Today, March 31, the Junior Women’s Pan American (PANAM) Hockey Championship begin and the national team is sounding the alarm: We are ready! The ten day tournament, sponsored by the blink | bmobile Foundation, takes place at the National Hockey Center, Tacarigua and is the first time that T&T host the Junior Women’s Pan American (PANAM) Hockey Championship.
Camille Campbell, Chief Marketing Officer Ag. at TSTT, reiterated the Company’s support for the team, stating that as the only national telecommunications provider dedicated to the country’s growth and development, the gesture is simply in keeping with TSTT’s mandate of being a responsible corporate citizen. T&T is one of eight teams vying for the prestigious title currently held by Argentina.
Amanda Tang Nian, a midfielder who plays for the Ventures Hockey Club stated that the team is "going out there to play hard" and " have been putting in the work".The 16 year old St Joseph’s Convent student has been playing hockey for the past six years and is one of the potential stars of this year's tournament. Speaking about her passion for the game, Tang Nian says she had no choice but to love the sport as when it comes to hockey, it’s a family affair. “My dad’s side of the family all played hockey so I was encouraged to try it. Once I did, I fell in love with it,” she says. The teenager believes that the championship will help to place the sport on the local map. “Having the championship here is great because it will give hockey more exposure.
National teammate, Shaniah De Freitas, 16, echoed similar sentiments. “I’m pleasantly surprised that blink | bmobile is supporting the tournament because it seems that not many people know about field hockey, so I am happy that they are behind the team. It feels great.” A defender with the Shandy Carib Magnolia Hockey team, the Providence Girls’ Catholic student is also optimistic about the championship as it will be the highlight of her ten year career. De Freitas, who aspires to become the national captain one day, will also be aiming to make her mother proud, as she inherited the love of the game from her. “This will be the first time playing in an international competition so I’m very excited.!!We have a good team and we all want to win. If we take our time, we can definitely do it,” she asserts. “My mom played hockey so I learnt the game from her first. It’s a good sport and I’ve made a lot of friendships over the years. I encourage any young woman to try it.”
Kherdine Gonzales, who turned 20 recently, says playing for the national team has increased her confidence and skills and while she’s a bit nervous, as it will be her first international competition, she’s optimistic that the team has what it takes to win. The Finance major at the UWI aspires to be a finance manager in the near future – but for now, the striker who plays for Malvern Sports Club, says her focus is on assisting her teammates cop the coveted title. “I’m overwhelmed to an extent but as it gets closer, I’m kinda settling down and understanding the intensity we have to put out there as a team. I’ve been playing hockey for five years and now I’m getting a better understanding of international hockey as opposed to normal team hockey.” Unlike many of her teammates, Gonzales is the only hockey player in her family, however, it’s a decision she has never regretted. “I started playing at St Augustine Girls’ High, I decided to give it a try and I developed a passion for it. I told myself I could do anything I put my mind to.”
These three girls and many other future prospects across the Pan American Region will be on show during the tournament. After the football, Carifta and cricket success over the past few days, our sport is on a run of good form and the hockey girls look forward to your support as they aim to continue that winning feeling.