Since the start of his field hockey career, Tanvir Kang has had one dream: to play for Canada! This year, his dream came true as he was selected for the U-21 Junior World Cup. He will represent Canada in Bhubaneswar, India, from November 24 to December 5.
Since the start of his field hockey career, Tanvir Kang has had one dream: to play for Canada! This year, his dream came true as he was selected for the U-21 Junior World Cup. He will represent Canada in Bhubaneswar, India from November 24 to December 5. Alongside pursuing the Heavy Equipment Technician program at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Kang is currently spending most of his time training twice a day for the upcoming Hockey Men's Junior World Cup.
Calgary-based Kang recalls that he initially started playing hockey because of his uncle’s encouragement, but soon fell in love with the sport himself. “I started playing seven to eight years ago. Since then, my uncle and I had the dream of me playing for Canada. It took a lot of dedication and commitment to achieve the dream, especially given that there are not many opportunities in Alberta.”, explains Kang. The field hockey superstar travels to British Columbia every weekend to play league games and attend trainings, as a team player of the West Coast Kings in BC.
The past few years, especially, have been a balancing act for the busy bee. While he would be going to school in Calgary during the weekdays, he would fly out to British Columbia for the weekends, to train. When in Calgary, he would practice at his home club, United Field Hockey Club Calgary. He would train on his own, hit the gym, and play in local leagues. Many times, he’d fly out right after classes, finishing his homework in whatever time he could squeeze in between commitments.
Kang shares, “Traveling is definitely the biggest challenge. There would be times when I’d have school or work scheduled for early Monday morning. For this past year, particularly, I have had to complete hours for apprenticeships, for which I’d sometimes take a flight back to Calgary at 6:00am in the morning.” When he wasn’t in British Columbia, Kang would sometimes be playing tournaments in Mexico or the United States. He’s also done U-21 tours in the Netherlands and England. As the only player from Alberta in the Junior Program, Kang has definitely had to exhibit extra commitment. The world cup dream, though, was his light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the challenges, he always pushed harder and never gave up.
With so much on his plate coupled with extensive traveling, Kang has undoubtedly had to compromise on his social life. That said, his friends and family have offered nothing but support to the budding legend. His family has always stood by him, also supporting Kang financially with his field hockey ventures. Kang details that the field hockey junior program in Canada is heavily self-funded, with money going out of pocket for tours and travels. Nevertheless, Kang’s parents have always left it up to him to pursue what his heart truly desires. Field hockey, complemented with his studies, are a path that Kang is happy to have chosen. He maintains that sports are a key aspect in life, having both physical and mental benefits.
As such, Kang urges parents to support their children in achieving their dreams – sports-related or not, whatever they may be. For youth aspiring to reach their goals, Kang has a special message, “There should never be a time where you should feel the need to sacrifice one thing to obtain the other. As cliché as it may sound, nothing is hard in life because it’s always a mater of putting in the work. Even if you get cut, keep chasing and keep going. If you run towards something, you’ll be able to get it no matter what.”
It is precisely this go-getter mentality that has helped Kang make the community proud. Aside from this recent selection, he has played in numerous National Championships for Alberta (U-18 and U-21), where he has received the honor of being awarded one of the Tournament’s Best 11. Kang’s resilience, passion, and sheer dedication to the sport of field hockey contribute to him being a positive role-model for others in the community. Surely, this is only the beginning for Kang and his career for Canada. As he puts it, he has just started climbing the ladder and the next steps are representing Canada at the senior level and pursuing the Olympic dream!
Photography: Fahad Photo