After Canada’s opening night loss against Germany, all the team comments were about turning the page and taking aim at Great Britain in the second match.
“That’s the beauty of tournament hockey,” Antoni Kindler, Canada’s goalkeeper said in a post-game interview. “You can always come out the next game and write a new chapter.”
Despite a few good chances and a magical goal from Keegan Pereira, Canada had little to celebrate after their loss on Saturday. Less than a 48-hour turnaround means the team will have to sharpen up their tools in short order before taking on Team GB.
Meanwhile, Great Britain opened their Olympic charge with a 3-1 win over South Africa, with goals coming off the sticks of Liam Ansell, Sam Ward and Jack Waller. Others to watch out for on Team Great Britain include 2016 Olympian and skipper Adam Dixon as well as 2019 FIH rising star of the year, Zach Wallace. This team is largely comprised of the English national team that recently finished fourth at the 2021 Euro Hockey Championships with the additions of Jacob Draper and Rupert Shipperley from Wales and Alan Forsyth from Scotland. Great Britain has made a habit of advancing out of the group stage in the Olympic Games but haven’t stood on a podium since the 1988 Games in Seoul, where they won gold.
Canada and Great Britain haven’t met since the 2015 World League Finals . These are two different teams, now and Canada’s looking to rewrite history with a win today. While Pereira and Floris van Son led the attacking charge for Canada, the steady defensive core of Scott Tupper, Gordon Johnston and John Smythe will need to batten down the hatches and protect the circle. Antoni Kindler was stellar in his opener against Germany, making 15 saves, many of which were grade-A chances. According to Canadian coach Pasha Gademan, the group needs a complete 60-minute team effort if they want to compete in these Games.
“We definitely had some of those — healthy — first game nerves,” Gademan said in an interview following the loss to Germany. “We had batches of good play, but we got away from our plan and we let Germany play their game. We need to make opponents play our game. We need to stick to our plan. I believe in our group to do way better in our coming matches.”
Tupper and Johnston sit atop the circle as the double threat for the Canadian penalty corner unit that only managed one attempt against Germany. Getting to the PC spot and getting results in the circle will be something Canada is trying to achieve in their second match out.
Canadian forward, Mark Pearson’s second cousin, Thomas Sorsby plays for Team GB. Sorsby made the English National Team a few years ago, but the two have never suited up on the same field against each other. Pearson said it will be a special feeling to share the Olympic field with a close family member.
“Being 10 years my junior, I never really crossed over with him that much. But we’d always go visit him and his family whenever we were in London,” Pearson said. “I was that guy who was always coming over, dropping off Canadian jerseys for him to train in. He came and watched me play at Comm Games in Glasgow in 2014. He played cricket and hockey, and now he’s on Team GB. Based on how our careers are going, it’s possible this is the only time we meet. I’m probably going to be leaving soon and he’s just starting his international career. It’s pretty cool and special for us.”
Cousins, Mark Pearson (Right, Left) and Tom Sorsby (centre) will match up for the the first — and likely only — time of their careers.
All Team Canada field hockey action will be streamed/televised live by CBC. Click below for streaming details. In addition, Field Hockey Canada will be hosting an online chat-thread for every game, and special watch parties for our Great Britain and Belgium games. See below for more details.