The Canadian men’s and women’s field hockey teams will have to get past Ireland to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Canadian men, ranked 10th in the world, will play host to the 13th-ranked Irish in West Vancouver in a two-match series on Oct. 26 and 27. The women, who have moved up three places to No. 15, will face No. 8 Ireland in Dublin on Nov. 2 and 3.
The winners qualify for the 12-country field at next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
The Olympic qualifying draw was made Monday at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Canadian women made the Olympic qualifier by virtue of their runner-up finish at the FIH Hockey Series Finals in June in Valencia, Spain. They have done it the hard way, raising money to pay for their training and trips after they lost their Own The Podium funding.
The men advanced by winning the FIH Series Finals in May with a 3-2 victory over host Malaysia.
Canada’s women have sat out the past six Olympics, most recently competing in 1992 when they finished seventh in Barcelona in their third trip to the Games. The Canadian men, in their seventh Olympic appearance, finished 11th in 2016 at the Rio Games.
Other men’s fall Olympic qualifying series see Spain take on France in Valencia, the Netherlands face off against Pakistan in Amsterdam, India against Russia in Bhubaneswar, New Zealand and South Korea in Stratford, Germany and Austria in Moenchengladbach and Britain play host to Malaysia in London.
In other women’s qualifying series, it’s Australia against Russia in Perth, China and Belgium in Changzhou, Spain and South Korea in Valencia, India and the United States in Bhubaneswar, Germany and Italy in Moenchengladbach and Britain and Chile in London.
Host Japan, top-ranked Australia, No. 2 Belgium, No. 4 Argentina and No. 14 South Africa have already qualified for the Olympic men’s field.
Japan, the top-ranked Netherlands, No. 3 Argentina, No. 6 New Zealand and No. 16 South Africa have made the women’s draw.