Canada’s victorious men’s field hockey team at West Vancouver’s Rutledge Field on Sunday. (Photo: fieldhockey.ca)

FIELD HOCKEY

‘Crazy’ win sends Surrey-area field hockey players to Olympic Games

Canadian men earn trip to Tokyo with shootout victory over Ireland

Several Surrey-area field hockey players are looking to book a trip to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as members of the men’s national team.

The squad earned a ticket to Japan next summer with a dramatic win over Ireland in a two-game aggregate played in West Vancouver last weekend.

The current roster boasts several athletes who either live or play in Surrey, including brothers Sukhi and Balraj Panesar, Brandon Pereira, Adam Froese, Ontario native Keegan Pereira (no relation to Brandon) and goalkeeper David Carter.

“Some of them play at Tamanawis, so Surrey is well represented,” Kevin Pereira, president of Surrey Sharks Field Hockey Club, told the Now-Leader.

Pereira’s son Brandon was injured with a sore knee and didn’t dress for Team Canada’s big win at West Van’s Rutledge Field, but he got to celebrate with teammates.

“Sunday’s game was one unlike I’ve ever seen, and the twists and turns over the two days were amazing, during the two games,” Kevin said. “It’s huge, something like this.”

• RELATED STORY, from August: White Rock’s Williams wins Pan-Am silver in Peru.

Ireland came into the contest with a 5-3 aggregate lead from the first match, but a last-second penalty stroke from Scott Tupper gave the Canadians a 3-1 win in the second leg to force a shoot-out in which the Canadians emerged as winners.

“It’s was unbelievably crazy,” Balraj Panesar said Wednesday. “It still hasn’t settled in fully, and we’re still trying to enjoy the moment.”

CLICK HERE to read a full game report posted to Field Hockey Canada’s website.

His brother Sukhi played at the Rio Games in 2016, but 2020 would be a first-time Olympics experience for Balraj.

“The competition to be on the team will be tight and tough,” he said, noting the final roster won’t be solidified until about a month before the Summer Games next year.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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