U16 National Team travels to Netherlands for Den Bosch Tournament
This week, the U16 Women’s National Team departs for the Netherlands for the International Den Bosch Tournament. For many of these athletes, it will be their first international touring experience. The trip, spanning May 19and culminating in the Den Bosch hockey tournament from May 27-29.
Team Canada is comprised of 14-16 year-old athletes from across the country including players from Ontario, PEI, Alberta and BC.
Katie-Grace Noye is the only PEI athlete on Team Canada. She is a Grade-11 student at Three Oaks Senior High in Summerside, PEI and plays for the provincial field hockey team. This trip to the Netherlands will be Noye’s first-ever international field hockey experience. For her, she’s most anticipating gelling with her teammates and experiencing international hockey for the first time.
“I am excited to meet the team and get to know them, and their style of play,” Noye said. “Also, one of the major things I’m looking forward to is experiencing a new intensity and higher level of field hockey. I’m excited for this amazing opportunity.”
Noye started playing field hockey five years ago in middle school and has loved it ever since. She currently plays ice hockey in the winter as well as practicing indoor field hockey and plays in the PEI Spring League. As the group has never trained together on-pitch, Noye understands that they’ll have to work to learn from each other. She is excited to get all together for the first time in the Netherlands.
“I expect our first scrimmages to be learning experiences for us. We will learn how to play with each other and get a feel for each other’s game,” she said. “We have been going over structure and how we want to play as a team, so all we have to do is take it from paper to the field with each other and I’m certain we will grow fast as a team.” She adds that the camaraderie is one of the most special parts of team sports.
Head Coach Kyle Marks is also looking forward to the first time the team gets on the field together. Him and his assistant coach Jenn Swagar, Team Alberta coach and coach of University of Calgary, haven’t had any field time with this group, making those first sessions all the more important to get on the same page.
“The geographic spread of the team adds character and challenge to preparing for an international tour because the athletes come from different regions with different styles of play, coaching, and resources,” Marks said. “As a coach, it is important to identify and address these differences to ensure that the team is cohesive and prepared to compete at the highest level. Those first few training sessions will be crucial to help get the squad gelling and playing like a team as soon as possible.”
Marks is a Head Coach for SEAtoSKY Field Hockey Club and the FHBC North Shore Academy as well as his coaching responsibilities for the U16 Women’s National Team, and a technical trainer for the Women’s National Team. He has international coaching experience in South Africa, USA and Hong Kong. Marks recognizes the U16 national program as an important part of the national team pipeline and wants to do his best to prepare these athletes for international hockey careers.
“My expectations for this group are that they will compete to the best of their ability, show a willingness to learn and improve, and represent Canada with pride and sportsmanship. I want them to enjoy the experience and come away with valuable lessons that they can apply to their future endeavours,” he said. “The U16 national team is an important steppingstone in the national pipeline for young field hockey players. The pathway will help these athletes move up through to U18, U21 and eventually into the Women’s National Program.”
The team departs on May 19 and will begin training and test matches. The International Den Bosch tournament b