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Field Hockey Canada – Canada’s Men’s National Team (world number 11) opens the tournament on Thursday against 9th-ranked New Zealand, a team they have a “healthy rivalry” with according to Canada’s head coach, Paul Bundy.
 
Field Hockey fans across the world will remember Canada’s thrilling victory over the Black Sticks in the 2015 World League Semi-Final, clinching their spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics. In a pool that also features Australia (1), Scotland (23), and South Africa (15), both Canada and New Zealand know the importance of the opening match. Coach Bundy is prioritizing a fast start from his team, knowing that at this competition, a single loss can make the difference between a medal hope and consolation.
 
“For us, it starts in that first minute of the tournament. It’s absolutely fundamental that we start well,” said Bundy. “That first game against New Zealand is going to be a great game. A good start there can set us up in the best position moving forward in the competition.”
 
The cutthroat nature of the Commonwealth Games adds importance to every match. The top two teams from each pool advance to semi-finals and the remaining teams are eliminated from contention. On the men’s side, Canada has never made the semifinals at the Commonwealth Games. When asked if he had an outcome goal for the team over the next two weeks, Bundy said it’s more about executing the game plan and performing well on demand.
 
“We have a performance culture within our group. It’s about the process and being able to win when it counts,” Bundy said. “It doesn’t have to be stated to the team, but we know we want to put ourselves in a position to win a medal.”
 
Canada has no shortage of experience on this roster. With an average age of 27.5 years old and an average cap count of 114, they lead the tournament in both categories. Mark Pearson is one of Canada’s most experienced players and will be suiting up in his fourth Commonwealth Games in his career. Pearson said he has a really good feeling about this team’s chances.
 
“We’re feeling really confident going in. We’ve had a good 16-months and over the past two years, we’ve had a lot of consistency,” Pearson said. “The core of the group has stayed the same.”
 
Just to name a few, the Canadian roster includes defensive stalwarts Scott Tupper and Gordon Johnston, the steady midfield presence of Pearson and Sukhi Panesar and an all-out attacking unit featuring Floris van Son and Keegan Pereira. They have consistency in goal as well with veteran David Carter and Antoni Kindler.
 
Catch Team Canada take on New Zealand live on Thursday April 5, at 630pm PST on DAZN sports streaming website.
 
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From grass roots to high performance, Field Hockey Canada is committed to developing and strengthening field hockey across the country, and to position our National Teams for podium contention at the 2018 World Cup, 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.

 

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