Field Hockey Canada > Canadian keepers Carter and Kindler enjoying internal competition

In a year with 2016 Olympic qualification up for grabs, there is no lack of motivation for any member of the Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey Team. 

Each training session and each competition is a chance for athletes to impress the coaching staff and earn their way into a spot in the year’s most important matches.

This could not be more true for goalkeepers David Carter and Antoni Kindler, who are both on the Canadian touring roster currently in California preparing for World League Round 2, the first step of the Olympic qualification process, which begins on Saturday.

“When we’re on the field, we’re big competitors in training and it sometimes gets a bit heated,” says Carter of the dynamic between the two tenders. “We know the coaches just want to put the best guy out there for the best chance to win and we respect their decisions.”

As veteran keepers, internal competition is something both have grown accustomed to.

Both have been a part of the Canadian National Team during highs and lows over the past several years. And both would like to be front and center on the journey to Olympic qualification this year. 

“It’s no secret that you get to National Teams by being a competitor and priding yourself on your ability,” says Kindler. “I think both Carter and I are competitive and we both really want to be on the field whenever we can.” 

“That being said, I think our team has the luxury of having two very capable goalies that our coaching staff clearly has shown that they have trust and put faith in. And I think the team feels the same way.”

Kindler – who has never been to an Olympic Games – was in goal in 2011 when the Men’s National Team, after leading at halftime, suffered a narrow loss to Argentina at the Pan American Games, losing out on a spot in the 2012 Olympics.

Carter went to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China but didn’t find his way onto the field, serving as a backup to now retired goalkeeper Mike Mahood.

While disappointing, both experiences for both keepers will go a long with in how they prepare for and perform if presented with the opportunity to lead Canada to Olympic qualification in 2016.

“It’s something that we’ve gone through before,” explains Carter, 33, a veteran of 96 international matches for Canada. “I’ve been in net when the team qualified for the World Cup. That’s an experience you use.”

“The pressure is there but it’s something we thrive on and appreciate, that’s why we play the game.”

With World League Round 2 set to kick off on Saturday, the road to Olympic qualification will officially be in full swing and with it comes high expectations. 

While many athletes – especially goalkeepers who typically already carry a heavy load – may feel the pressure accompanied with these expectations, the experience of Canada’s two goalkeepers allows them to view it differently. 

It serves as added motivation. 

“That’s ultimately the reason why I’m still playing,” says Kindler, 26, about the possibility of qualifying for his first Olympics. “That’s definitely one of those goals that any amateur athlete has.” 

“When you get the opportunity you just have to make the most of it.”

Between the two of them, Kindler and Carter have played in 143 official international matches for Canada. 

And whether it’s Carter or Kindler between the pipes turning away the opposition’s shots in any given game on the way to earning a spot at the Olympics, what you can expect from the two field hockey players who have been through almost everything their sport has to offer is quite simply what brought them to the point of having the opprtunity: their best effort, on and off the field.

Canada’s Men’s National Team kicks off World League Round 2 on Saturday, February 28 at 10:45am against the host United States. Click here for Canada’s schedule and results.