Priya Randhawa of Surrey, Poonam Sandhu of Vancouver in Canadian field hockey team to England

FIELD HOCKEY PRIYA RANDHAWACANADA’S women’s national field hockey program has selected 20 women to travel overseas for a series of seven matches versus England and Wales from April 27 to May 7.

The series, which will be held in England, will serve as an important test for the Canadian women as they prepare for key competitions later this year.

South Asians Priya Randhawa (forward) of Surrey and Poonam Sandhu (forward) of Vancouver made the cut.

In facing England, Canada will be taking on a team ranked number three in the world and which is in the final stages of preparation for the World Cup this summer.

“Against teams like England, you have no place to hide and this kind of exposure will test both our on-field and off-field systems,” says women’s national team head coach Ian Rutledge.

“This team strives to achieve lofty goals and it is young enough and talented to work hard to make a difference.”

Leading the way is team captain, Kate Gillis (Kingston, Ont.), who will likely be capped for the 100th time on this tour, and at 24 is looking to lead the women to success through the upcoming tour and international competitions.

“It’s a huge honour to represent Canada in every game we play,” says Gillis. “For the program it’s really big too, trying to get that international experience. Because we are still young, paving the way for everyone else is big for us.”

FIELD HOCKEY POONAM SANDHUAbigail Raye (Kelowna, B.C.) is also set for her 100th cap in front of family and friends in England, where she was born. Raye, 22, is on pace to become the youngest Canadian ever to reach that milestone.

“I’m incredibly lucky that (former women’s coach) Louis Mendonca took a chance on me when I was seventeen and just kind of let me hit the ground running,” says Raye. “I’m honoured and I’m very grateful.”

In a deliberate strategy, with the purpose of providing greater exposure to international competition, Rutledge has selected four development squad athletes to the roster: Priya Randhawa (Surrey, B.C.), Amanda Woodcroft (Waterloo, Ont.), Rachel Donohoe (North Vancouver, B.C.), and Kathleen Leahy (Victoria, B.C.).

These four along with the more established playing group, will be looking to make a claim for the Commonwealth Games team (to be named at a later date).

“Priya, Amanda, Rachel and Kathleen are all promising junior athletes and have been working hard to claim regular a spot on the senior roster throughout 2013-14.This trip will be invaluable for their growth and allow them to position for a spot in the final sixteen for the Commonwealth Games.”

Unlucky to not make the team was Tegan Stairs (Kitchener, Ont.) who has performed well on the past two trips.

“Tegan should consider herself unlucky; she has trained very well and is making great progress in her development in becoming an international level striker.”

Canada departs for England on April 24 and begins the series on April 27 with the first of four consecutive matches against England, which will be followed by three straight versus Wales.





April 27 – vs England, 3pm*


April 28 – vs England, 11am*


April 30 – vs England, 2pm*


Thursday, May 1 – vs England, 2pm*


*All times local; all matches at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in Bisham, Marlow




May 4 – vs Wales, 6:46pm**


May 6 – vs Wales, 7pm**


May 7 – vs Wales, 3pm**


**All times local; all games at Sports Wales National Centre in Sophia Walk, Cardiff