Field Hockey Canada > Memorable year for Canadian men to be capped off with visit to India for World League Final

If earning 2016 Olympic qualification wasn’t enough to make 2015 a success season, at the end of year the Canadian Men’s Field Hockey Team will have another accolade on which it can hang its hat: a visit to the World League Final in Rajpur, India from November 27 to December 6.

The tournament comprises of the top finishers from the two World League Semifinals played this summer and – in addition to Canada, which is ranked thirteenth – comprises of seven of the world’s top eight ranked teams.

“To be able to play with the top eight sides in the world for a number of reasons,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry. “Number one, we don’t get to play this level of competition all the time, so that’s going to be a real boon for us. And just the significance of ticking boxes as you go along, saying some things are going okay.”

That things are going okay is an understatement. 

For the first time since 2008, Canada is headed to the Olympic Summer Games after a stellar performance at the World League Semifinal in Argentina this past June, during which they beat Spain and New Zealand – both of which are placed higher in the International Hockey Federation World Rankings. 

That performance secured their berth to the Rio Games as well as the India’s World League Final and the tail end of this year.

“It’s a real credit to the guys because it’s been a lot of hard work to get to this area,” adds Farry. “We’ve placed a lot of time and finances into it as well. It’s been significant. For a country that doesn’t have the infrastructure and financial backing as maybe some other countries in the top eight do, it’s quite significant for us.”

The World League Final takes place in Rajpur, India at the newly constructed Rajpur International Hockey Stadium. Joining Canada at the tournament is Australia, ranked number one in the FIH World Rankings, Netherlands (2), Germany (3), Belgium (4), Great Britain (5), Argentina (6), and hosts India (8).

It will be the first time Canada has competed in a tournament of this stature outside of the Olympics and World Cup, for which qualification has typically been achieve through the Pan Am Games and Pan Am Cups.

Qualification for the World League Final is earned through the World League Tournament, where the world lower, mid, and top ranked teams are grouped together in a series of tournaments.

“No disrespect to the teams involved in the Pan Ams,” says Farry. “But you need to get through a lot of really good teams to achieve what we achieved.

“You expect it and that’s what you want and that’s what you fight for but when it does happen it’s a little bit surreal.”

This is the second playing of the World League Final, with the Netherlands having won the first.