FIH World League R2, Vancouver - Canada vs. Mexico

The last major international tournament to take place on Canadian soil was the 2008 women’s Olympic Qualifier, hosted on Vancouver Island, just a 1.5 hour ferry ride away from this year’s Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 event in West Vancouver. The Canadian hockey community is always eager to collaborate when hosting international competition but for the 2017 World League event it has been a particularly engaging journey for the local West Vancouver Field Hockey Club (WVFHC).

“We hosted a USA and Canada men’s series in 2016 and all of our spectators and volunteers were so amazing that we knew on that basis we would be able to host a great world league tournament,” said Emma Gibbons, General Manager of both the tournament and WVFHC. “It has provided lots of opportunity for our club members to get involved. Our junior league alone has 1,600 members starting in the spring league now so it is exciting for them to be able to come out, watch and get involved in sport.”

By the numbers, the Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 event has:

100 Volunteers – More than 100 volunteers have sported the bright yellow event t-shirts and their contributions have spanned a variety of areas including event services, volunteer services, merchandise, VIP and hospitality, team liaisons, change room attendants, field maintenance and ball kids. The majority of these volunteers are part of the WVFHC.

50 Medical Staff – Gord Bird, an Emergency Physician and the tournament’s Chief Medical Officer, has put together a core group of six practitioners, including doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists, to lead a group of 50 young volunteers who are all interested in learning and shadowing medical professionals. This mentor medical program was set up by Bird to encourage youth interest in a medical profession.

6 Intense Months of Planning – The local organizing committee is made up of 12 chairs, each with an area and sub group of volunteers, and collectively they have been meeting and planning intensely for the last 6 months.

2,500 Youth – The WVFHC has over 2,500 youth involved in their elementary school’s field hockey program. This existing partnership has now included opportunities for the schools to attend the World League games.

300 Welcome Bags – Rutledge field is just a few short blocks away from the large Park Royal shopping center, who the local organizing committee reached out to. A variety of Park Royal vendors collaborated to create 300 welcome and appreciation bags for all the participating athletes, officials and volunteers.

12 Hours -  Hours spent at the field have continued to rack up as at least two members of the local organizing committee have been at the pitch for 12 hours a day for the last two weeks leading up to the main event. From managing teams at training, to the pre-tournament test matches and organizing transportation there has been no shortage of time spent at the home of WVFHC.

“This tournament was also about creating a legacy,” adds Geoff Matthews, Technical Director for WVFHC and the venue manager for the World League event. “The club purchased new stands and goals that we will be able to use after this tournament. This whole event has also been a great way to involve our community. We also have six girls (from WVFHC) representing Canada at this tournament so for the youth coming out to watch they can be inspired seeing international level players that went full circle from junior to senior to the national team right here on this turf.”

The WVFHC also credits the district of West Vancouver for their support in helping organize and  work through the many processes and by-laws involved in running an event of this stature. In addition, the local soccer clubs that typically share the facility have been very accommodating   around field availability, parking and change room usage.

By the Numbers, the teams of the Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 event:

16  - Age of the youngest players at the tournament who are Karen Gonzalez from Mexico and Chelsea Dey from Trinidad and Tobago.

38 – Age of the oldest player at the tournament who is captain and goalkeeper Rosanna Pasell from Uruguay.

4 – Number of players who entered the tournament with no international caps (1 from Mexico, 3 from Uruguay)

224 – highest number of caps from one player is captain Ritu Rani from India.

64.31 – Average number of caps per team at the tournament

126 – Total number of players

23.83 – Average age of all the players at the tournament 

In addition, India is the most experienced team at the tournament (average of 100.9 caps), followed by Chile (89.6) and Canada (61.2).

The tournament is on a rest day today, 3 April, but will resume with the final pool play games on 4 April.