Tsawwassen and the Delta Falcons will certainly be well-represented when it comes to the U18 men’s field hockey competition at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
Lifelong teammates Brendan Guraliuk and Rowan Childs are two of the nine players named to the Canadian team that will be competing in Buenos Aries from Oct. 6-14.
They are members of the Canadian junior men’s program that trains out of the B.C. region national training centre at UBC where they also happen to be first-year students.
The Youth Olympics will feature the fast paced 5-aside version of the sport that is played on a condensed 50×40 metres playing surface surrounded by low level boards.
The boys first got their taste of it at last spring’s Pan American Zone qualifying event in Mexico where Canada placed third behind Argentina and the host country.
“When you think about it, it’s kind of like rugby sevens. We play 10 minute halves and the games are done in 20 minutes,” said Guraliuk.
“We got selected for the team last March and played it for the very first time when we got to Mexico.
It helped that we have ice hockey backgrounds. We had super quick shifts and that was different too.”
“I loved it,” added Childs. “Especially growing up with ice hockey here our entire lives and having the boards all around you. They are trying to grow the game and this is a really exciting version of it.”
The pair’s involvement with the national program is expected to go well beyond the Argentina trip.
Both are solid bets to be in Canadian colours again for the 2020 Youth World Cup in India.
Childs cracked the national team line-up two years ago for that event and, at just 16, was the youngest player in the entire tournament.
Guraliuk is already making progress for the next step beyond junior level by being invited to train with the senior men’s national team.
Both 2018 South Delta Secondary graduates got their starts in the game at a young age and are continuing family traditions.
Rowan’s father Robert Childs and his uncle Steve Childs both played the game at relatively high levels.
took up the sport through the encouragement of his mom who grew up playing the sport and is a physical education teacher.
“I started playing in Grade 1 which is about year after Brendan,” recalled Childs.
“Tsawwassen is such a good place to grow up, not only for field hockey but in life as well. I have just loved the game since I was a kid.”
“My mom was really into it,” added Guraliuk.
“Being a PE teacher, once I was old enough, she signed me up as soon as she could. I have played soccer and other stuff too. I have just fell in love with it.”
The big adjustment for the pair now is balancing their university studies with their busy field hockey schedules.
Both are also members of the UBC men’s team when they are not training with the national program.
Guraliuk is working towards a degree in kinesiology and takes advantages of enough breaks between his classes for homework.
Childs is currently studying arts and plans on transitioning to science. He has three mid-terms scheduled during his time in Argentina.
He will get to one of them at the end of the term while the other two will have be done from Buenos Aries.
“We missed some time in high school like when we went to Mexico last spring but it’s a much bigger challenge in university,” added Childs.
“It’s just something you have to do as part of the national team program.”
Other countries competing in Argentina include: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Vanuatu, Zambia and the host country.
Canada won silver four years ago, behind only Australia.