2000 Canadian Sport Awards
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National Men's Field Hockey Team
Nominated by Field Hockey CanadaFor the first time since 1988, Canada will compete in the men's Olympic field hockey tournament. The guarantor of that elusive goal was achieved before a capacity hometown crowd at the 1999 Pan American Games, where the team's emotional, gold-medal performance assured them of the trip to Sydney.
The 1-0 victory over Argentina, which did everything but score, was the culmination of years of personal sacrifice and playing in the shadows. That the team stuck together is a measure of their determination. Their rise from 18th in the world in 1994 to their current 8th position is no small feat in the extremely competitive world of their sport. So determined were they to succeed that they personally financed much of their international play through corporate or personal sponsorships.
Long-time team captain Peter Milkovich has tried twice before to reach the Olympic tournament. To him, the victory was "a dream come true. You don't know how big this is? It's about $70,000 big. We banked on this. We set money aside to go to Sydney to test the Olympic facilities. We were going to put our money on the line to do it. That's how much we believed in this."
The team's success continued after the Winnipeg victory with another gold medal at the four-nations tournament in Australia, where they defeated the world's fourth-ranked home team 4-0 and the seventh-ranked Koreans to finish a strong third. At season's end, the team recorded victories against world powers Holland, Spain, and Germany. Mahood and Milkovich were named to participate on the world President's XI team for the FIH 75th anniversary celebration. Canada's national coach, Shiaz Virjee, was appointed coach of this select event. And on the heels of qualifying for Sydney has come a sponsorship deal with Adidas, a sure sign of the rising fortunes of Canada's men's field hockey team.
Team members were Ian Bird of North Vancouver, B.C., Alan Brahmst of Toronto, Ont., Sean Campbell of Victoria, B.C., Robin D'Abreo of Mississauga, Ont., Chris Gifford of Vancouver, B.C., Andrew Griffiths of Toronto, B.C., Ronnie Jagday of Vancouver, B.C., Hari Kant of Ottawa, Ont., Bindi Kullar of North Delta, B.C., Mike Mahood of West Vancouver, B.C., Peter Milkovich of Vancouver, B.C., Scott Mosher of Vancouver, B.C., Ken Pereira of Unionville, Ont., Rick Roberts of Victoria, B.C., Rob Short of Ganges, B.C., and Paul Wettlaufer of North Vancouver, B.C.