Canadian Olympic Preview: Men’s Field Hockey

Scott Tupper (Christopher Morris, Canadian Olympic Committee) (with permission)

In Olympic qualifying prior to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, you could not have found a more exciting game than the game between Canada and Ireland in Vancouver in men’s field hockey on October 27, 2019. In the first of a two-game total point series the day before on October 26, Canada lost 5-3 to Ireland. That meant Canada needed to beat Ireland by three goals the next day to book their ticket to Tokyo.

The Canadians were leading 2-1 late in the second game of the series. Once the clock went to zero, it appeared Ireland had won the game and eliminated the Canadian squad. However, according to Devin Heroux of CBC Sports, officials reviewed the last couple of seconds of the game, and determined that Jamie Wallace of Vancouver, British Columbia was fouled, and captain Scott Tupper of Vancouver, British Columbia was allowed a penalty stroke. Tupper capitalized, and Canada was victorious 3-1. The Canadian captain was the flag bearer for Team Canada in the opening ceremonies at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

The two-goal win meant the two-game total goal series was tied at six goals each. A penalty shootout then took place with Canada defeating Ireland 5-4. The qualification game had been deadlocked at three goals each after five players aside. Gordon Johnston of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Ireland’s Eugene Magee both scored in the first round of the sudden-death portion of the shootout, before Adam Froese scored for Canada in the second round of the sudden-death portion of the shootout, and John McKee of Ireland missed his shot, giving Canada the emotional win.

In the men’s field hockey tournament at the 2020 Olympic Games in 2021, Canada is in Group B. They will play Germany (4 am MT on July 24), Great Britain (8:45 pm MT on July 25), the Netherlands (5:45 am MT on July 27), Belgium (7 pm MT on July 28), and South Africa (9:15 pm MT on July 29). The quarterfinals will be on July 31 (6:30 pm MT and 9 pm MT) and on August 1 (3:30 am MT and 6 am MT). The semifinals will be on August 2 at 7:30 pm MT and on August 3 at 4 am MT. The bronze medal game will be on August 4 at 7:30 pm MT and the gold medal game will be on August 5 at 4 am MT.

Expectations for Team Canada are not all that high. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Canada finished last in Group B with a record of one draw and five losses. Their lone point was a surprise 2-2 tie with India. One victory in Group B action would be a positive step for the Canadian men’s field hockey program.

Since the Olympic qualification win over Ireland, Froese announced his retirement, and goaltender Dave Carter of Vancouver, British Columbia was named to the team as a non-travelling reserve. With the absence of Carter, Canada will rely on goalkeeper Antoni Kindler of Vancouver, British Columbia, who has 98 international caps.

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