Two South Asians in Field Hockey Canada’s men’s team for Glasgow 2014

Sukhpal PanesarFIELD Hockey Canada and Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) this week confirmed the athletes and coaches named to Team Canada Men for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in July.

The team includes two South Asian players: Sukhpal Panesar (midfield) of Surrey and Keegan Pereira (midfield) of Ajax, Ontario.

The Canadian men’s team are currently ranked 16th in the world and are working toward regaining their status in the top 12. The team will be anchored by Olympian Scott Tupper (Vancouver), a feared penalty-corner striker who currently plays professionally in Europe and led his Belgian club to the semi-finals of the European Hockey League. Tupper was named to the 2013 Pan American Elite Team, alongside two other Canadians, strikers Matt Guest (Calgary) and Mark Pearson (Tsawwassen, B.C.).

“The field hockey competition is traditionally strong at the Commonwealth Games,” said Team Canada Chef de Mission, Chantal Petitclerc. “Six of the ten men’s teams in Glasgow also competed at this year’s world Cup. This bodes well for a very exciting field hockey tournament, and I look forward to supporting our men’s team on the pitch.”

Keegan PereiraThe Canadian player with the most international caps is Dave Jameson (Vancouver.), a veteran of the two previous Commonwealth Games (2006 in Melbourne and 2010 in Delhi). Pearson and Wright will likewise appear in their third Commonwealth Games, while coach Anthony Farry has also included many young players in the squad, with his sight firmly planted on the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto where the Canadians will be seeking qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

“There is a great mix of experience and youth and we know this group is going to perform well for Canada,” said Men’s National Team head coach Anthony Farry. “Our biggest assets as a group are our unwavering ability to fight hard for each other and our belief that we can compete with the top nations.”

The Canadian Men will play in pool B with England (ranked 4th in the world), New Zealand (6th), Malaysia (13th) and Pan American rivals Trinidad and Tobago. They open their Glasgow campaign on Thursday, July 24 vs. New Zealand.

“Our men enter the games with momentum and confidence,” said Field Hockey Canada CEO Jeff Sauvé. “This is a dedicated group that will represent Canada with great heart and passion.”

A team of 267 athletes and close to 100 coaches and support staff will be in Glasgow, Canada’s largest team ever fielded for a non-home Games.

“Congratulations to the players who will make up the Canadian men’s field hockey team at the Commonwealth Games,” said Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “I look forward to seeing this team excel on the pitch in Glasgow, as our teams have done so often before.”

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be held from July 23 to August 3 and will be the largest ever multi-sport event held on Scottish soil.