Field Hockey Canada > Men’s National Team sets sights on Europe after “training camp” style week

Men’s National Team sets sights on Europe after “training camp” style week

PHOTO: Midfielder Paul Wharton (right) looks on as defender Adam Froese (middle) makes a pass during a Men’s National Team training session in West Vancouver.

May 16, 2016 | Shaheed Devji |

It didn’t have the fanfare and international attention that a competitions like the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup had or the upcoming Olympic Games will have, but the past week’s training block for Canada’s men’s field hockey team was as important – and intense – as both.

With team selection for June trip to Europe (which will be Canada’s last tour and competition before Olympic team selection) set for the end of this week, the Canadian men went through a training camp style week, on the field seven times in five days last week.

“It was different schedule wise with the everyday training,” says veteran defender Adam Froese, who was one of eighteen athletes who went to Malaysia in April for the Azlan Shah Cup. “I know guys were pretty fatigued by the end of the week. It’s all a part of the preparation.”

Ending a block of training that began late April after the trip to Malaysia, the mini-camp had heavy implications on the upcoming Olympic Games.

It is expected that 20 players will be selected for the European tour and logically the 16 (and two reserves) for the Olympic Games will come from that European 20.

That means cracking the European squad is important, making the past week essential for final impressions.

“The big one is to get as good a possible look at the guys in making a decision around not only Rio, but also Europe,” says Men’s National Team head coach Anthony Farry. “To give guys who didn’t go to Azlan Shah a really fair shot to line up against the other guys.”

In addition to on-field training, the men have been put through the paces with regards to fitness over the last block and specifically over the last couple of weeks.

Whether it was timed runs after practice or team orienteering missions in the areas around the practice facility, conditioning was as much a focus as technical training in the recent weeks.

“Coming into an Olympics in a qualification game towards the end maybe we’re playing Ireland or India, maybe we need to win both those games,” Farry adds. “There are going to be a whole lot of factors that are going to be fatiguing.”

“We wanted to see how they performed at the end of the week when they were tired.”

In a typical year, the recent schedule could and would be considered a grind. But this year is not a typical year.

With the Olympics now less than three months away, the Canadian men know how important the previous training block has been. And knowing the implications of the upcoming selections for Europe on the Olympic Games, the guys know there is no room to let up.

“You train every four year cycle for the major competitions like the World Cups and the Olympics,” adds Froese, who is hoping to go to his first Olympic Games in Rio this summer. “It’s kind of weird to think that those four years of training come down to the last two and a bit months. All that training for a two and half week competition, I think guys are starting to see that we’re getting pretty close.”

The Men’s National Team has a – well-deserved – recovery week this week before returning to the field to training next week, after the team for the European tour team is named.

They will then head to Europe – starting in Ireland before going to the United Kingdom – on June 9 for training and test matches against fellow Olympic bound teams Ireland and Spain.

The Olympic roster is expected to be named in the first week of July with the Olympic Games beginning on August 5 with the Opening Ceremony.