Provincial Athlete Feature: Introducing Rowan Childs

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.

If you like a good underdog story, look no further than the U18 BC Boys Rams midfielder, Rowan Childs.

The 18 year-old Tsawwassen native started playing field hockey with the Delta Falcons at six years old when his dad and his uncle introduced him to the sport. Since the Falcons men’s program disbanded, he has played his club hockey with Burnaby Lake and Surinder Lions.

At his first Regional Trial when he was in grade 7, he wasn’t selected to participate in the Regional Program. The following year, after qualifying for the Regional Program, he was placed on the reserve list for Team BC after the Regional Tournament.

“The second year I didn’t make the BC team, I was put onto reserves, which was heartbreaking,” said Childs. “It’s a big piece of motivation for me, that failure really motivated me to succeed the next time and continue improving.”

On his third attempt, he was selected to play on the Provincial Team, and has played for Team BC every year since. Less than three years after being left off of the U15 Provincial Team, Childs was the youngest player named to Team Canada for the 2016 Junior World Cup, at just 16 years old.

“The Junior World Cup was my first ever tour with the Junior National Team, that was pretty incredible,” reflected Childs. “We didn’t do very well there, it was rough performance-wise but I think it was a really good learning experience for me to see what the best players under 21 in Canada can do and really model my game after a few players there.”

Childs – fourth from left – with the Canadian Junior National Team at the 2016 Junior World Cup in India. Photo by Field Hockey Canada.

He is recently coming off of a third place finish with the U18 Canadian National Team at the Youth Pan American Games, which qualified Canada for the Youth Olympics in October 2018. Childs tied with two of his teammates as the leading goal scorer for Team Canada at the Youth Pan Am Games, with five goals in six games.

This summer, he will take part in his fourth and final National Championships Festival. As an athlete who has competed at the Regional, Provincial and National level, he reflects on the Regional Program as a challenging yet worthwhile experience.

“It’s a ton of fun,” said Childs. “BC does a great job putting in the work. We’re always out training; a few years ago we’d be out Friday night and Saturday morning. Those were deadly hours but it really pays off when you’re coming here and playing four games in three days. It’s a lot of work, but it pays off.”

Despite suffering an injury late in the weekend and missing his final game, Childs had a commanding presence as the captain of the Owls, often found managing the play around him from the center midfield position. He describes himself as a dynamic and coachable player, always working on his technical skills and making the little adjustments to improve his game.

Childs – seventh from the right – with the Owls, the bronze medallists at the 2018 Train 2 Compete Regional Tournament.

In his final year in the Provincial Program, Childs is hoping to capture that elusive gold medal at the National Championships that he has yet to achieve in three previous years. After graduation, he hopes to play for the UBC club team and continue his development with the Junior National Team in an effort to one day play for Team Canada at the Olympics.

“That’s been my goal ever since I was a kid,” Childs explained. “I loved watching the Olympics and watching people step on the podium. That’s always been my goal, to win an Olympic medal so I think that’s where the main inspiration comes from to go through all of this.”

While the Olympic dream has been a huge driving factor in his field hockey career, Childs has not lost sight of the steps along the way that have made him the athlete he is today. He continues to value the challenges and failures he has endured and uses them as motivation to keep improving. When asked about the highlights in his field hockey career, after listing his Junior National experience, he said:

“This is honestly my favourite one. After that year of not making Team BC, failing to make that year, being able to make Team BC that next year after experiencing that failure, I think that’s been my biggest accomplishment.”

With maturity and experience beyond his years, we are excited to follow Childs’ journey on the road to his last National Championships and beyond.

Provincial Athlete Feature: Introducing Gary Mann

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.

Mann – back row fourth from the right – with the U18 Condors after winning the gold medal at the 2018 Train 2 Compete Regional Tournament.

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.”

Mann – back row second from the right – with the Canadian Junior Development Squad in the Netherlands.

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!

Provincial Athlete Feature: Introducing Tessa Johnston

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.

If you want to locate Tessa Johnston on the field hockey pitch, it’s easy: all you have to do is find the most vocal player on the field. Whether she’s directing traffic in the defensive zone, discussing a play with an umpire or coach, or encouraging her teammates on a rush up the field, Johnston’s leadership qualities are ever-present both on and off the pitch.

Although she has been a forward for her entire field hockey career, Johnston’s Regional coach put her back on defence for this year’s Train 2 Compete Tournament. In this new role, she and Hannah Schoenroth, co-captains of the Northwest Sharks, worked together to manage the team’s play from the back end.

