CANADA’S U18 MEN’S FIELD HOCKEY TEAM ANNOUNCED!
VANCOUVER, BC — Field Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee officially announced the athletes nominated to represent Canada in the U18 Men’s Field Hockey competition at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The field hockey competition will take place October 6-14, 2018 in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
Canada enters the competition as reigning silver medallists and will look to reach the podium for a second consecutive Youth Olympic Games. Canada will be up against stiff competition as the hosts, Argentina, won the Pan American qualifier and Australia will be returning to defend their gold medal from four years ago.
For those unfamiliar, the field hockey competition at the Youth Olympic Games takes the form of Hockey 5s: a fast-paced, high scoring and physical form of field hockey played outdoors on a smaller pitch enclosed by shin-high boards. According to head coach, Geoff Matthews, his team is ready to take on the world at the Youth Olympic Games.
“We have an extremely talented group of athletes,” he said. “They’ve made huge strides since the qualifier. They have been pushed domestically by their peers through selection camp and the guys are at a whole new level now.”
Canada came third at the Pan American qualifying event in March, reaching the Youth Olympic Games behind Argentina and Mexico. Although qualification was always the goal, Matthews said he knows the team will be looking for redemption and will be wanting to prove that they belong on the Olympic podium.
“Sitting in the crowd and watching the gold medal game, I could tell it was a disappointment for the guys,” Matthews said. “The type of disappointment that sticks with you. I could tell they really wanted to be in that gold medal game and the Youth Olympics is our chance to redeem ourselves.”
While this is a great competition for young athletes, there is a higher purpose of the Youth Olympic Games and Thierry Weil, CEO of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), echoed that sentiment in an FIH statement.
“The Youth Olympic Games are a fantastic opportunity for the world to see the future of our sport, whilst also giving these athletes the first taste of Olympism,” Weil said.
Matthews agreed and said that this event can be a great launching point for young careers.
“The Youth Olympics gives these young athletes an opportunity to excel on the international stage,” Matthews said. “It’s a chance to prepare them to make the jump to the next level of hockey.”
“What an honour for our athletes to represent our country in a multi-games experience and be part of the larger Team Canada contingent in Buenos Aires,” Jeff Sauvé, CEO of Field Hockey Canada, said. “On behalf of Field Hockey Canada, we thank the Canadian Olympic Committee for providing this invaluable opportunity for our athletes.”
The 12-team men’s YOG Hockey 5s competition features Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Vanuatu and Zambia. The competition takes place October 6-14, 2018 in Buenos Aries, Argentina.