Name: Gordon Johnston
CAN Fund Recipient Since: 2015
Sport: Field Hockey
Silver at the 2015 Pan American Games
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
On The National Team Since: 2011
How does being a CAN Fund Recipient make a difference for you?
Field Hockey is most popular in Europe, Asia and Oceana, which means that the Canadian team has to travel significant distances to play in most international tournaments. Furthermore, Field hockey is not a sport that gets much financial support from outside sources in Canada and the national organization can only help so much. This means that I tend to pay out-of-pocket to send myself to most events, as well as pay for all of my living and training expenses. I also study engineering at the University of British Columbia, which makes it nearly impossible to work a part time job. If my family had not been supporting me financially over the last 5 years, I would not have been able to be a part of the team that qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics. I owe my entire family much more than just the money they lent me to get here. The support from CAN Fund is helping to take some of the financial stress off of myself and the rest of my family.
Think of someone who has impacted your life. Share 3 words on who they are to you.
My Parents – Patience, Selflessness, Persistence
Instead of one person who impacted my journey, I will refer to my parents as one unit that, aside from my two sisters, are the ones who have supported my journey since day one. My mother and father have always been there through the good times and the bad to give me the support I needed or the hard advice I didn’t want to hear. They did more than just drive me to games when I was young or pay for trips when I got older. They were always invested in helping me do what I love and achieve whatever dream about which I felt most passionate. My parents taught me the values of patience, selflessness, and persistence. Those three words summarize the role my parents played in my journey towards my ultimate goal.
What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome to get to where you are today?
Injuries have always been the unwelcome part of sport and unfortunately they were a large part of my young athletic career. In field hockey your hands are often open and vulnerable to being hit and my hands were often magnets for being hit by both the ball and sticks. I have broken my hand 7 times now. Most recently just weeks before our Olympic Qualification event, the Pan American Games in Toronto.
Share 3 words to describe what CAN Fund is to you
Support, Sympathetic, Opportunity
When was the moment you knew you wanted to represent Canada?
I have known that I wanted to represent Canada ever since I was 12 years old. My inspiration came while I was being coached by Rob Short, a Canadian Field Hockey Legend, during a summer camp. Over those two weeks, Rob provided me with insight into the high performance game, at which point my goal of representing Canada became clear. I was just starting to get into high performance field hockey in 2008, and the Beijing Olympics were being held that summer. I knew I wanted to watch some of the games, to see the Canadian guys in action. When I woke up early in the morning around 3am to watch the team play against some of the best hockey nations in the world, I was blown away by the game. It was at that point at 15 years old, cheering so loud at 3am I was waking my family up, that I knew I not only wanted to represent Canada, but that every moment I played hockey from that point on would be to represent Canada at the Olympic Games.
What is the best part about representing Canada?
I am lucky, I have the privilege of working towards my goal of the Olympic Games with 17 other teammates. We all battle, day in and day out together in order to reach our aspirations. That is the best part of representing Canada for me, having 17 teammates to train, play, and live with every step of the way.
Why are you proud to be Canadian?
Around the world Canadians have the reputation of being polite, helpful and peaceful people. What the rest of the world doesn’t realize is our favorite pastime, Ice Hockey, is a game that demands both toughness and skill. When representing Canada on the hockey pitch (not rink) you get to represent the best of both worlds. Off the pitch you get to be the friendly Canadian but when it comes to game time, you have the opportunity to embody the competitive toughness that is a huge part of the Canadian culture. I am proud to be a tough competitor but also an ambassador for our country off the pitch.
What do you value most in your friends?
Loyalty, patience, honesty, and a sense of adventure.
What are your hobbies?
Surfing, Hiking, Waterskiing, Music
What is your favourite quote or words to live by?
You know what you’re worth, now go out and get what you’re worth.
What is a healthy snack you eat before or after training sessions?
Do you have a favourite recipe, what is it?
A big smoothie with: strawberries, banana, mango, greek yogurt, flax, chia and peanut butter.