Field Hockey Canada > Optimism Ahead For The Women's National Program

71 of Canada’s finest athletes gave up their Easter Weekend to assemble at Wright Field in Vancouver for The Women’s National Program and U-21 Identification camps. By all accounts, everyone from coaches to athletes and parents experienced a fantastic camp – the amazing weather was also a nice added bonus.

The purpose of the camp was to provide the best talent in the country an opportunity to showcase their skills and vie for national selection. The camp certainly accomplished this, as a great balance of athletes from savvy veterans to emerging juniors trained through the long weekend.

Optimism From the Coaches

The camp also provided a logical transition for Team Canada’s preparations into the next three years leading up to the Olympics in Rio 2016. All accounts from new WNT head coach Ian Rutledge are positive:

“The athletes on display demonstrated a high degree of competence, application and commitment to a tough and demanding schedule. These attributes will serve Canada well in the Rio Cycle and beyond,“ said Rutledge.

Similarly, the U-21 Identification Camp served as the perfect starting point for developing Canada’s emerging stars. Under Rob Short, 33 junior athletes from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario assembled for four days of skill development, fitness testing, training, and matches.

“I am very pleased with the group’s efforts. From the match on day one, to the final match on day four, the improvements were very noticeable, and the competition level was of international standard.” said Short. “Thank you to everyone who helped to organize the camp. A huge thank you to all the athletes who showed such professionalism in their approach and their delivery on and off the field.”

The 2013 National Women’s Squad will be announced in mid-April. From this squad, the respective Senior and U-21 teams will be selected for the upcoming 2013 competitions. Rutledge acknowledged that narrowing down and selecting athletes from the camp for the National training squad will be a very difficult task. However, it does bode well for the future depth of our talent pool. There’s a long path ahead, but the first few steps are positive ones.

Looking Ahead

The next entry point for players not selected or unavailable for this camp will be the Senior National Championships to be held in Brampton, ON from June 12 to 16, 2013. Rutledge will look to refine and improve the squad to build strong teams for the 2013 Junior World Cup in Germany, Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, and the Pan Am Games, Toronto 2015. The ultimate goal is to become one of the 16 best in Rio 2016.

“I was impressed and encouraged by the commitment and dedication of our senior playing group, and their leadership demonstrated in promoting the development of a positive team culture where enjoyable hard work and the pursuit of excellence is fostered and encouraged.

Rutledge arrived in Vancouver three weeks ago to assume his new role as Head Coach of the Women’s National Program. It’s a fast paced introduction – leading straight into the National camps. “The success of the camps owe a great deal to their organization by Gene Muller, General Manager, High Performance and National Teams and Rob Short, Assistant Coach, Women’s National Team Program.

Thanks for a great camp!

Special thanks to Diane Gillis, Team Manager for her tireless efforts organizing logistics and executing every detail. Finally, thank you for the invaluable participation of the coaches: Paul Bundy, Assistant Coach, Men’s National Team Program and former National Team athletes Krista Thompson and Inderpal Sehmbi. Also, Gavin Leung, Athletic Therapist and Wil Lach, photographer, for their work in supporting Rob and Ian during the camps.