June 27, 2007
Vancouver, BC. ó Field Hockey Canada has named the menís and womenís national teams That will compete at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29. The Pan American Games represent a qualifying opportunity for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.
Canadaís best 16 male and female field hockey athletes will travel with 9 experienced coaching and support staff members to Rio de Janeiro, departing July 9th and returning to Canada July 27th.
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Contact: Andrew Pitre, Manager High Performance, Field Hockey Canada
Source: Field Hockey Canada
The menís program has generated positive Momentum with recent tours and should be in stride for peek performances at the games. In the past 5 months the menís program has played 25 international matches, most recently they placed 2nd in the Setanta Sport Trophy and played the French national team to a 0-0 draw and a 5-1 victory.
The menís team has a good mix of experience and young talent. The team will be lead by six Olympians from the 2000 Sydney Games including Ravi Kahlon (Victoria, BC), Michael Mahood (West Vancouver, BC), Ken Pereira (Toronto, ON), Robert Short (Vancouver, BC), Bindi Kullar (Surrey, BC), and Paul Wettlaufer (North Vancouver, BC). Goalkeeper, Mike Mahood is confident and technically sound between the posts for Canada with 162 international caps. Mike is one of the strongest keepers in the Pan American Games tournament, if not the world.
Canada has a strong presence in the midfield with the experience of Rob Short, the teamís captain who holds a team high with 243 caps. Peter Short plays alongside his brother at midfield and this will be the second time the Short brothers have played at the Pan American Games together.
Sukhwinder (Gabbar) Singh (Surrey, BC) with 20 caps and Scott Tupper (Vancouver, BC) with 28 caps will be playing in their first Pan American Games tournament. Both are players who have developed well this year and have made valuable contributions to the team.
The men enter this tournament as the 2nd ranked country in the Pan American Games, behind Argentina. Other competitive menís team will be Chile, Cuba, USA and the Dutch Antilles. ďEveryone who shows up to this tournament wants to win. Our goal will be to defeat all the other teams to win the gold medal and earn our ticket to BeijingĒ says Head Coach Louis Mendonca.
The Canadian men won the Pan American Games in 1999 (Winnipeg, Canada), 1987 (Indianapolis, USA) and 1983 (Caracas, Venezuela).
The Canadian women go into the Pan American games with a different look and new enthusiasm and confidence. For 11 players and Head Coach, Sally Bell, this will be their first Pan American Games.
The women have strong leadership and confidence in Andy Rushton (Victoria, BC) who has been a regular presence in the womenís back line with her 109 international caps. Katie Rusthon who holds 38 caps plays along side her sister at defense. Another sibling connection on the team is Clare and Hilary Linton from Vancouver, BC. Clare is another solid defender that provides strength to the Canadian backline, and Hilary fits in at midfield. Tiffany Michaluk (West Vancouver, BC) and Cailie OíHara (Oakville, ON) are two forwards that have worked well to become offensive threats with good ball possession and dangerous runs.
The women are physically fit and well prepared for this major tournament. This past year, the women have centralized their training program in Vancouver, BC and are currently fine tuning game strategies at a Vancouver Island Training Camp, June 27th-July 2nd. The women have responded well in recent competitions with 5 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw in their last 9 international matches over the past 2 months. These international have given Canada a good test of Pan Am challengers including Argentina, USA, and Chile. Another unpredictable Pan Am contender will be the Dutch Antilles, who can fill a squad made up of talented Dutch 1st Division players.
The Canadian women enter the tournament as the 3rd ranked Pan American Games team behind a strong Argentina team and the USA.
If the menís and womenís do not win the Gold medal at the Pan American Games in Brazil, the women will move on to compete at home in the WORLD HOCKEY Womenís Olympic Qualifier, April 26 Ė May 4, 2008 in Victoria, BC. The menís Olympic qualification venue will be announced on October 15, 2007.