seeing how close Field Hockey was from losing its future Olympic status. My hope is that in the future the IOC does not continue to drop these bombs on the Amateur Sports Community every four years and instead works to preserve the hopes and dreams of all young aspiring Olympians everywhere…

In memory of Olympic Wrestling, and one of the highlights of my Olympic Games watching childhood…

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