May 10, 2010
By Ali Lee
More than five years have passed since Canada has sent a Women’s team to the World Cup Qualifier for Indoor Field Hockey. That qualifier took place in 2005 on home soil in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario where both the men’s and women’s teams captured the gold medal and a chance to represent Canada at the World Cup in Vienna, Austria in 2007. This past weekend was the first open camp trials held for the 2010 Indoor World Cup qualifier that is to be held in Venezuela in August. Within the past two months, the indoor management team was announced with Cassius Mendonca being named the Head Coach and Querobin “Qb” Mascarenhas as the assistant coach. The two, along with long-time coach and player John De Souza were present to run and select at the women’s camp being held at the University of Toronto. The camp is a bit of a fast-track for the squad as the week also sees the Australian Men’s and Women’s national indoor team coming to play some exhibition games and a test series. Although the Aussie side appears to be well- prepared with previous matches, the week will bring some early international experience to those new to the program and will help the coaching staff in their selections.
The camp highlights some current and former outdoor and indoor national players as well as a few up and coming athletes. Former 2007 Indoor World Cup participants Emily Rix and Malinda Hapuarachchi and current outdoor National team members Ali Lee and Amanda Stone are strong leaders at the camp. All four hone the most indoor experience for the squad but with selections still taking place many other athletes seem to have been making a good impression. Several members of the University of Toronto outdoor team including Kri Shier, Hannah Tighe and Katy Jo Williams have all been performing well at the camp.
Grade 11 youngster Amanda Woodcroft has shown great speed and tenacity out on the court and current Guelph graduate Angela Lancaster have shown her strong skills in the middle. With over 20 court players and 5 goalies involved in the selection camp and Australia exhibition games, several Canadian athletes will be getting an opportunity to gain some international experience. All players will be rotating in to play games during the week but a stronger squad will be named for the 4-game test series on May 15 and 16th.
The program will move forward with training being based out of Toronto until the qualifier in August. Several fundraising efforts will be taking place as the program is completely self-funded. Look forward to results and updates from the Australia exhibition and test series as this week goes on!