(Photo: © FIH / Neil Hodge)

Field Hockey Canada and head coach Louis Mendonca released the names of those who will represent the Canadian women’s national field hockey team at the 2009 Pan American Cup.  The tournament, which runs 7 – 15 February in Hamilton, Bermuda, serves as the continental qualifier for the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) 2010 World Cup of Hockey.

Those named to the team include a strong mix of veterans and relative newcomers.  Canada will be led by the experience of Vancouver natives Stephanie Jameson and Stephanie Nesbitt, as well as Katie Rushton of Victoria, B.C.  Among those who will be experiencing their first major international event include Charlottetown’s Sarah MacAulay, and Surrey, B.C. native Natalie Wise.

Jameson needs only three more caps (international games) to reach the 100th cap milestone, the most of all active players.  Goalkeeper Azelia Liu (Scarborough, ON) and Meggan Oliver (Duncan, BC) need one and two caps respectively to reach 50.

British Columbia once again embodies the bulk of Canadian players with 13 provincial representatives.  Three of the athletes hail from Ontario while two are from Prince Edward Island.

Canada, ranked 20th in the world by the FIH, plays the host Bermudans on 7 February before taking on arch rival Argentina on 8 February and Trinidad & Tobago on 11 February.  The gold medal game is scheduled for 15 February.

Mendonca will be facing his first major test as new head coach of the women’s program.  He led the men’s national team to a respectable 10th-place finish at the Beijing Olympic Games last August.

He and the women’s team recently returned from a training tour in Ireland where they earned a win, loss, and draw against the Irish senior team. Goal scorers in the official test series included Tiffany Michaluk, Abigail Raye, and Calie O’Hara. Goalkeeper Liu was in net for Canada’s only victory of the series.

Team Canada for 2009 Pan American Cup: Abigail Raye, Azelia Liu, Amanda Stone, Anna Kozniuk, Cailie O’Hara, Diana Roemer, Jessalyn Kay Walkey, Katie Baker, Katie Rushton, Meggan Oliver, Natalie Wise, Sarah MacAulay, Shannon Elmitt, Stephanie Jameson, Stephanie Nesbitt, Thea Culley, Tiffany Michaluk, Tyla Flexman.

Source: Field Hockey Canada