THE Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey Team is headed to Ipoh, Malaysia, to compete against a handful of the world’s best teams in the storied Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from April 5 to 12.
Eighteen athletes have been named to the touring roster, which includes 14 members of the Men’s National Team that recently finished third at World League Round 2 in San Diego, California.
Two of the athletes are Jagdish Gill (midfield position) of Toronto and Sukhi Panesar (midfield position) of Surrey.
Twenty-three year-old defender Adam Froese (Abbotsford, BC), who is coming off his 100th international match for Canada, will be serving as team captain with Scott Tupper in Belgium on club duty.
In addition to the host Malaysians (ranked 12th in the world), Canada, currently ranked 15th, will face many of the world’s top field hockey nations Australia (world no.1), New Zealand (world no.7), Korea (world no.8), and India (world no.9).
Having recently qualified for the World League Semi-finals, which take place in Argentina in June, and serve as an Olympic qualifier, with the top three teams from that tournament earning an automatic berth in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Azlan Shah Cup
could not come at a better time for the Canadians.
“It serves a double purpose,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry. “It gives us the opportunity to go and play the best teams in the world which is going to prepare for World League 3 (also known as the World League Semi-finals).
“Secondly and maybe more importantly, it gives those guys who were just on the edge of selection for World League 2, the opportunity to push for World League 3.”
Umpire Deric Leung, who also officiated at World League 2 in California, will once again be representing Canada at the tournament.
This year’s tournament will be the twenty-fourth edition of the Azlan Shah Cup. The Canadians finished fifth in 2014. Canada opens the tournament Sunday, April 5 at 1:15am PT / 4:15am ET against the world’s first ranked team, Australia.