“I’m a really vocal player. I love communicating and talking to the players, so it’s nice seeing from the back now, because on forward you can’t really see much behind you,” explained Johnston. “If you ask any coach I’m very chatty, it comes naturally to me. Having a leadership role or not, I’m always vocal, always talking.”

While she loves to talk on the field, Johnston plays with a level of confidence and composure that speaks for itself. As a member of the U18 BC Girls Rams, this will be her fifth consecutive year playing on the BC Provincial Team. She has played for Team BC every year since she joined the Regional program in grade eight.

Johnston – back row sixth from right – with the 2017 U18 BC Girls Rams. The team earned a silver medal at the National Championships.

Johnston got involved in field hockey with the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club as a second sport to soccer. She has played soccer and basketball all through high school, but field hockey has been her top priority the whole way.

“I just like the fast play. I like how much running there is, I feel like sometimes in the other sports you’re not moving around as much,” Johnston said. “I also understand it really well. I have really good vision up the field, I think I get it a lot more than the other sports and all the girls are so friendly.”

Now in her grade 12 year, Johnston is deciding between the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia to study and play field hockey next year. Both are eager to have her join their program and she is excited to have the opportunity to pursue her sport at the varsity level.

As one of the more experienced and well-known athletes in the Girls Train 2 Compete program, Johnston has come a long way since she first joined the program. She attributes much of this development to the older players and coaches in her Regional Programs throughout the years who have supported her and pushed her to improve, both as a player and as an individual.

“When I first started I was really nervous. I didn’t think I was a very good player, but being able to come out and have practice twice a week and constantly being with all these players who are older and better, I think that’s what made me a better player. I’m a very competitive person so it was that fight in me that made me want to be as good as them,” Johnston reflected. “Obviously the coaching is amazing; all of the coaches are so nice and fun. They have great drills, I love the drills that we do and everyone is so supportive. When we do fitness testing everyone is cheering each other on, it’s just a really fun and helpful environment.”

Johnston with the Northwest Sharks at the 2018 Train 2 Compete Regional Tournament.

Johnston truly values all of the help and support that she has received over the years from the older girls that she played with on her Regional and Provincial teams. Now in her final year with the program, she finds herself in the position where she can pass that experience and leadership down to the younger group coming up through the Train 2 Compete Program, which she plans to take full advantage of.

On a personal level, she is hungry to win a National Championship having come second many times but never first. Although beating Ontario is at the top of her priority list, Johnston is also keen to get to know some of the younger girls and help them develop the way others have helped her.

“We have a really strong grade 10 group. I think it’s going to be really good to bond with them and see how they play, maybe learn some stuff from them and share some experience with them,” said Johnston. “It would be really good to come first and just come together as a team. I think we have a good chance, we have a really strong group this year and I think we have a really good opportunity.”

Provincial Athlete Feature: Introducing Saneh Basra

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.

If you got a chance to watch any of the Girls Train 2 Compete Regional Tournament last weekend, you probably noticed the Southeast Killer Whales sweeper, Saneh Basra. As a natural midfielder playing back on defence for the tournament, Basra’s powerful hits, exceptional ball control and bursts of speed up the field made her a stand out player in the tournament and a clear selection for the U18 BC Girls Rams.

Basra’s talent has not gone unnoticed this year, as the 16 year old Surrey native was selected to the Canadian Women’s U21 Junior Development Squad. She went on her first training tour with them in Chula Vista, California back in February.

“That was pretty exciting,” Basra recalled. “It showed me a new side of how intense it is; I’d never experienced something that intense. Just seeing the high level, it was a good experience.”

Basra – bottom right – with the Canadian Junior Development Squad on tour in Chula Vista, California. Photo by Field Hockey Canada.

Basra got involved in field hockey when her dad introduced her to the sport ten years ago. She’s played her club hockey with the Surrey Panthers ever since, and is currently in her third year playing with the Field Hockey BC Regional Program. She first joined the program in grade seven, but took a couple years off to focus on track.

Last year, she decided to make field hockey her priority, so she returned to the Regional Program and now uses track as cross-training to help with her fitness.  She’s been highly successful in the program ever since, as a part of the U18 BC Rams who won the silver medal at the 2017 National Championships.

“I’ve learned a lot of new things,” said Basra. “Practicing with my club, it was never that serious, but playing in the Regional program and the Provincial program, you have to be serious there and it’s a way to learn new skills with new coaches. It’s also a great way to talk to new people, I like that part.”

Basra – back row third from left – with her Train 2 Compete Regional team, the Southeast Killer Whales. The team placed fourth in the tournament. Photo by Alicia Pereira.

