Field Hockey Canada > Connor Grimes reflects on stellar career

Connor Grimes reflects on stellar career

July 6, 2010 | Field Hockey Canada |

Connor Grimes reflects on stellar career

July 6, 2010

By Cecilia Carter-Smith 


You are 12 years old watching the summer Olympics.  Your excitement escalates as you anxiously anticipate your sport of choice will soon appear on the big screen.  The colour commentator announces, “Up next. Field hockey.”

During the commercial break you edge ever closer to the screen. Your heart gallops as you await the arrival of your Canadian heroes.  And when they finally appear, you think, “Hey, maybe that could be me one day.”

Shortly thereafter Connor Grimes began his journey to ‘the show.’

Destination  – the Olympics.

The Brentonian (graduate of B.C.’s Brentwood College School) recalls the first time he carefully positioned the maple leaf on his chest for the Canadian senior men’s team (Scotland 2002). “I was extremely excited to compete at the international level,” said the Victoria Selects alum. “I vividly remember getting goose bumps when we played the national anthem before the game. It’s always the best way to get focussed.”

And eight years later.

“I still got goose bumps after the anthem before our last game against Pakistan in the World Cup in (Delhi) India in March (2010).”

Connor’s cleats have carried him around the world. Global stops have included Hobart, Australia (2001), United Kingdom Tour (2002), New Zealand Tour (2003), South Africa Tour (2004), Madrid, Spain (2004), Changzou City, China (2006), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2007), Beijing, China (2008), San Diego, California (2010), and Delhi, India (2010).

Brentwood College School’s motto (Connor’s high school) reads “Where the World Comes to School.” How ironic. Connor Grimes has carried Brentwood College to the World.

With that kind of international experience I wasn’t surprised to learn that the 2008 Olympian is enrolled in International Business Administration at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 

Adopted by the Dutch in 2004, the Canadian national suits up for the historic HGC club (founded in 1906) – H.O.C. Gazellen-Combinatie  – located on the border of Wassenaara and The Hague. It is the highest level of club hockey in The Netherlands.

“I started my university career at UVic and UBC before making my way (2004) to the Netherlands,” said the internationalist . “Studying in the Netherlands has been incredible in many different aspects. It is a vibrant and international university with a global student body (sound familiar). Everything is in English so this has made things a tad bit easier!”

Continued the international scholar, “I will finish my undergraduate degree (International Business Administration) in July 2010 and will start my MSc in Finance in September.”

Admitted Connor, “Combining all the hockey with school was definitely challenging. It has taken me longer than most students but, all the experiences along the way with hockey have definitely been worth it.”

And living in his adopted homeland has been worth it, too. Connor loves life among “the Oranje.”  “I have been in The Netherlands for almost six years now and love it,” said the decorated Canadian internationalist. “It is a great country and the hockey culture is the best in the world. The game is really respected and I recommend to anyone to play in The Netherlands.”

When asked about his favourite field hockey moment Connor rapidly replied, “Etched in my mind would definitely be the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2007. We were playing Argentina in the final and needed the win for that coveted ticket to the Beijing Olympic Games. We battled and battled back and forth and forced extra time with no result. We went to penalty strokes. We had completed a first round of strokes that remained equal. Sudden death strokes were next.

“Mike Mahood made an amazing save stopping the first Argentine stroke. Now, all we needed was our next stroke to go in and we were going to the Olympic Games! Nervously, Scott Tupper, Paul Wettlaufer, Rob Short and I were standing arm-in-arm (the boys taking the strokes) while Wayne Fernandes stepped up to take the final stroke. We were all looking at each other. When Wayne placed the ball perfectly in the top netting tears of joy started to pour. From there it was a blur. I really can’t explain the feeling but, we all ran together as a team to celebrate. That was a moment I will never forget.” 

The 12 year old boy who believed that one day he would be an Olympian was Beijing bound.

“I have 144 caps to my name,” said the proud Canadian. “Every one (of my caps) was a learning and amazing experience.”

Although Connor has announced his retirement from the national team he will continue to play the game he loves. “For sure I will continue to play hockey (in The Netherlands).” Currently dressing for division one – HGC – the masterful forward will play in the second division while he completes his studies.

Throughout his distinguished career 27 year old Connor Grimes has been surrounded by a special team. His family. 33 year old sister, Aoibhinn, a recent UBC medical school graduate and a field hockey internationalist herself playing in over 100 games with the national team, Anna, 32 and Corporate Communications Specialist at Port Metro Vancouver who played seven games with the national side, and Rich, 29 who suited up for Canada’s Junior National Team and presently is a Jobs Resource Consultant for Right Management (Victoria) all cheered on their baby brother as he pursued his Olympic dream. 

And of course, the Olympian’s parents – Barbara and Richard – have always been by his side. "Oh gosh. I could go on and on," said Connor. "My parents have supported me every step of the way whether it was getting me to the airport on time, or for the most part flying around the world just to cheer me on in the stands."

Concluded Connor, “My hockey career would not have happened without their continuous support. I will definitely miss looking up to the crowd for my parents covered in red and white.” 

And the men’s senior national team will definitely miss Connor Grimes. Thanks for the memories.


See also:

Connor Grimes: From Grasshopper to Olympics