for 2018. I’m 15 years old and live on a farm one hour north of Calgary, Alberta.
I know you are thinking . . . Field Hockey in rural Alberta? Field Hockey can be played indoor (5 players per side), or outdoor (11 players per side) and is the third most popular sport in the world behind soccer and cricket with 2 billion estimated fans. It is not widely known in Alberta. My love for Field Hockey started five years ago when I was in grade 5. I started playing as a defenceman, but when our Goalie did'nt show up for a tournement in Edmonton I told my coach I would try playing Goalie. I loved it and played Goalie for my small town Didsbury, Alberta team until the end of grade 8. My coach back then had played Field Hockey on the Canadian National Women’s Team. Coach Johnson instilled a love for the game that has driven me to higher levels, and a desire to one day play for the Canadian National Men’s Team.
(MVP Calgary Men's Indoor Season 2017)
At 7 years of age after much testing and numerous trips to the Alberta Children’s Hospitals Emergency department, I was diagnosed with Severe Crohn’s Disease. This is an autoimmune disease where my own immune system is trying to attack my intestines. I go to the Children’s Hospital every 4 weeks for an IV infusion of Remicade in addition to taking weekly immunosuppressant medication to reduce my immune system to try and prevent it from doing damage to my intestines. I have never used Crohn’s as an excuse to slow me down. If you ask any of my coaches they will tell you I give 100% to everything I do.
Two years ago when I was 13, I played at a tournament in Calgary where I was noticed by Manvir Grewal (a former Indoor National Goalie), and Peadar O’Riain (President of Field Hockey Alberta) who invited me to try out for High Performance Training, and Team Alberta. As a thirteen year old I was a little intimidated at my first practice (since most players were several years older than me), but I loved it just the same. I continued with the training, and along the way I have made some good friendships and strong connections with other players, many of them older than me. In the fall of 2016 I started playing goal for several Indoor Men’s teams in Calgary including: the Saracens, Warriors, Cougars, and more recently the Maroons. I went to a Men’s Indoor Tournament in Boston (January 12–15/18) with the Maroons, and love playing at a high level. Playing at a higher level I have learned the value of team work, supporting each other during good times and bad. I have always loved sports, and Field Hockey has become my biggest passion, even though I love all team sports. I really feel like Field Hockey is my calling. I really want to continue playing the sport throughout my life.
(Boston Minuteman Invitational Indoor Tournement January 2018)
Last year (2017) I trained hard at High Performance, and played for Team Alberta (U15 Division) at Nationals in Surrey BC. Even though we didn't win Nationals, I had a great experience and was awarded MVP for the U15 Division, and was named to Tournament 11 for the U15 group. One of the highlights was meeting Scott Tupper (Captain of the Canadian Men’s National Team). During Nationals I was approached by the National U21 Men’s Coach about coming to the Junior Development Squad (JDS) National camp in the summer of 2018. In the fall of 2017 I was named to the JDS “Futures” roster (the only player from Alberta to make it in my age group). On December 23, 2017 I received an email asking for my commitment to the JDS for 2018, which includes: 50 training sessions, 30 strength and conditioning sessions, a training tour from May 10-22 in France, JDS National Camp in Toronto in July.
(Team Alberta U15 Nationals Surrey BC July 2017)
With living on a farm, we have been making 2-5 trips into Calgary every week since the summer of 2016 for me to play and practice field hockey. I know this has cost my family a lot of time and money. With Nationals this year being held in Toronto with the cost being around $3000.00 for the National Tournament and High Performance Team Alberta training, and then JDS cost at $3600.00 there is a struggle with trying to pay for everything. That is why I am respectfully requesting financial support. My parents are doing everything they can to try and make my dream come true, but I would really appreciate any support you might be able to offer. I need to start making payments to the JDS program in February 2018, and for Team Alberta training and Nationals later this spring. Again if you are able to help out, it would be appreciated more than you could know.
I hope to pay back all of the people who supported me by being a good spokesman for Field Hockey, and trying to help revive field hockey in Didsbury, the small town I played in. When I started playing Coach Johnson had 40-50 players from grade 5-8 playing for her. In the past several years, the number of kids playing field hockey in Didsbury has really dwindled. I would one day like to come back and revive field hockey with the same passion that Coach Johnson showed me so that future players can experience that game that has become my number one love.