09/25/2015 10:07 AM
by Adam Sherlip, Executive Director of The Hockey Foundation; Head Coach of Team India
Over the six years I've been coaching Team India, the Ice Hockey Association of India and I have received hundreds of messages from people around the world suggesting that we build the team with Indo-Canadian/American hockey players, often suggesting themselves as candidates. While we recognize that hockey players in North America of Indian descent/origin have received considerably more hockey training than our players from India, we've had to decline that offer due to IIHF rules regarding citizenship.
Well NOW they can finally play for Team India...against the Brampton Beast.
Hockey players of Indian descent/origin in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are invited to try out for approximately 10 roster spots on Team India. Tryouts will be held on Saturday, October 3rd & will continue on Sunday, October 4th at the Powerade Center in Brampton, Ontario.
Once selected, the team will combine with the 10-12 players coming over from Team India and spend the week preparing for India's first ice hockey game in North America against the Brampton Beast, the ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
Why 10-12? Well, that's all the Ice Hockey Association of India can afford. Why else? Because the Brampton Beast are a professional team with extremely talented hockey players, and Team India wouldn't fare well if our full roster competed.
And this brings us to our next issue: the cost of tryouts.
Part of the inspiration to bring Team India to Canada was to connect the Indian ice hockey program to hockey lovers across North America, whether or not they're of Indian descent. The Ice Hockey Association of India has been forced to require players selected for the National Team to pay their own way in order to represent India. Earlier this year IHAI had to resort to crowd-funding just to be able to send the national team to the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia - the only tournament the national team competes in annually.
Because of this, we felt that bringing Team India over to Canada would provide a great opportunity for IHAI to recoup the costs of flying the team over and hopefully leave them in a stronger financial position than they were in before. This would allow them to grow their national program, such as providing more hockey training to Indian children, establishing a women's team, creating a national league, etc.
The price to tryout, $99.99 (plus HST), was set by all parties involved to ensure that the most serious hockey players attend the tryouts and we don't end up with 300 players of drastically varying ability on the ice. It just wouldn't be manageable. That being said, we want to encourage anybody and everybody who feels they should be on Team India to try out! All players who try out for Team India will receive two tickets to the game on October 9th.
This means that if they make the team, they can give the tickets to friends/family, and if they don't get selected, then they'd still receive two tickets to see this historic game. The funds collected by the Brampton Beast cover the cost of tickets to the game and then cover the costs associated with this event, as referenced earlier.
I will personally conduct the tryout in conjunction with the Brampton Beast coaching staff. The primary goal will be to fill the roster of Team India, but there's also the distinct that if the Beast like your game, you'd get a crack at making the squad. And then you're only 2 steps away from the NHL! Last year, Scott Darling played in the ECHL. By the end of the season he was hoisting The Cup!
Please head to www.BramptonBeast.com to register to tryout, or to purchase tickets to the game. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing you on October 3rd!