|Pictured are the 32 boys and 4 members of staff from Friends' School Lisburn, at the India Field Hockey Club in Vancouver. The Boys are wearing their playing kits, sponsored by Alexander Boyd Displays and McCready Architects.|
AFTER a year of planning, 32 pupils and 4 members of staff embarked on a trip of a life time to Vancouver, Tofino and Whistler.
The Canadian adventure kicked off at Friends' School early on the 24 June and saw many tears shed as loved ones were departed for the first time. Both on and off the pitch the boys had a very successful tour. The boys had two light training sessions with their coaches and also enjoyed a coaching clinic with two Canadian Internationals.
These ultimately paid dividends as both teams performed extremely well with the 1st XI eventually triumphing in the Team India Tournament, with three wins and one draw. The 2nd XI also did themselves proud against stern opposition proving there would be selection headaches for senior coaches next season.
The boys evidently left an impression with many admiring the attractive style of hockey. Both teams also partook in three friendly matches against regional opposition, some of which were full Canadian Internationals.
Once again the warm hospitality was noted as the 1st XI were invited back for a BBQ hosted by the opposition. All players performed well despite the blistering heat and notable performers were Robert Cumins, who scored 8 goals and Chris Moulden who also collected the prize for goal of the tour. Meanwhile Ben Conn collected the 1st XI Player of the Tour, while John Semple obtained the 2nd XI equivalent.
Off the field the boys had a great time at the aquarium in Stanley Park. Also in Stanley Park, photo opportunities were provided by the Totem Pole Park. The boys also enjoyed a round of golf in Stanley Park with David Thompson victorious, scoring +3.
Also in Vancouver the boys conquered Grouse Mountain and were not only enthralled by the bird and Lumberjack show, but also by the magnificent views and the bears. Under the stewardship of two guides, both teams were enlightened with stories of the Hudson Bay Trading Company and the tales of the voyages, whilst seeing Vancouver from a different angle.
During the tour, the boys took the opportunity to chill out and many hours were spent in the swimming pool, on the diving boards, while others enjoyed playing tennis, basketball, baseball and soccer. While in Vancouver, they experienced the festivities associated with the Canada Day celebrations such as a fireworks display at Canada Place and experienced the national sport of Baseball. The tour party departed Vancouver for the picturesque surfing capital of Canada, Tofino, located a ferry's ride away on Vancouver Island. The boys had an unforgettable experience surfing in what was definitely one of the tour highlights. The last full day provided the climax of a once in a lifetime opportunity whilst also highlighting the extremity of Canadian weather. The morning saw the group hike, climb and sometimes fall across the snow capped Horseman's Peak and Blackcomb Mountain. By contrast, the afternoon witnessed the boys partake in mountain biking wearing shorts and T-shirts. To cap off a memorable tour, the boys went out on the last evening for a celebratory dinner, followed by various awards.
The boys express their gratitude to Alexander Boyd Displays and McCready Architects for their sponsorship. The tour would not have been possible without the hard work of David Williamson and his company 'Hacasport'.
This tour was, without doubt, the most memorable experience for all involved and thanks to Mr Chestnutt, Mr Cunningham, Mr McKay and Mr Duke for their time, effort in putting together the trip of a life time.