Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Women's Field Hockey Team Looks to Take Step towards 2020 Olympics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Women's Field Hockey Team Looks to Take Step towards 2020 Olympics

Article excerpt

Field hockey team launches Olympic run

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The Canadian women's field hockey team raised the money to finance its trip to Valencia, Spain, for the FIH Hockey Series Finals. Now it hopes to extend its run with a top-two finish at the eight-country tournament.

That will lead to a playoff later this year, almost certainly in hostile territory, with Olympic qualification on the line.

Canada's women have sat out the last six Olympics, last competing in 1992 when they finished seventh in Barcelona. They are trying to get back there with little funding or support.

Canada, ranked 21st in the world, is in Pool A at the FIH Hockey Series with No. 7 Spain, No. 20 Belarus and No. 42 Namibia. Pool B is made up of No. 15 South Africa, No. 17 Italy, No. 27 Wales and No. 28 Thailand.

Canada opens Wednesday against host Spain before facing Namibia on Friday and Belarus on Saturday.

The pool winners get a bye to the semifinals while the second- and third-place finishers cross-over to decide the other two semifinalists.

"We expect to finish first or second in our pool," said Canada coach Giles Bonnet.

The winner of the Pan American Games, which open in July 26 in Lima, Peru, will also head to the 2020 Tokyo Games. But that competition features No. 4 Argentina, the 12th-ranked Americans and No. 16 Chile.

The loss of Own The Podium funding plus Field Hockey Canada's financial problems has meant that the Canadian women has turn to a crowdfunding campaign to get to Spain. The fundraising produced some $81,000.

A private donor paid for the women's week-long camp in Victoria ahead of the Spain tournament.

Bonnet, a South African native who has led the team to a string of impressive results since taking over in early 2018, has been handed his notice because Field Hockey Canada can't afford him. Bonnet's staff position will end after the Pan Am Games. Field Hockey Canada says it is trying to work out a way to retain him on a contract status.

Bonnet says he is not thinking about the off-the-field issues. …

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