The Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team led by Rossland native Thea Culley gets set to face-off in the 2013 Pan American Cup in Mendosa, Argentina on Saturday.
The team will play Guyana, Argentina, and Trindad and Tobago in pool play, and look to advance to the semifinal crossover and eventual final on Sept. 28.
The Canadian side recently appointed Ian Rutledge as head coach. Rutledge, a former New Zealand national team head coach, is enthusiastic and impressed with the pool of young talent.
“We are still a new and young team, attempting to modernize our style of play. Our focus has been about perfecting our offensive and defensive structure and system and move these from the cognitive to the automatic stages.”
A tour through Ireland in June confirmed that the women’s national field hockey program is progressing well. The Canadians finished with a record of four wins, one loss and two ties playing against Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
There’s a priority on increasing the team’s depth and with that, exposing more athletes to the speed and tempo of international competition. The Pan Am Cup will certainly accomplish this goal, with top teams vying for the coveted spot in the 2014 World Cup in The Hague.
“The final push to the PAC will be about focusing on individual and system refinements to ensure we are optimally prepared ahead of the tournament” Rutledge said on the Field Hockey Canada website.
Culley, a Rossland Secondary School graduate, leads the Canadian team with 93 caps, and currently resides in Vancouver.
Canada’s first game is against Guyana on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PST.