Field Hockey Canada is pleased to announce the Men’s National Team roster for the World League Round Two (WL2) in France. WL2 is the new structure for Olympic and World Cup qualification respectively, so the tournament is of utmost importance.
The boys are coming off a demanding training block under head coach Anthony Farry, and are eager to return to international competition. Coach Farry looks to hone in on a few specifics during the tournament:
“Our aim for this tour is to continue to refine our playing style and focus more on the team structure. We continually work on our concepts during training but testing that against top international competition is where we want to be and this what we're looking forward too.
He’s also curious to see the teams progress against top teams:
“This is a great challenge as you always want quality games and it will give us a real insight as to where we are sitting right now, what's working well and what needs adjusting.Our excitement to be competing again is obvious and we can't wait to get back out there!”
Selections were tough as usual – as you’ll see below, coach Farry opted for a blend of emerging talent and established veterans. Coach Farry made seven roster changes from the teams last competition and sees this as a positive:
“We believe this a great sign of the depth we are starting to build. There are quite a few guys who can count themselves unlucky not to make this team that will no doubt push for selection for the Pan Am Cup and WL3 should we qualify."
Adam Froese – BC
Antoni Kindler – BC
Ben Martin – BC
David Carter – BC
David Jameson – BC
Gordon Johnston – BC
Iain Smythe – BC
Jesse Watson – BC
Keegan Pereira – ONT
Mark Pearson – BC
Matthew Bissett – BC
Matthew Guest – BC
Matthew Sarmento – BC
Philip Wright – BC
Richard Hildreth – BC
Scott Tupper – BC
Steve Bissett* – BC
Taylor Curran – BC
* Subject to medical clearance
Gabe Ho-Garcia – BC
Hudson Stewart – BC
Jagdish Gill – ONT
John Smythe – BC
Kevin Pereira – ONT
Nick Hignell – ONT
Advancing to Round Three
Hosted at the beautiful Saint Germain Hockey Club just outside Paris, Canada enters as the second highest ranked team by FIH standards at 14. They’re joined by Belgium, France, Poland, Portugal, and Scotland.
Each team provides unique challenges – Belgium in particular promises to be an exciting way to test the teams recent progress in training.
Team Canada kicks off competition on May 6 in a matinee game versus Scotland. You can see the full schedule here.
With the 2014 World Cup in their sights, the MNT needs a top two finish in order to put themselves in the best position to qualify for World League 3 (WL3) in Rotterdam the following month.
Embracing The Challenge
Team Canada departs from Vancouver’s YVR airport on April 30, giving them four days to acclimate to both the climate and nine hour time difference in France.
Dawning to Captain’s band is defensive stalwart Scott Tupper. Scott is excited about the evolving internal competition at training, saying:
“We've had good competition within our squad for selection which makes the training environment better. With some players returning from injury or re-earning their roster spot, as well as Matt Sarmento earning his first selection, I expect us to build on certain aspects of our game we've been working on.”
At the other end of the spectrum sits newcomer Matthew Sarmento who will earn his first cap in France. He’s a proven goalscorer at the U-21 level, and is eager to contribute at the Senior level:
“I’m beyond excited and I can't wait to get out there for my first international game, that being said, I can’t let that overshadow our goal as a team. We need a top two finish, and that is what we’re going to do.”
World League – A New Format
The World League is divided into four rounds taking place through two-year cycles. The league serves as qualification for the World Cup and Olympics, depending on the cycle.
Teams ranked 1-8 in FIH world rankings receive a bye directly to the third round, while teams ranked 9-16 (Canada included) receive a bye to round 2 (WL2).
For your interest, there are three other WL2 tournaments in Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi, and Elektrostal. All WL2 tournaments carry a round robin format, with the top two teams qualifying for the next round: WL3.
WL3 serves as the semi-finals of World League. There are two WL3 tournaments (Holland and Malaysia) consisting of eight teams each. From there, eight teams qualify to compete in the World League Finals.
The top six teams from the World League Finals then qualify for next summer’s World Cup.
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