Article Written by Yan Huckendubler (Commonwealth Games Canada)
At the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Chris Woodcroft won a Gold Medal for Canada in wrestling (52kg). He went on to participate in two Pan American Games (1987 and 1991) and two Olympic Games (1988 and 1992).
Fast forward 32 years and the Woodcroft family is again representing Canada at the Commonwealth Games, this time in field hockey with sisters Amanda and Nikki.
Amanda, 24 years old, started playing for the National Team in 2013. She missed the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but has been a regular since then, accumulating 74 International Caps and earning a Bronze Medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Nikki, 22 years old, joined her sister on the National Team in 2016 and has already worn the national colours 31 times.
Asked if her father’s sporting achievements had been a motivation for her and her sister, Amanda said “My Dad is not someone to publicly share all of his achievements but luckily there are pictures, trophies and medals up on the wall in our basement that Nikki and I grew up admiring. We were more motivated though by his supportive presence in parental and coaching roles. He has always pushed us to try our best, work hard, never give up but also enjoy ourselves! Along with our Mom Nil, they are our number one supporters”.
As they often do when their daughters play in international competitions Chris and Nil Woodcroft have made the long trip to Gold Coast to cheer them on at the Commonwealth Games. “It is an amazing feeling singing the national anthem before the game and seeing them in the crowd”, says Amanda, “and if they are not physically present they are waking up at all hours to watch and follow online.”
When asked how she feels playing on the National Team with her sister and wearing the Maple Leaf at a “Major Games” 32 years after your Dad, Amanda is prompt to answer. “I know this is an incredible and unique experience and I am making sure I take it all in. Nikki and I have shared so much together and this is going to be near the top of the list for sure! When my Mom sent the picture of my Dad winning the Commonwealth Games 32 years ago, I was inspired and motivated to give it everything I have and enjoy the experience!”