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By: William Riddle
It’s not a “girls’ sport” any more. Not even close. When you watch a game of field hockey being played, whether it is at the junior field hockey or BC provincial field hockey level, you will be amazed at the speed and precision that this sport demands of its players. With the introduction of composite materials to all field hockey equipment, players can now hit the ball harder, flick it faster, and execute skills at breathtaking speeds. Field hockey goalies now wear high-density foam equipment to help protect them from the consistently rising speeds of shots on their field hockey net. It really is quite something to see, and if you haven’t seen the sport for the last 15 or 20 years, you will have a hard time recognizing it.

The sport of Field hockey has been around for quite some time, and has been an Olympic sport since the 1920’s. Although originally a sport developed and exported by the British, a huge number of countries now recognize field hockey as the “real” hockey in their country. Powerhouse field hockey nations still include the likes of India, Pakistan, Holland, Germany, Spain and Australia, but rapid growth continues in countries like Canada. Canadians love the technology that goes into the field hockey equipment, and the fact that our national teams are becoming increasingly competitive on the international stage.

Field Hockey Canada has done an excellent job promoting grass-roots field hockey throughout the provinces of BC, Alberta, and Ontario, and youth clubs continue to drive the growth of field hockey from coast-to-coast. The city of West Vancouver is now home to the largest field hockey club in world, aptly named the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club (WVFHC). They have over 2400 registered junior players, and an abundance of field hockey talent, with the introduction of their own field hockey shop and field hockey field, named Rutledge Field. So you definitely don’t have to look very far on a Saturday or Sunday morning in BC or Vancouver, to see a group of enthusiastic youth field hockey players enjoying a game that really delivers the excitement.

Is field hockey a replacement to Canada’s obsession with ice hockey? Probably not. But if the recently explosion in popularity of field hockey throughout BC and Ontario are any indication, field hockey in Canada is not going anywhere soon. Quite simply, it’s a fantastic cardiovascular workout, and a sport that helps lay the key sporting principles of discipline, teamwork and fair play. Not to mention that field hockey equipment is much cheaper, and traditionally more durable (longer shelf-life) than ice hockey equipment.

All a junior player needs is a field hockey stick, field hockey bag, some field hockey turf shoes, and shin pads… and they are ready to go. Compared to the plethora of protective equipment that ice hockey demands, no wonder parents are turning to field hockey as a alternative to ice hockey, not only for access reasons, but because it is much more friendly on their bank balance as well.

Field hockey is very popular in schools across Canada, but especially in BC and Vancouver. The West Vancouver Field Hockey team has won the BC high school provincial title 4 of the past 6 years, and continues to feed Canada’s national team with some of its top talent. Vancouver’s North Shore (West Vancouver + North Vancouver) is a melting pot for some of the youngest, but most technically gifted athlete that Field Hockey Canada has to choose from.

Superstars are being trained from ages as young as 6, because BC high school field hockey is now so competitive, and technically demanding. Canada might not be too famous for its football or basketball athletes, but in the realm of ice hockey and field hockey they really outshine the rest of the world. The passion that European fans of football feel for their favorite team, is the same passion that Canadians feel for their favorite field hockey players. Do not be surprised to find posters of field hockey superstars, on the bedroom walls of junior field hockey players from BC all the way to PEI.

Need another reason for this love affair between Canadians and the sport of field hockey? Well lets be honest… Canadians are a very competitive people. While popular belief is that Canadians are timid, and often shy away from competitive situations, they definitely approach team sports like field hockey with a huge amount of commitment and desire. And no, it’s not only just in field hockey where this is the case. Canadians love competitive sports that require the use of technical composite equipment, like in field hockey, lacrosse, or ice hockey. Canadians tend to be very skilled in playing sports where equipment and training play a big role. So if you want to watch field hockey players throughout Canada really showing their passion, just give them a field hockey stick and a field hockey ball, and watch them really impress you with their technical prowess.

More and more people Canadians are catching on to field hockey as a superior alternative to the traditional games of ice hockey and lacrosse. They love how the game is played, and the mix of speed, power and precision. Field Hockey really is much more than just a sport played in high schools. It is quickly winning over the hearts and minds of youngsters from BC to Ontario. So next time you are driving by a field hockey field, why not pull over for a few minutes, and see just how fast and physically demanding this sport really is. I bet you’ll never call it a “girls’ game” again.

One sport which Canadians know well is field hockey http://www.fieldhockeyshack.com. When it comes to Field Hockey Canada http://www.fieldhockeyshack.com, you will be surprised with the reasons why this sport is really catching on from BC to PEI and everywhere in between.

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