Year end camp no walk in the park
With 2016 coming to a close and winter fast approaching, Canada’s women’s field hockey program held its Year-End Camp this week in Vancouver.
The four-day camp – which included fitness testing, team meetings, and on-field sessions and concluded Friday afternoon at the University of British Columbia’s Wright Field – brought to an end a fourteen-week stretch of training for the Women’s National Team.
“It’s a little different than having a lot of tournaments back to back,” says veteran midfielder Brienne Stairs. “But it’s kind of nice because we’re all centralized, so it’s really good to all be together.”
Togetherness has been a strong theme throughout the Women’s National Program this year.
Prior to this final training block of the year, the Canadian women played a competition schedule chock full of opponents in the Top-10 of the World Rankings.
It was a complement of games that gave a group with a core that has been together for the better part of the last four-year cycle yet another level of experience.
“It’s good that we do have a lot of core players that are still together which has been really great,” Stairs adds. “We’ve got to play many years together and get a lot more caps.”
“We do have a lot of new players that are joining, so it’s been good that we’ve all been together for the last 14 weeks so we can integrate them into the program.”
But the unity has not been limited to the players on the team with years of experience.
Throughout the year and during the fall, training with the Seniors has been a contingent of Junior athletes hoping to make a more permanent jump to the senior level in 2017.
“All the girls are super supportive,” says Sara Goodman, an 18 year-old defender from Vancouver Island, who spent parts of the year training with the Senior team. “I really like the atmosphere here.”
With the selection of the 2017 Senior and Junior squads around the corner, the Year-End Camp was a final audition for spots ahead of a busy and historic year ahead during which Canada’s women will host World League Round 2 – an event part of the 2018 World Cup qualification process – in April.
“Everyone is just competitive and you can tell that there’s a lot of belief in the program,” says Goodman, who competed for Canada at the 2016 Junior Women’s Pan American Championship in Trinidad and Tobago this past April.
“I just want to be a part of it. I really enjoyed just training and to be able to play would be super exciting.”
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