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

Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

VRBA director Casey Edge also questions Saanich’s commitment towards housing affordability

Saanich police are looking for a man who exposed himself Saturday night

The incident exposure happened at the intersection of Feltham Road and Shelbourne Street

Readers Theatre returns to Victoria’s Emanu-El

Born at Congregation Emanu-El’s 2013 Arts Festival, Bema Productions is back for its fifth season

Victoria-bound plane slides off icy Edmonton runway

Crew, passengers had to disembark via bridge stairs

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in Victoria as part of global Women’s March for equality

‘End Violence Against Women’ march theme for 2019

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

2019 Canadian Whisky Awards’ big winners announced

Awards held in conjunction with Victoria Whisky Festival

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Most Read