The Provincial Pathway Series
The Provincial Pathway is a series which will follow a select number of FHBC athletes on their journey from the Regional Program through to the National Championships.
When Gary Mann was six years old, he saw some kids playing field hockey at Tamanawis Park and thought he would give it a try. The sport has since become his lifelong passion.
“I live right [by Tamanawis], so I’d come here with my parents all the time and I’d just look around and see what’s going on. One time I saw a couple kids my age playing field hockey and I figured why not try seeing what this is,” recalled Mann. “As soon as I started playing I just fell in love with the sport and it’s been like that ever since.”
Gary’s friends, some of which he’s played with since his very first junior team at the Surinder Lions club, tell him he plays like a gazelle, with his long legs and swift stride. After helping the Condors to victory at the Train 2 Compete Regional Tournament, the 17 year-old sweeper has been selected to the U18 BC Boys Rams to play in his fifth and final National Championship this July.
With several years of experience in the Field Hockey BC Train 2 Train and Train 2 Compete Regional programs, Mann has found this to be an important step in developing a fundamental skill set to make it to the next level.
“In the Regional Program you’re learning how to play and develop as a player, and then while you’re in the Provincial Program the intensity rises because you’re trying to build as a team and as a player,” explained Mann. “From the Regional Tournament to Nationals the whole outlay of training changes. [The Regional Program] is almost easing you into the Provincial Program.”
After four years of training at the Regional and Provincial level, Mann went on his first official training tour with the Canadian Junior Development Squad in the Netherlands last month. This U21 squad played Junior National teams from around the world and won the tournament with a 4-1 victory over South Africa in the final. Not only was this huge for his development as a player, he also described it as a significant personal learning experience.
“In Amsterdam we all stayed in this house, it wasn’t that big it was just three rooms for 20 athletes. It was so different living in such a compact place, you’re sharing bunk beds in a tiny room. I learned a lot, like how to manage my studies and field hockey.”
Following his upcoming graduation, Mann intends to continue his field hockey career and train with the National Team while attending University to study Sciences, likely at the University of British Columbia or Simon Fraser University. As far as his fifth and final Provincial season goes, he made his intentions very clear.
When asked about his goals for the Provincial season, Mann said: “Beating Ontario. We’ve lost to them four times in a row and I’m actually sick of it. I’ve got to beat them this year, I’m not kidding. This is our year, this is our last chance to win playing for Team BC.”
With that kind of commitment, we can’t wait to see what this year’s U18 BC Boys Rams can accomplish!