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Hockey Junior World Cup: Family boost for Canada’s Indian-origin players

Over two dozen Canadian families, mostly having roots in Punjab and other northern parts of India, have come for the Hockey Junior World Cup to support Team Canada.

other sports Updated: Dec 10, 2016 17:33 IST
Sharad Deep
Indian-origin families have travelled to Lucknow to support Team Canada.
Indian-origin families have travelled to Lucknow to support Team Canada.(HT Photo)

Tajinder Singh and family are in India right now for just two purposes. One to meet his own people at Kukar Pind village near Jalandhar, and the second one is to see his son Kabir Aujala playing for Canada in the ongoing Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup.

The family has been enjoying the second wish so far as Kabir has done well with stick in the front line of the side till now, whereas they would all move to Jalandhar to spend some days there with friends and relatives before going back to Canada.

“For the last many months we were preparing to go to India during the World Cup as we wanted to make this trip memorable,” said Tajinder Singh, who himself attended India’s national hockey camp for a number of times between 1985 to 89 before migrating to Canada in 1993.

READ | Hockey Junior World Cup: India cautious ahead of tough game against England

“Hockey is the first love in our family and my elder son Sunny Singh too has played over a dozen matches for Canadian side in the past,” said Tajinder, who has been doing real estate business there.

Other than Tajinder Singh and family, over two dozen Canadian families, mostly having roots in Punjab and other northern parts of India, have come for the championship also as financers of the side.

Around 7-8 players in the Canadian side for the Junior World Cup hail from the United Brothers Club, which is being financed by Sardars.

“This is what we are supposed to do for the development of hockey in Canada as there is no one to support the game officially,” team’s coach Indy Sehmbi told HT soon after his side lost to South Africa 1-3 despite enjoying an early lead on Saturday.

He, however, admitted that each and every player in the side in the current junior team has paid US $ 5000 for this tour, and in a year they spend $ 11,000. “That’s what the system we have got in Canada, and even for Olympics the team members too funds their tours, preparations and even exposure trips from their own pockets.”

A high school teacher by profession Sehmbi confessed that he isn’t a professional coach for the side, but he has been hired by the hockey players group and he is being paid by the players. “Our hockey federation doesn’t have funds to support the game so it’s the players, who keep on funding the game.”

On team’s performance in both their matches so far, Sehmbi said that his boys were the youngest in the game and trying their best to do here. Before losing to South Africa 1-3 on Saturday, Canada had lost to India 1-4 in their opening game of Group D.

Ranked 12th in the world among seniors, Canada made it to the Junior World Cup after finishing runners-up at the Junior Pan-Am Championship at Toronto. “Certainly, boys would learn a lot from the games here and would apply those experience for good in future,” Sehmbi added.