USA Men’s Hockey team heads to the 2022 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
Dragflick Newsdesk : Coming in second isn’t always the best feeling, especially if it means you missed out on qualifying for an international tournament. But in some cases, finishing runners-up, may put you in the position of fortune.
Originally scheduled to take place March 25 to 29, 2020, the Indoor Pan American Cups were postponed once, then that following September postponed again, and after nearly a year and a half of waiting, five nations competed across both the men’s and women’s sides from June 25 to 27, 2021.
Although No. 18 U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team beat a tough No. 14 Canada side twice, they fell in the final to No. 19 Argentina, where the winner received an automatic bid to the 2022 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup (IHWC) taking place February 2 to 6 in Liège, Belgium. Coming in second is bitter, but the team gave everything they had for a shot at qualifying directly, but they also put themselves in the best position should a nation drop out.
82 days following the end of the event, USA got the announcement.
Since last March, many hardships and difficulties have been present with the pandemic. This includes country and state mandates, limited social lives, postponed and canceled events, and most of all, travel restrictions.
In mid-September, both Hockey Australia and Hockey New Zealand announced that unfortunately they were no longer be able to participate in the IHWC as a result of COVID-related government travel restrictions. With that, the Oceania representatives were replaced by Namibia and USA (men) as well as Canada and South Africa (women).
The last time that the indoor men’s program attended an IHWC was back in 2011 when it was in Poznan, Poland. Prior to that, they competed in 2003 when it was hosted in Leipzig, Germany. In both editions USA finished 11th, and they will look to up their final placement come February.
No. 18 USA has been placed in a Pool B with No. 2 Germany, No. 3 Iran, No. 7 Netherlands, No. 8 Belgium and No. 16 Namibia. With just 41 days remaining until the 2022 IHWC in Liège, Belgium, USA must get to work to perform at their best on the world’s top indoor international stage. The squad is enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate at such a prestigious event and is ready to invest the efforts necessary to compete with the world’s best.
“The men’s indoor program showed resilience leading up to and throughout the 2021 IPAC period,” said Jason Mulder, Indoor USMNT Head Coach.
“We were definitely not immune to the challenges of preparing and playing international sports during COVID, there’s no textbook on playing sport through a global pandemic unfortunately. All said and done, the athletes and staff were professional and remained optimistic throughout that challenge phase. Looking back on that experience, I can undoubtedly say we have become stronger and more focused as a group.”
“Hearing the news that we were selected for the 2022 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup was special. I was happy for the group as I knew how much they sacrificed. We have just finalized our selection camp athletes and look forward to developing toward the Indoor World Cup, as with this time, we have a few curveballs but nothing that our exceptional group can’t handle. We aim to be competitive and look forward to representing the USA Field Hockey community.”