Field Hockey Canada > Canada takes home two field hockey medal at Pan Am Games

Toronto 2015 was a successful home games for Canada’s field hockey teams. For the first time in sixteen years both the men’s and women’s teams medaled at the same Pan American Games.

The last time both the men’s and women’s National Teams medaled at the same games was the last time Canada hosted the Pan American Games in 1999 in Winnipeg.

In Toronto, the Canadian women were able to break the recent trend of falling short of the podium by winning a bronze medal with a 1-0 victory over Chile.

“We’ve had quite the journey so far,” says Women’s National Team captain Kate Gillis, who is part of a group of athletes who suffered a loss in the bronze medal match at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Mexico. “A little bit of disappointment, ups and downs, but we’re so thrilled to be able to validate that journey and really finish this year off on one of our high notes.”

A young and improving team, the Women’s National Team that competed at the 2015 Games has an average age of 23, which is significantly lower than the top teams in the world.

A medal at the Pan Am games, while historic, is also a sign that the women’s program is on track in terms of progression towards Olympic qualification in 2020.

“We’re already three years into an 8 year plan,” says Women’s Natioal Team director and head coach Ian Rutledge. “We have a World Cup to prepare for in 2018 (pending qualification) and the girls effectively were talking about starting our Tokyo program (in the bronze medal match in Toronto).” 

The Men’s National Team took home silver at the Pan American Games for the seventh time in its history.

The Canadians came into the tournament with two goals in mind – winning a gold medal and qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. While a gold medal would have ensured qualification, based on recent results and world rankings the Canadians were able to qualify with a semifinal win over Brazil and did not need a gold medal to go through.

“We’ve proven we’re an Olympic team and we’re going to Rio and we’re extremely proud of that and excited for that,” says Men’s National Team captain Scott Tupper, who is one of two current players who has competed in the Olympics before (in 2008). “Winning Pan Ams is something we wanted to do. We wanted to win a gold medal in front of our home fans. I’ll be honest it stings alot.”

Canada and Argentina met in the Pan Am Games gold medal match for the eleventh straight year. In 2011, the Argentines upended the Canadians 3-1 in the final match, so Canada was looking to bounce back on home soil.

In the end, Canada wasn’t able to convert on its chances and Argentina was, leading to a 3-0 win and its second straight and ninth Pan Am Games gold medal total.

The silver medal added to a very successful medal haul for Team Canada at the Pan Am Games, and, while not the result the Canadian men were hoping for, caps off a very busy and successful spring and summer of competition.

“We’ve had a great year when we do look at the big picture. To move on from World League 2 was great for us and then to have a fantastic result at World League 3 which more or less secured the Olympic berth was tremendous for our group, our program as our whole.”

Based on their result at the World League Semifinal, the men have qualified for the World League Final which will take place in India later this year and will mark the beginning of a busy year ahead preparing for the Olympic Games.