Posted by: Sue Neill
Sometimes it is surprising to learn who lives or has lived in Old Ottawa South! How many OSCAR readers know about field hockey player, Rowan Harris?
Rowan is the goalkeeper of the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team and she grew up right here in Old Ottawa South. In fact, her parents, Colin Harris and Janet Chow still live here on Aylmer Avenue. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Rowan and her family while at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile where Rowan was playing in goal for Canada’s Pan Am Team.
Field hockey is not the game it used to be. It is now played at top speed on an artificial turf surface with very few stoppages. The Goalkeeper is key to the success of the team – whether it be in stopping hard-hit high-speed shots on goal, maintaining focus to prevent a goal from a mad scramble in front of the net, directing traffic in the backfield or defending the goal in a one-on-one shoot-out in the case of a tied game. Goalkeeping requires an incredible knowledge of the game, courage, focus, anticipation and leadership among other traits. Rowan has all of these and more.
After being introduced to the game at Glebe Collegiate where she was coached by her father Colin, Rowan played for the Outaouais Field Hockey Club in Ottawa, then the Ontario Team, based in Toronto. The Canadian team is based primarily in Vancouver and in 2016 Rowan realized that in order to reach the level of expertise needed for international level play, she would have to leave Old Ottawa South and move to Vancouver – a big move and a big commitment for a young person! Fortunately for Rowan and for the family, Rowan’s grandmother lived in Vancouver and provided Rowan with a safe and comfortable place to live. Once in Vancouver and enrolled in the biology program at the University of British Columbia, Rowan played in nets for UBC for five years. At the same time, she was training with the National Squad and beginning her career as a Goalkeeper for Canada.
Rowan has been on the Senior National Team since 2016, playing both indoor and outdoor field hockey. She has worn the pads, kickers and face mask for Canada 65 times so far in her career. Her most recent competition as a Canadian Team member was the Pan American Games in Santiago Chile in November 2023 where the team finished fourth. Prior to that, Rowan has represented Canada in other top level international competitions – the FIH (Fédération Internationale de Hockey) Indoor World Cup in South Africa in 2023, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England in 2022, the FIH World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands in 2022 and the Pan Am Cup also in Santiago in 2022.
So, what’s next for Rowan Harris? The Canadian Team, with Rowan in goal, will compete in the Olympic Qualification tournament in Valencia, Spain, January 13-24, 2024. That will determine if the Canadian women’s team will be one of the 12 teams participating in the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
So, congratulations to Rowan Harris on your field hockey career this far! Residents of Old Ottawa South will be cheering for you and your team-mates as you take on your next challenge to qualify for the Paris Olympics!
Sue Neill lives in Old Ottawa South.
Featured in the January 2024 OSCAR.