Canada’s men’s junior national team celebrates a silver-medal finish at the 2023 Men’s Pan American Junior Championship April 17 at the Sir Garfield Sports Complex in St. Michael, Barbados. The second place finish earned them a berth in the Junior World Cup scheduled for December. | WorldSportPics / Rodrigo Jaramillo
Note: the North Shore athletes are comprised of current students and alumni from Carson, Argyle, Handsworth, Seycove, and Windsor.
By Jordan Copp, North Shore News.
The North Shore is known for producing athletes of the highest quality in a wide variety of sports, and field hockey is no exception.
Several Canadian field hockey teams with players from the North Shore have performed extremely well this year, and either are participating in international competitions right now, or are actively training for them.
This year both men’s and women’s U21 junior national teams were invited to the Junior Pan American games which were hosted April 10-18 in Barbados, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many athletes.
The U21 junior women’s team feayured several players hailing from North Vancouver, including Arden Goddard-Despot, Brooke McCusker, Grace Delmotte, Laine Delmotte, McKinley Kennedy and Robyn Goh.
After winning their first two matches, their team advanced through to the semifinal, where they faced Argentina. Despite Canada’s defenders putting up a strong front, Argentina would eventually find an opening and take the match with a score of 1-0. The women’s team lost against Chile in the bronze medal match on April 18, but still secured a spot in the Junior World Cup by placing fourth in the tournament.
Canada’s women’s junior national team scored a fourth place finish at the 2023 Women’s Pan American Junior Championship held April 10-18 at the Sir Garfield Sports Complex in St. Michael, Barbados. The fourth-place finsih earned them a berth in the Junior World Cup scheduled for December. | WorldSportPics / Rodrigo Jaramillo
The U21 junior men’s team had Noah Louie representing North Vancouver, and their team would also come up against Argentina, this time in the gold medal match. The match ended with a score of 6-1 for Argentina, the result of a physically tough game with multiple players from the Argentinian team being penalized.
The top three men’s teams and top four women’s teams from the Junior Pan America games qualified for the Junior World Cup, a chance to face-off against the best juniors from around the globe. Both Canadian U21 junior national teams qualified for the Junior World Cup this year, a monumental achievement.
The 2023 Junior World Cup will take place in December, with the men’s event held in Malaysia while the women’s competition will be in Chile.
Field Hockey Canada tries to create consistent programing and coaching for young athletes aiming to compete at a higher level, said communications manager Kevin Underhill.
“Field Hockey Canada is excited to have this fully fleshed out and functioning youth and junior pipeline,” said Underhill. “We call that our next gen system that goes from U16 to U18 to U21s, and then into the senior national team.”
North Shore Athletes of all ages are getting a chance to show their talent. The Canadian U16 women’s junior national team also plans to head to an international tournament this year.
The young team, featuring eight players from the North Shore, will participate in the International Den Bosch Tournament, which is being hosted in the Netherlands in May.
North Vancouver’s own Emily Arnet, Camryn Jensen, Lydia Harrington, and Madelyn Potts, as well as West Vancouver’s Allie Lavis, Olive Bodel, Amelie LeGuilloux and Sutton van Dyk are among those in their final weeks of preparation for the international tournament.
Early access to the international stage can be instrumental to aspiring athletes, according to Underhill.
“The intent is to get athletes in early and getting international experience and then making their way up to the senior national team.”