Canada names Commonwealth Games field hockey teams
Field Hockey Canada on Tuesday announced its men's and women's teams for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, in October.
The competition promises to be a tough one. Seven of the 10 men's teams and five of the women's teams that will play in the Oct. 3-14 Delhi Games also qualified for their respective World Cups this year.
Australia has owned the event since its Commonwealth Games debut in 1998, winning all three gold medals on the men's side and two of the women's. India's victory in the women's competition in 2002 in Manchester is the only thing that prevented an Aussie title sweep.
Canada has never won a medal in field hockey at the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics.
The Canadian men's team climbed into the top 10 in the recently released world rankings, despite losing all five of its pool contests at the 2010 World Cup in Delhi. Canada, though, did rebound to beat Pakistan in a classification match.
At the Commonwealth Games, the squad will be led by two-time Olympians Ken Pereira of Unionville, Ont., and Rob Short of Tsawwassen, B.C., both of whom will play in their fourth Commonwealth Games.
"We have had significant turnover in our men's national team since the World Cup in March with five retiring players," said Hari Kant, high performance director for the men's squad. "We also have new leadership with Robin D'Abreo being named the head coach.
"The Commonwealth Games … will provide our younger players a perfect opportunity to perform against quality opposition and gain valuable experience towards our qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games."
Women's side looks to veterans
The relatively green women's team will lean on the leadership of veterans Stephanie Nesbitt of Vancouver and Katie Baker of Argyle Shore, P.E.I.
"The team selected is relatively young in terms of experience," said women's coach Louis Mendonca. "The Commonwealth Games will be a great testing ground for measuring present progress and preparing us for future important events such as the Pan American Games and Olympic qualifier.
In Delhi, the Canadian women, who did not qualify for this year's World Cup, will compete in Group B with England (a two-time runner-up and a bronze medallist in 2006), New Zealand (bronze in '98), Malaysia and Wales. Group A has former champs Australia and India, plus Scotland, and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Canadian men were drawn into Group B with former medallists England and New Zealand, as well as South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago. Group A appears to be the Group of Death, with powerhouse Australia and two-time medallists Pakistan and Malaysia.
- The Canadian women's field hockey team did not qualify for this year's World Cup, as previously reported in this story.Oct 17, 2013 11:27 PM ET