Next weekend, the SMUS community will be hosting the 2014 SMUS Invitational Field Hockey Festival and of course, our hockey team will be looking to come out on top.
Over the last five years, SMUS Field Hockey has grown in leaps and bounds. With amazing coaches that have competed at elite levels, an inclusive, developmental environment, and access to world-class facilities, the girls in our program have a distinct advantage.
At the helm of the senior team, David Kerr (a former Canadian Premiere League player) and Nancy Mollenhauer (a three-time field hockey Olympian), are building a program to be reckoned with. The senior girls have placed 4th in the province the last two years and are the dominant team in Victoria. Coach Kerr says this comes down to a large pool of girls to choose from (50 came to tryouts this fall) and a second-to-none developmental program. With five tournaments each year and plenty of league play, the girls have lots of time on the pitch and plenty of opportunity to receive the coaching they need to bring their game to the next level. For those not quite ready for the Senior team, there are two developmental teams that introduce the sport and offer girls the practice they need to improve. Field hockey veterans Raechel Marchand and Graham Lily head up that program.
With practices and matches held on the internationally-acclaimed water turf at the University of Victoria, our girls have a leg-up. The turf was originally built for the Commonwealth Games. In 2006 it was renovated and replaced with a water-based artificial playing surface and is regarded as one of the best of its kind in Canada. In May 2008, the turf hosted the World Hockey Olympic Qualifier tournament and later that summer hosted the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team pre-Olympic training camp. In the fall of 2013, UVic was host to the CIS Field Hockey Championships. SMUS girls receive the benefit of living in a “field hockey town” and the unique opportunity to play on turf that elite players love.
Girls on the Senior team and some that are called up from developmental play have the chance to travel with the team as well. Independent School Championships in Vancouver as well as Nationals in Ontario are consistently on the list for the SMUS teams. The future may include tournaments abroad in places like California and Bermuda. It’s not only the experience of playing that these travel opportunities offer, either. The SMUS field hockey teams are an open, inviting community and this is reinforced when on the road. The girls and coaches spend time together, learn about each other’s cultures and build life-long friendships. Pre-tournament team dinners are a tradition and a chance to share a meal with teammates.
Although field hockey is only one aspect of the well-rounded education SMUS offers, the opportunity to be coached in an inclusive, friendly and fun environment is unique. Playing games and travelling to tournaments help cement friendships and help build confidence in other areas of life.
The score results will be published on the 2014 SMUS Invitational Field Hockey Festival website and we also encourage you to check out the schedule and go along to the games to cheer on our girls.