KEEGAN Pereira of India Club and Sukhi Panesar of United Brothers are among 16 players chosen for Canada’s field hockey team for Tokyo, Field Hockey Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced on Monday.
This group of athletes will be competing in a pool against Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and South Africa for a spot in the playoffs.
The team qualified by defeating Ireland in a two-game series in West Vancouver in October 2019. The thrilling qualifying series on home soil came down to a sudden-death shootout that resulted in Canada securing the win and the berth for Tokyo 2020, Field Hocket Canada said.
This is the first time the Men’s National Team has qualified for back-to-back Olympic Games since competing at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988. Tokyo 2020 will be team captain Scott Tupper’s third Olympic Games following his appearances with the team at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016.
“Personally, to be able to compete in a third Olympics is definitely something I’m incredibly proud of and excited for,” Tupper said. “Anytime you get to represent your country, it’s a huge honour. I cherish my Olympic experiences and am looking forward to this year’s Games.”
Canada’s pool includes the top four competitors from June’s European Hockey Championship and Commonwealth rival South Africa. Tupper expects his team to rise to the occasion and play their best hockey when it matters.
“Although the Olympic experience will be different this time around, I fully expect the Olympic competition to be just as fierce as ever,” he said. “Whether there are fans or not, it’s still the best teams in the world competing for medals. We’ll have our fans cheering us on from back home and we’re really looking forward to testing ourselves against the best in the world. I expect us to be competitive in every game and fighting for points at every moment.”
This year’s team features eight athletes returning from the Rio 2016 roster and eight first-time Olympians.
“Having that experience of going through a major Games or two is really important. We’ve been through it all before so we know what to expect,” he added. “With that said, it’s also really nice to have that young injection of energy and youth. They are wide-eyed and seeing things for the first time. That fresh attitude can remind us how truly amazing this experience is. I think striking that balance is great for our team.”
The Olympic men’s field hockey competition will take place July 24 to August 5 (Day 1 to Day 13) at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
“I remember the incredible victory that this team achieved to qualify for these Olympics; it was electrifying,” said Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “I can’t wait to see that kind of intensity and energy again from them in Tokyo!”
KEEGAN PEREIRA started playing field hockey when he was six years old in India. He learned about the game from his father, who also played in their home country.
After moving to Canada, Pereira quickly rose among the Canadian field hockey ranks, making his senior international debut in 2009 in Victoria against India. Pereira is a natural offensive talent who has been a key player for Team Canada over the past decade including his stand-out performance at the 2019 Olympic Qualifier.
Keegan has played for the University of Victoria Vikes and University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), and also played abroad for Royal Wellington THC.
SUKHI PANESAR made his senior national team debut in 2010. The highlight of his junior career was competing at the 2013 Junior Hockey World Cup in New Delhi. That same year, he was part of the Canadian team that won silver at the Pan American Cup. In 2014 he competed at the Commonwealth Games and at the Champions Challenge 1 in Malaysia, where Canada finished second in the tournament that was a qualifier for the Champions Trophy.
In 2015, Panesar was a key part of the midfield when Canada qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games via the World League competition, and also captured silver at the Pan American Games. In 2019, Panesar again played a critical role in the team’s qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Sukhi’s brother, Balraj also plays on the Men’s National Team.
|Antoni Kindler||Vancouver, BC||GK||West Vancouver FHC||98|
|Brendan Guraliuk||Tsawwassen, BC||MID||UBC||7|
|Brenden Bissett||New Westminster, BC||MID||Vancouver Hawks||139|
|Fin Boothroyd||West Vancouver, BC||MID||UBC||23|
|Floris Van Son||Amsterdam, Netherlands||FWD||AMVJ||35|
|Gabriel Ho-Garcia||Burnaby, BC||MID||Burnaby Lakers||133|
|Gordon Johnston||Vancouver, BC||DEF||Vancouver Hawks||179|
|James Kirkpatrick||Victoria, BC||MID||West Vancouver FHC||100|
|Jamie Wallace||Vancouver, BC||FWD||UBC||46|
|John Smythe||Vancouver, BC||DEF||Vancouver Hawks||121|
|Keegan Pereira||Pickering, ON||FWD||India Club||182|
|Mark Pearson||Tsawwassen, BC||FWD||West Vancouver FHC||277|
|Matthew Sarmento||Vancouver, BC||FWD||Vancouver Hawks||121|
|Oliver Scholfield||Vancouver, BC||FWD||Vancouver Hawks||71|
|Scott Tupper||Vancouver, BC||DEF||West Vancouver FHC||315|
|Sukhi Panesar||Surrey, BC||MID||United Brothers||74|
|Taylor Curran||North Vancouver, BC||MID||West Vancouver FHC||185|
|David Vandenbossche||Ghent, Belgium||GK||Gantoise||2|
|Dave Carter||Vancouver, BC||GK||Vancouver Hawks||194|
|Brandon Pereira||Surrey, BC||DEF||United Brothers||61|