Long-serving senior men’s hockey player Akim Toussaint of Police has been appointed captain of the T&T senior men’s hockey team which will compete in the eight-team Pan American Men’s Hockey Cup Tournament from January 20-30 in Santiago, Chile.
Toussaint, who recently served as assistant coach to new national senior men’s coach Darren Cowie at the Junior Pan American Hockey Championships in Chile last August will lead the “Calypso Stickmen” into battle against North American foes the USA, Canada and Mexico in Group B of the competition which will serve as the region’s qualifier to the 16-team FIH Odisha World Cup to be hosted by India in 2023.
The remaining four teams in the Pan Am competition, three-time winners Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru comprise Pool A.
Canada winners in 2009 in Chile and Cuba, on home soil in 2000 are the only other nations to have lifted the men's Pan Am Cup crown.
Toussaint, who scored a hat-trick when T&T defeated Kazakhstan 6-4 at the 2018 FIH Indoor World Cup in Berlin, Germany will lead a well-balanced team of youth and experience inclusive of goalkeeper Andrey Rocke who makes a return after a three-year hiatus with his last appearance coming at 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
The other experienced players selected to the team are Aidan De Gannes, Jordan Reynos, Mickell Pierre, Jordan Vieira, Shaquille Daniel, and Marcano brothers, Tariq and England-based Teague who plies his trade with England Hockey League Premier Division title-chasing Hampstead & Westminster.
The other members of the 18-man squad selected by coach Cowie include Malcolm Baptiste, Lyndell Byer, Joel Daniel, Ghardel Elcock, Ethan Reynos, Caleb Guissepi, Jovan Wren, Daniel Byer, and Tarell Singh.
Included in the 18-man team are three sets of brothers, Tariq and Teague Marcano, Lyndell and Daniel Byer, and Jordan and Ethan Reynos.
The pair of Roshane Hamilton and Jacques Poon-Lewis are the travelling reserves while the quintet of Arrielle Bowen,
Triston Grant, Cade Lue Sue, Shawn Phillip and David Coker have been selected as training reserves.
The “Calypso Stickmen” who will train on Sunday (Boxing Day) at the St James Police Training Barracks Hockey Field from 12.30 pm will flick off their campaign in Chile against the USA on January 20 from 3 pm.
This will be followed by matches against Mexico and Canada to close out round-robin play.
At the end of round-robin play the top two teams in each pool will advance to the main draw semifinals, with the third-place and final matches. The semifinal winners will secure the two Pan American spots to the 16-team World Cup.
Cowie who replaced Glen “Fido” Francis as senior men’s coach in October will have as his assistants Dwain Quan Chan and Raphael Govia to serve as his assistants.
Under the guidance of Francis, the national men's hockey team placed fourth at the last edition of the Pan American Cup in Lancaster, the USA in 2017 after a 3-0 loss to host the USA in the bronze medal.
And due to their top-six finish in the eight-team competition, T&T secured automatic qualification to next year's qualifiers. Francis also coached the team which claimed its best-ever bronze medal finish in Brampton, Canada in 2013 with a 3-1 defeat of the Americans in the third-place match.
Four years earlier (2009) in Santiago, Chile, Nicholas "Chico" Govia coached the men's team to the fifth spot, and in 2004, its other participation ended with a 2-1 loss to Chile in the bronze medal clash Under David Francois in London, Canada.
Akim Toussaint (c), Andrey Rocke (GK), Malcolm Baptiste (GK), Aidan De Gannes, Lyndell Byer, Jordan Reynos, Mickell Pierre, Jordan Vieira, Tariq Marcano, Teague Marcano, Shaquille Daniel, Joel Daniel, Ghardel Elcock, Ethan Reynos, Caleb Guissepi, Jovan Wren, Daniel Byer, Tarell Singh.
Travelling Reserves: Roshane Hamilton, Jacques Poon-Lewis (GK)
Training Reserve: Arrielle Bowen, Triston Grant, Cade Lue Sue, Shawn Phillip, David Coker.