Currently in her grade 11 year, Basra hopes to study and play field hockey at the college level after graduation. She also has aspirations to make the Canadian National Team and play for Team Canada in the Olympics one day.

As a step in this direction, she has been invited by Team Canada’s head coach to attend a training camp with them this summer, which will be her first official camp with the Senior National Team. In the meantime, Basra is setting her focus on improving as a team and as a player with the Provincial Program.

“With the Provincial team I would like to come first, last year we came second so I would like to beat the Ontario team,” Basra explained. “I want to try new skills and just be more open and be more confident, last year I was a little nervous every time I played. This year I want to feel a little more comfortable, try being more aggressive and not shy out of whatever I try.”

With her skill set and determination, we can’t wait to follow Basra’s progress through this Provincial season and the years to come!

West Vancouver Making Waves in the Field Hockey Community

With the Junior Spring League season quickly approaching, the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club has been busy developing some exciting new initiatives to help promote the sport and keep kids active. Between their Sport for Life program, their Umpiring program, and their recent Contribution to Sport award, this club will be one to watch as the season progresses.

“Sport for Life” Program

With the help of Sport for Life Canada, WVFHC is launching a project to promote athlete development, multi-sport participation and lifelong involvement in sport for all of its members. Their key focus points to implement this initiative are long-term athlete development, promoting key values, encouraging lifelong activity and wellness, and a player-centred approach.

“These values form the basis of the messages and materials that we are producing for our members this season”, explains WVFHC Executive Director, Emma Gibbons. “We are using Spring League as a chance to try out different ways to communicate these to our players, coaches and parents.”

The club will be experimenting with a variety of methods to communicate these values, including “My Player Pathway” challenges, parent and coach newsletters, posters, seminars, codes of conduct and an online campaign. At the end of the season, feedback from parents, players and coaches will be used to measure the effectiveness of the different activities in terms of communicating key messages and promoting sport for life.

“We hope that we can identify some practical ways that we – and other sport organisations – can connect and communicate with our members, beyond just sending emails”, concludes Emma.  “At the end of the day, we want to create a positive sport experience for children which will encourage them to stay active for life”.

Photo courtesy of WVFHC.

Spring League Umpiring Development

The West Vancouver Field Hockey Club is also implementing a new Spring League program centred around umpire development. This program is designed to reward education and commitment, and encourage umpire development within the club.

Before officiating any Spring League games this season, all umpires will be required to attend at least one umpire clinic. An “education” bonus will be given to any umpires who attend a second clinic, and a “commitment” incentive will go out to all umpires who officiate eight or more games throughout the season. In addition, the club has developed a mentoring scheme which allows the umpires to be assessed on field during a game.

International Hockey Federation umpire, Margaux Brand, will be coordinating this program. Visit the WVFHC Umpiring page for more information.

Contribution to Sport Award

In addition to their new programs, the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club is being recognized for hosting the FIH World League Round 2 tournament in April 2017. On March 15th, WVFHC received the Contribution to Sport Award at the North Shore Sport Awards for their dedication to making the World League tournament a success. Throughout this 10 day tournament West Vancouver hosted seven international teams, including Canada. Over 100 volunteers from the WVFHC participated to make the event possible. The Contribution to Sport Award was given in recognition of this huge endeavour and the impressive ability of the club to showcase the sport.

On behalf of Field Hockey BC, we would like to congratulate WVFHC for their accomplishments and for their commitment to developing the sport at all levels. We are excited to see how these programs progress throughout the Spring League season!

Introducing the Field Hockey Canada “One Team Webinar Series”

Field Hockey BC is excited to share the launch of Field Hockey Canada’s “One Team Webinar Series” beginning this week. This program is designed to give all members of the Field Hockey Canada community the opportunity to learn from some of their community leaders. The series is launching tomorrow, February 27th, with a total of eight sessions scheduled in 2018.

Tomorrow’s session will feature KJ Williams, Canadian Indoor National Goal Keeper and Coach, who has recently returned from a FIH indoor coaching program. If you are interested in participating in this webinar, you can register online. More information on the “One Team Webinar Series” can be found on the Field Hockey Canada webiste.

Women’s Senior Indoor Championship

This year at the indoor championship we saw five teams compete in a two day event in Duncan. We would like to thank Brenda Lockhart and her team of volunteer technical officials who put in a lot of hard work to make this years championship so successful. On Sunday we saw the Wildcats Seniors take gold in an intense overtime match against UVic, and third place was earned by the Valley Vixens. Congratulations to all the podium finishers, and we look forward to another strong year in 2019.