Field Hockey Canada > World Class Teams ready for games at UVic

World Class Teams ready for games at UVic

October 9, 2009 | Field Hockey Canada |

World Class Teams Prepare for the World Cup

October 9, 2009

By Omar Rawji

The last time India played Canada on the international stage was prior to the Olympic Games in 2008 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.  Back then, India faced a younger, less experienced Canadian Men’s side.  Ranjeev Deol, one of the team’s veterans with 144 caps to his name, recalls playing in that tournament and feels that Canada is a more mature squad this time around.

“Oh yeah, having played at the Olympics, it’s a different team,” says Deol. “Now we have 20 guys with international games under their belts.”

In the upcoming 7 Test Super Series, with both teams in preparation for the quickly approaching 2010 World Cup, Canada is not the only team that stands to benefit from playing one of the world’s stronger teams.  In fact, heading into the tournament, Canada has achieved a world ranking of 11th, one ahead of India’s 12th, making the outcome anything but a foregone conclusion.

One key benefit for the hometown squad will be a chance to face a different style of play than they are used to.  With the Canadian players based either in their home country or in European leagues, they rarely see the Asian approach to the game, and the chance to study how it matches up against their own will be invaluable.  If they intend to compete for the World Cup, this will likely be a hurdle to overcome along the way.

Indeed, peaking for the 2010 World Cup has been a consistent theme throughout this year’s schedule, and in the upcoming weeks, Canada will seek to build on the experience gained from their most recent matches played in Australia at the 3 Nations Series.  According to Deol, the results in that tournament were not indicative of the benefit gained. 

“Playing the number one team in the world, in my opinion, was a great experience,” he notes. “Especially for the younger guys, playing under pressure and having no time to think was a benefit.  The guys got a chance to see what it’s like playing against a world class team.”

In preparation for the Super Series, Canada has selected a squad of 22 players following their national team camp which ran from October 1st to the 4th.  For each game, Head Coach Alan Brahmst will select 16 to play, giving him a chance to look at different combinations and line-ups.  The primary strength of this team is a tough defense that has the ability mount quick counter-attacks, and against a creative India side, this will be tested and solidified. 

For Deol, winning in this tournament is not of utmost importance: “Personally, I’d love to win the series, but for me,” he says, “it’s a great chance to play in games and gel with the players so we can get stronger as a team moving towards the World Cup.” 

With Deol set to turn 33 on October 19th, right in the midst of the Super Series, a winning record would certainly make a nice birthday gift.

The 7 Test Super Series opens Friday evening at the University of Victoria.  Visit .