Tag Archives: sport

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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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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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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