For a country that has around 300 men and boys to choose from for its national hockey squad, three of them have been playing in the English Premier Division this season for East Grinstead.
Jamie Wallace, 22, joined the West Sussex side from Almere in the Dutch Hoofdklasse, a side he joined during Covid before deciding to seek options in the UK due to his growing stature in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Wallace was joined by Fin boothroyd and Balraj Panesar in the East Grinstead men’s squad this season, the club performing remarkably in the back end of the first half of the season to secure a top 6 berth before enduring a tough campaign mixing with England’s elite clubs.
Wallace, the Tokyo Olympian, says that playing in the UK suited his work-life balance as he decided not to pursue further interests in Holland and Germany.
“It’s a lot more of a commitment there and to balance a pretty intense job on the side and so I reached out to East Grinstead,” he says. “The UK provided me with the balance and it was a natural fit.
“EG were able to accommodate all three of us. We liked the vision and history of the club and when I started watching high level hockey, EG were part of that and so it was great to go full circle.”
Still only 22, Wallace was running his own blockchain, crypto consultancy firm before selling off the company and working in the venture capitalist space anwith a leading gaming fund where he invests into areas such as web 3.0 gaming. “It has been super busy and we only have four people. It’s busy times,” he says.
Wallace stepped away from the national team after Tokyo 2020 and hopes to build upon his blockchain career working for a big fund and hopes to be at East Grinstead next season. It follows a hectic 2021 and “the stresses around selection for Tokyo 2020.”
“We probably didn’t have the best preparation and leading up to the Games we spent a month in quarantine,” he adds. “It was a great experience but a disappointing set of results. We didn’t show the world how good Canada is and sometimes you don’t get the performances you want. We will certainly look to avenge that hopefully in Paris.”
Still, the fact that Canada qualify for World Cups and Olympics with the limited talent pool available to them continues to be a huge result for the national side.
“It’s pretty impressive,” says Wallace. “Realistically, we have 300 men and boys who are in the age range of being selected for Canada.
“We have good support and structure, but it hasn’t always been that way. It’s been crazy how a small group can consistently qualify for major tournaments and punch well above their weight with the resources we have.
“We have a lot of pride and to be able to play against teams with amazing leagues, means we are super proud to be able to fight on the big stage and shows the character of the group.”