The Red Caribou hope to make Canadian history
Updated: 5 days ago
Written by Olly Scholfield and Fin Boothroyd (pictured above)
"2019 was a really heavy year for us with the Canadian National team, with lots of travel and practise games preparing us for the Olympic Qualification events. After losing in the finals at the Pan Am Games and failing to qualify for Tokyo then, we knew we had to put everything into winning our OQ (Olympic Qualifier) series in October. It was an incredibly tight couple of matches and a very dramatic finish, but it’s one we’ll never forget! Now that we’ve qualified we’re doing everything we can to try to have our best finish ever at an Olympic Games."
Olly Scholfield, Canadian International and GRYPHON ambassador
Last October, the Red Caribou played a tense weekend of qualifying games against Ireland. Having lost the first game 3-1, the Red Caribou had to win by three goals in their second game to immediately qualify, or by two to draw. They were awarded a penalty stroke in the last 5 seconds of the game after a video referral, which they converted, to take the game to a 3-1 lead in an incredibly dramatic finish. The crowd went into complete frenzy, and the game was went to a sudden death shoot out to decide the teams fate. The Canadian men's Field Hockey team have finished tenth in four previous Olympic Games, the last one in Beijing in 2008.
Check out the highlights below from Canada's OQ's below.
Olly Scholfield, a dual citizen of Canada and the UK, actually grew up in England where he was introduced to hockey in PE classes at school. It wasn’t until he went back to Canada for University to study Resource Conservation that he got involved with the Canadian U21 squad. One year in and he progressed into the senior squad where he received his first cap back in 2014. He has since gone on to complete a Masters in Business Management in 2017.
Canadian International and GRYPHON ambassador Fin Boothroyd took a more obvious route... having always lived in Canada, he played for the Junior teams in tournaments growing up and was eventually taken on as a full time member from there. "My mother had played growing up, so she introduced the sport to my older sister and me. I played in a few summer tournaments for the junior Canadian team and was eventually taken on as a full member. I got my first cap in the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia last year." As well as training full time with The Red Caribou, Fin is also studying his undergraduate degree in Commerce at UBC.
Above: Images from Canadas OQ's verses Ireland - Images by Blair Shier
"Our team is based in Vancouver where the majority of the team lives and plays their club hockey. The Great Vancouver Field Hockey League is fairly small because of the limited number of people who play the sport there but it's still a good competition. All of the centralised Canadian National team players and senior development players are in the same league, across a few clubs. Each year a few guys go overseas to play in the European leagues but for the most part we are centralized here. In the lead up to big competitions we are training full time, usually 4 or 5 times a week on the pitch and 2 or 3 times a week in the gym. In the lead up to Tokyo we’re going to be travelling a lot getting our final preparations in."
Above: Richmond Oval High Performance Centre
"We’ve got a really diverse team, with guys coming from a bunch of different backgrounds and a big age range but we get along really well. We all love a good coffee muffin combo after trainings and really the only divides comes from whether people want to play poker or Catan on tours!"
"To avoid the snow here in Vancouver, we have been in Chile until the end of January for some warm weather training and to play a few friendlies against Chile and Argentina. We now have a training block in Vancouver until April when we start to travel a lot more. We’ll be playing matches in Malaysia, Japan, Europe and Vancouver before the team flies to Tokyo in July. To follow along, check out our team’s website and instagram account, and if any games are streamed we’ll be sure to post on there. We’ve got some exciting things planned this year to engage our fans in the lead-up to Tokyo so stay tuned!
Rutledge Field - West Vancouver
By Olly Scholfield & Fin Boothroyd