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Canada's junior national field hockey team books ticket to World Cup

10 players from B.C., including three from the North Shore, help Team Canada score crucial win at Pan Am Championships
field hockey Canada junior women
Members of Canada's junior women's national field hockey team pose for a celebratory selfie after booking a ticket to the Junior World Cup with a 1-0 win over Chile in the Pan American Championship semifinals Aug. 26, 2021 in Chile.

Canada’s national junior women’s field hockey team booked a ticket to the Junior World Cup today with a win over Chile in the semifinals at the Junior Pan American Championships.

The tight 1-0 win over the tournament’s host squad not only earned Canada a spot in the Pan Am Championships final, but clinched their first World Cup berth since 2013.

Thora Rae scored the only goal of the match just before halftime and the Canadian squad held off the Chileans the rest of the way to earn the critical victory.

More than half of the 18 players on the roster are from British Columbia, including three North Shore links. North Vancouver midfielder Nora Goddard-Despot and goalkeeper Lucy Wheeler suited up for Team Canada at the tournament, along with West Vancouver midfielder Bronwyn Bird. Other B.C. players include Vancouver’s Rae, Sara Goodman, and Julia Ross; Victoria’s Anna Mollenhauer, Stefanie Sajko and Nora Struchtrup; and Ishaval Sekhon from Surrey.

Wheeler has backstopped a strong Canadian defence throughout the tournament, registering shutouts in each of the team’s three games so far.

Canada will face Uruguay in the Pan Am Championship final Saturday in Chile. The same two teams tied 0-0 to open the tournament. Uruguay made the final with a 1-0 semifinal win over the United States. The top three teams in the Pan Am Championships earn spots in the Junior World Cup, scheduled for Dec. 5-16 in Potchefstroom, South Africa.