Danielle Hennig's first international cap was against India back in 2010. Inexperienced and scared to play against the national side, the 19-year-old Canadian girl felt unprepared. Two years later, it's become a different story.
"I was relishing the challenge," said Hennig after Canada's 1-4 loss to India during the Olympic Qualifiers at the National Stadium on Sunday evening. "I looked at it mostly as a personal challenge as I was more experienced this time." The 21-year-old defender has 32 caps now. "We will of course keep on trying for the London berth but if not this year, the next Olympics surely," she said confidently. Soccer was her first love but had to give it up for hockey after breaking her ankle at the age of 15. With women's hockey not being such a popular sport back home, Hennig learned the sport on grass with two screws keeping her ankle in place.
"I don't even think about the metal in my ankle now. The best chance to play hockey back home would be in schools or university as there are only a few hockey clubs in Canada." She is studying kinesiology and has aspirations to become a physiotherapist after her hockey career.
Room to better
For the home side, it was a good win after drawing their first game against Ukraine. "We only had one or two mistakes which could have been avoided," said women's coach CR Kumar. "We have scope for more improvement during the course of this tournament."
Unlike their last match, the team converted more of the chances that came their way. "We left the last match in our hotel room," stated captain Asuntha Lakra. "We realised where we went wrong and told ourselves not to commit the same mistakes twice."
With the next game against Poland looming large, the team does not want to think of a scoreline. "That would put unwanted pressure on the girls," Kumar said.
Poland men's team coach Bas Dirks was not a happy man. "We our playing our second match without even a 24-hour gap," he said, complained about the scheduling. Playing at 4pm on the opening day, Poland had lost to France. On Sunday, the team took on Canada at noon.