By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
June 21, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s field hockey team has been well represented at the international level over the past year.
The Vikes trio of James Kirkpatrick, Matthew Sarmento and Samuel Jones have been back and forth on the BC Ferries regularly to train with the Vancouver-based Canadian program at either the junior or senior level.
Today, the Vikes will return to their Ring road campus with the maple leaf on their shirts looking for the island’s financial support after Own the Podium, a federal sport funding agency, cut back $900,000 from the Canadian men’s national field hockey team program.
All three Vikes were prominent players for the U21 Canadian team that qualified for the 2013 Junior World Cup with a silver medal at the 2012 Pan American Junior Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico. All three Vikes are too old to compete in the Junior World Cup, despite being young enough at the time for the qualification tournament, meaning their attention has now been directed to the senior squad.
In April, Sarmento earned the call up to the senior team and after making his first junior international appearance in 2011 has now made the splash on the big stage. In May of this year, Sarmento picked up his first cap and goal with the Canadian senior team at the World League Round 2 tournament, hosted in St. Germain, France.
Canada’s last Olympic appearance was at the 2008 Beijing Games, where the team finished 10th overall. Only two Canadians from that Olympic squad are still with the team including Tsawwassen’s Mark Pearson, who greq up onthe island in the Victoria Junior League, as well as Vancouver’s Scott Tupper, also the team captain. Amongst that mix are both Kirkpatrick and Jones, who all have their eye on the 2016 Rio Olympci Games but before they get there they will face a number of hurdles.
With the durastic cut backs from their program, the team has had to re-direct their focus on fundraising and promoting their sport within the Western field hockey communities. For starters, 22 of the men’s national team players will venture to the island to host a camp and demo each in Victoria and Duncan. The session is geared towards the island’s youth but all players and fans are welcome to watch and participate. The Victoria camp will run from 5:30-7pm tonight, Jun. 21, at UVic’s artificial water-based turf. Participants are asked to donate a minimum of $25 and no registration is required.
Larger donations or those requiring tax receipts are encouraged to donate online at http://bit.ly/MNT-BigPush