Two members of the Burnaby Lake Field Hockey Club are off to Buenos Aires to play for Canada at the Youth Olympic Games.
Rowan Childs and Arjun Hothi were among nine players named to the national
team that will wear the maple leaf at the Argentinean hosted tournament, starting Saturday, Oct. 6.
But the game will be different from the field hockey they usually play at Burnaby Lake West complex. The Youth Olympics will be playing a five-a-side version of the sport on a shrunken 50-by-40-metre playing surface, with low-level boards.
“I loved it,” Childs said. “Especially growing up with ice hockey here our entire lives and having the boards all around you. They are trying to grow the game and this is a really exciting version of it.”
Canada will be looking to make a second straight appearance in the final, after losing to Australia four years ago. Last March they finished third at the qualifier tournament, behind Argentina and Mexico. That result will be a motivational tool, as they shoot to return to the podium.
According to head coach, Geoff Matthews, the Canadians are ready to take on the world.
“We have an extremely talented group of athletes,” he said. “They’ve made huge strides since the qualifier. They have been pushed domestically by their peers through selection camp, and the guys are at a whole new level now.”
Although the team includes players from Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, the majority are B.C. grown. Both Childs and Hothi will get lots of playing time as versatile midfielders.
For Childs, this isn’t the first time he’s played for Canada. After making Team B.C. on his third attempt, the teen was invited to play for the national squad at the 2016 Junior World Cup, where at 16 he was the youngest player in the tournament.
He’s looking forward to another crack at international competition.
“Of course, it’s an amazing feeling to represent Canada. It is also very special to represent my home community of Tsawwassen,” Childs said. “I’ve already received emails and texts wishing me good luck. It really means a lot.”
Canada is in a pool with Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, India and Kenya.
– with files from Mark Booth and Dan Olson