HOCKEY SERIES OPEN ACTS AS FIRST BENCHMARK FOR WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM EN ROUTE TO TOKYO 2020
The Canadian Women’s National Team’s road to the Tokyo Olympics starts today. Canada will take on Guatemala in their first qualification bout of 2018 at the Hockey Series Open in Salamanca, Mexico. After superb results at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the official hiring of Giles Bonnet as the new head coach, Canada is poised to take down the competition this week in Mexico.
Canada heads into the round-robin style tournament as the number one seeded team at the event. With the top two teams advancing to the next stage of Olympic qualification, the red and white are heavily favoured to advance.
According to team captain Kate Wright, no matter the quality of competition, the team is proud to wear the red and white and expects to maintain a standard of play that they’ve come to expect from themselves over the past several months.
“The team is always excited to represent our country,” she said. “We have been working really hard over the past couple weeks and are looking forward to continuing playing the attacking style of hockey we started to unleash in Australia.”
Wright said the team has made some huge strides coming out of the Commonwealth Games, though they still have a lot to work on in practices and competitions moving forward.
“We had some great results against some of the top teams in the world during the Commonwealth Games but had difficulty finishing, so we will be looking to really hone in on that part of our game,” she said.
This event is the perfect setting to work on their goal scoring as the last time Canada went to an early qualification tournament, then called World League One, they set a single-event goal scoring record.
According to newly appointed Bonnet, the team is ready to take on the world and he expects top–level performances no matter the opposition.
“This is the first step in the road to Tokyo 2020,” he said. “It’s exciting for Canada and this team to start on this daunting and inspiring challenge.”
The Women’s National Team has had a busy 2018 including three international tours and two intensive training blocks, followed up by this week’s competition in Mexico. There will be no rest for the team as they motor straight from Mexico to Europe for a 7-week tour featuring test matches and events against some top European nations.
According to Wright, the team is very excited to get out on the road and get quality competition under their belt over the next two months. For her, the ability to get so many games in close proximity will prove to be very valuable for this squad.
“It is a very exciting time for the Canadian Women’s National Team as we have not played this many games on a tour in a long time,” she said. “We will be taking advantage of the close proximity of the countries in Europe.”
Follow along via social media and on the tournament website for results this week from Salamanca. The team kicks off the Hockey Open Series tomorrow against Guatemala.
HOCKEY OPEN SERIES ROSTER:
Rowan Harris (GK)
Lauren Logush (GK)
Giles Bonnet – Head Coach
Carrie Trumpy – Manager
Rachelle O’Brien – Athletic Therapist