Hockey on a field

By Sean Nyilassy

If you enjoyed your last days of freedom drinking from various bottles, cans and kegs, then passed out on various couches or cozy looking areas of grass as I did, then you have the right idea. For the lovely ladies of the Dinos Field Hockey team a very different final week ensued. They took an eight day tour of the northeastern United States, playing an overly exhausting 12 games along the way.

Albeit this year’s squad hasn’t been selected yet, a total of 20 holdovers and new players made up the team for the tour. The girls faced off against 12 of the Division I NCAA Field Hockey crews between Aug. 20-28. Despite a losing record for the tour, Head Coach Anne Kromm feels the team was competitive.

"I think Canadian schools could be stronger than NCAA," she proudly declared.

Having only defeated Harvard University, LaSalle University and Central Michigan University, Kromm and her girls felt they could have conquered many more of the teams if they had more energy. Some days the girls even played two grueling games. Kromm cited University of Maryland, Michigan State University and Penn State University as the three schools that would really put a well-rested Dinos team to the test.

Interestingly enough, all three teams have made the Final Four over the past two years.

Aside from fatigue, lack of practice hurt the ladies’ chances of coming home as victors. Having numerous games under their belt now, Kromm feels confident in the team’s chances this year.

"There’s nine games in the Canada West season, we’ve played 12 already," she explained. "This is the year that we have the best chance of being number one in the counrtry."

Last year’s team captain Amy Sanderson also has high hopes about the upcoming season.

"It started to come together after playing 12 games," she said of the improving play over the week. "We’ve played a whole season before we even start."

Holdovers Clare Linton, Liz Allan (both Canada West All-Stars last year) and Burgundy Biletski were the big performers last week.

Biletski feels the team is ready to take on Canada’s top two teams, the University of Victoria Vikes and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

"We got through the initial gelling as a team," she affirmed. "It was fun to get to know everyone better."

The competition was not the only exciting part of the tour; all three interviewees were astounded by the quality of facilities and quantity of coaching staff and funding in the States. Perhaps there is much to be said about the quality of Canadian coaches and determination of Canadian athletes.

Unfortunately, there’s no space to say it in this non-fiction tale.

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