Current and former University of Victoria athletes will compete with the women’s national field hockey team as the program begins a major tournament in Chile on Wednesday and hopes to earn its first World Cup berth since 1994.
Vikes field hockey player Anna Mollenhauer and the university program’s alumna Kathleen Leahy will represent Canada with the senior women’s team at the Pan American Cup in Santiago, Chile from Jan. 19 to 30.
Mollenhauer, who was the 2021 U Sports player of the year, makes the jump to the senior squad after helping Canada’s junior team qualify for the Jr. World Cup last year.
Mollenhauer called it a truly indescribable experience to play alongside her role models.
“Playing for Canada on the international stage has always been a dream of mine since I was young so the little girl in me is so beyond proud and excited,” she said in a release.
The pandemic reducing the amount of the competition for the national women’s team makes the Pan American Cup even more exciting, she added.
“We are super excited to get down there and show everyone how hard we have been working to prepare for this tournament as it is such a big opportunity.”
Leahy is also a member of Canada’s indoor field hockey program. Her time with the Vikes included a Canada West championship in 2015 and two silver medals at nationals. She was also named a first-team All-Canadian in 2015 and a Canada West first-team All-Star in 2014.
The Canadian women finished fourth at the 2017 Pan American Cup. They’ll need to finish in the top three to secure a spot at this summer’s World Cup, being held in Spain and the Netherlands.
Half (9) of the Canadian women’s team going to Chile also competed at the 2019 Pan American Games, where they captured silver. The other half includes a mix of junior development players moving up to the senior team, indoor national team crossovers and recruits from other development streams.
Canada opens the Pan American Cup against Peru on Wednesday. It’ll then play the United States on Jan. 21 and Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 23.
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