Field Hockey Canada > Women’s National Team begins test series in New Zealand

They’ve been out of the country training for a couple of weeks already, but Wednesday evening the Canadian Women’s National Field Hockey Team puts all the hard work on the line when they begin a three-match test series with the New Zealand Blacksticks.

The Canadian women have been training in New Zealand since mid-January and in that time have amassed five friendly matches.

Out of the five friendlies, the most recent of which was a 2-1 loss to the Blacksticks, who are ranked fourth in the world, Canada won three games.

“All of our twenty-three players have been playing in all of those games,” says Women’s National Team head coach Ian Rutledge from Whangarei, where the test series will take place. “We’ve been sharing the load to provide a valuable experience to play against one of the best teams in the world.” 

The first two wins came against Northland’s national league team, and the other a 3-2 victory over New Zealand “A,” in which Canada led 2-0 in the final quarter.

Tonight, the first of three official matches against the Blacksticks is set to begin at 9:30pm PT/12:30am ET.

“I think our preparation has been pretty close to ideal,” adds Rutledge. “We’ve managed to do some good quality training. We’ve managed to play against some quality teams in the lead up to the test series.”

“I think we’re in a good place heading into the games that matter.”

The games not only matter in the sense that they serve as officially sanctioned matches against a top tier team, but also because they give Rutledge and the coaching staff (which includes new assistant coach Steph Andrews) a final look at the Canadian women in game action before decisions are made around who makes the final team headed to World League 2 in Dublin, Ireland in March.

“These three test matches against the number four team in the world will definitely give us an indication of what’s working well for us and what needs tinkering before we get to Ireland,” says Rutledge.

“We’ve had good momentum throughout the three weeks so far; we just want to make sure we finish off on a good note.”

For a schedule and results of the Canadian Women’s National Team’s test series in New Zealand, click here.