(Natalie Sourisseau/Submitted)

Kelowna native captains field hockey team to World Cup

National team looking for help in fundraising

Team Canada has qualified for the Women’s Field Hockey World Cup for the first time in 28 years – and they need your help.

Kelowna native Natalie Sourisseau captained the squad to the momentous feat by earning bronze at the Panamerican Cup in January, booking their ticket to the big dance set for July in Terrassa, Spain.

Sourisseau admitted that the buildup for the January tournament held in Santiago, Chile was “a little bit hectic”, coming at a time when the Omicron variant was at its peak.

“Between that, and there was a lot of snow at that time so we weren’t really able to train, there was a lot of factors against us,” said Sourisseau. “We basically didn’t train for six weeks leading up to the tournament.”

Canada bested the rival United States in the third-place game.

“But we still managed to show up and get the job done. It wasn’t necessarily the most pretty, but we were able to get the bronze.”

Sourisseau took up the sport while at KLO Middle School, continuing on at Kelowna Secondary, winning provincials in her senior year.

It all eventually led to a spot on the national squad in 2011.

Now, she will be wearing the ‘C’ on her chest in her first World Cup.

It is quite the accomplishment – however, such an undertaking can come at a massive cost financially, and the Canadian field hockey program has not received any ‘Own the Podium’ government funding since 2015.

Costs to run a successful program come in all shapes and sizes, whether it may be field rentals, coach salaries, or training.

A fundraising page to help send the team to Spain has been set up at www.fieldhockey.ca, under the name ‘Back the Pack.’

“It’s often athlete-levied,” said Sourisseau. “Most of us have paid tens of thousands of dollars over the course of our careers to be able to go to these tournaments.”

Sourisseau said that the decision to qualify for Own the Podium funding is made on a year-to-year basis, with 2022 funding established in December of last year – before Canada had qualified for their first World Cup in almost three decades.

“We certainly did better than expected. So we’re hoping that beyond this year, in the future, we’ll be able to get funding.”

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@JakeC_16
Jake.courtepatte@kelownacapnews.com

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