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A Passionate Bunch

10/02/2015 2:32 PM -

Team India coach not surprised by growing tryout numbers

With just one week remaining until the groundbreaking exhibition game between the Brampton Beast and the National Team of India, preparations are well underway to make this an event to remember.

The first item on the agenda to kick off exhibition week is Team India tryouts, taking place at the Powerade Centre in Brampton this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Requests to try out for Team India have been rolling in for the last several weeks and fans and organizers may be interested to learn that the search to complete Team India’s roster has reached far beyond the Greater Toronto Area.

While the majority of Team India applicants will be making the short drive from every corner of the GTA, like Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton and Etobicoke, some Team India hopefuls will have a little more than a car ride to get to the Powerade Centre this weekend.

The tryout has even attracted applicants from the United States and a there are even a pair of pair of brothers who are making the 4000+ kilometre trek from British Columbia.

Some may find it perplexing that people are willing to travel from far and wide just to try out for a team for the opportunity to play in a single exhibition game, but Team India Head Coach Adam Sherlip isn’t surprised in the least.

He explains that people in the Indian culture are a proud and passionate group that will go above and beyond just for the opportunity to wear their country’s jersey on their chest.

“I’ve seen the way that Indians around the world have reacted to learning about ice hockey and I’ve seen just how passionate they are about it,” Sherlip said.

“One of the big things I got earlier in the year, we had a really successful fundraising campaign to go to Kuwait. That’s when we first got to see a lot of messages from Indians across the world saying “I don’t care how Team India does, I’m just proud that they’re trying.”

Having a passionate group eager to try out doesn’t mean the process is going to be a breeze for Sherlip and his coaching staff. Having just four on-ice sessions to integrate new players with those who have made the trip from India will be no easy task.

“I’d be surprised if anybody has ever held a tryout like this,” Sherlip chuckled.

“This tryout is honestly among the most challenging things I’ve ever done as a coach. I’m just going to start simple and tap into the fact that they’re all there because they want to represent Team India in this event, and I’m appreciative of that. We’ll start light and progress based on what we see. We will try to test speed and hockey sense, their passing and shooting. We’re going to go through the gamut and we’ll increase the challenge based on who’s on the ice.”

Sherlip and company are well aware of the task ahead of them this week but he takes solace in the fact that he along with his players and tryout attendees are motivated by an honest and pure passion for the game of ice hockey and a burning desire to wear the jersey of their home country.

“We’ve seen some of their credentials,” Sherlip said of his potential team members trying out for Team India. “We’re excited to see everybody’s passion on the ice. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of that.

“Every day I get a hundred emails from everywhere from people saying how excited they are for us. People love the jersey and people love the concept of this game. People just care and that’s amazing to see.”

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