Saanich field hockey athlete heads to China for Youth Olympics

Mount Douglas secondary student Harbir Sidhu takes part in new five-on-five field hockey at Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China

Sharp striker Harbir Sidhu is representing Saanich with Team Canada's national junior field hockey team at the Youth Olympics in China this month.

Harbir Sidhu is half a world away at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, this week, and the promising national team field hockey player is playing a half-sized version of the game.

The Youth Olympics is using the newly popularized five-versus-five format of field hockey. If anyone stands to benefit from the game, it’s Canadians, who have their own versions of five on five ball hockey and are used to the fast-paced style and open spaces the five-aside format brings.

Fives, as it’s known, runs with three 15-minute periods, three quarters the length of the traditional 60-minute game. Players take shifts, just like in ball hockey or ice hockey.

Sidhu’s job is to score. It’s something he’s good at.

“I love to score and to set plays up so I really enjoy the five-versus-five version,” said Sidhu, a Mount Douglas secondary student. “The field’s only about one third smaller than the usual field, but with five players instead of 11, it opens up a lot of space to move the ball around.”

This year was Sidhu’s first as a regular starter on the Victoria Select men’s team in the long running premier division of the Vancouver Field Hockey League. Despite it being a tough season for the Selects with just two wins in 16 games, it was monumental for Sidhu, who grew up  practising on the sidelines while watching uncles and cousins play for the Selects.

“Sidhu has the potential to be a really, really good player,” said Kevin Laidman, head coach of the UVic Vikes men’s team. Sidhu and Claremont’s Michael Brown are the only high schoolers who practised regularly with the Vikes this past season.

“He already stands out at our UVic practices. He’s smaller than the university-age guys, but you can see he stands out as a star already. Whether he’ll be that good for Canada, it’s hard to say,” Laidman said.

Sidhu enjoyed his 17th birthday on Aug. 14, the team’s first day of training in Nanjing. With only nine players representing Team Canada, spots were at a premium for the Youth Olympics.

Sidhu spent the better part of the summer at the University of British Columbia where he’s part of a small group of Victoria players, with cousin Amardeep Sidhu (Mount Douglas) and Brown (Claremont), who train regularly with the national junior program.

Sidhu wasn’t included in Canada’s junior team that qualified for Nanjing at the Pan American tournament earlier this year, but made it onto the Youth Olympic team.

“I had to work hard to get included for China,” Sidhu said.

“Sidhu is very humble, he’s willing to learn, and given his age he’s pretty impressive,” Laidman added.

The Canadian junior field hockey team competes in the Nanjing Youth Olympics from Aug. 17 to 27. Nanjing is the second Youth Olympics.

Victoria Royals’ defenceman Joe Hicketts captained the Canadian ice hockey team at the Youth Winter Olympics in 2012.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

Park ambassador pilot going well at Mount Doug

Dog poop bags, litter and cigarette butts among ongoing park issues

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

VIDEO: Unique canvas for local artist

Haren Vakil brings joy and smiles to homeowners and passersby

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

How to sponsor a refugee, global refugee situation only worsening

‘U.S. is no longer a safe place for refugees,’ says local MP

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read