MUCH like Canada serves as the home to ice hockey, Europe is the world’s mecca of field hockey. This fall, a number of athletes who are a part of the Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey Program have headed overseas for a chance to play in the world’s best professional domestic field hockey leagues.
Thirteen members of the Canadian Men’s National will be flying Canadian colours overseas as they join the world’s best field hockey players in the search for domestic titles.
This represents significant progress in the development of the Men’s National Program, as homegrown Canadian athletes are now among the world’s elite, competing at the highest level of the sport.
“The benefit of being able to off-shore players to top quality leagues around the world is huge,” says Men’s National Program Head Coach and Director Anthony Farry. “They are provided with top quality games on a week-in, week-out basis which is something that we can’t replicate here.”
The Men’s National Program is currently in a de-centralized phase of training, which allows for these athletes to compete abroad without interrupting their training with the National Program.
“We can see the direct correlation with the number of guys playing professionally overseas to our program’s consistent and positive results in international tournaments this year which is very pleasing,” adds Farry.
“We know the benefit of having guys gain valuable experience in different and sometimes challenging environments, it’s not always easy and that is often good thing for the athlete.”
The following is the list of the four South Asians in the Canadian National Program athletes confirmed to play overseas and their clubs for the 2014-2015 season:
Name / Hometown / Club / City
* Arif Virjee / Vancouver / Auckland Hockey Club / Auckland, New Zealand
* Harp Virdi / Vancouver / Stuttgart Hockey Club / Stuttgart, Germany
* Keegan Pereira / Ajax, Ontario / Wellington Tennis & Hockey Club / Brussels, Belgium
* Kevin Pereira / Ajax, Ontario / Reading Hockey Club / Reading, England