VALENCIA, Spain — Canada’s women’s field hockey team advanced to the next stage of Olympic qualification with a 7-0 win over Italy on Wednesday in the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Series Finals.
Karli Johansen and Rachel Donohoe scored two goals apiece for the Canadians, while Sara McManus, Brienne Stairs and Hannah Haughn also scored.
Canadian goaltenders Kaitlyn Williams and Lauren Logush combined for the clean sheet.
Canada, under South African coach Giles Bonnet, will face either host Spain or South Africa in Thursday’s final.
Canada’s women have sat out the last six Olympics, last competing in 1992 when they finished seventh in Barcelona.
Canada will now participate in an Olympic qualification playoff later this year, almost certainly in hostile territory.
The winner of the Pan American Games, which open on July 26 in Lima, will also head to the 2020 Tokyo Games. But that competition features No. 4 Argentina, the 12th-ranked Americans and No. 16 Chile.
The loss of Own The Podium funding plus Field Hockey Canada’s financial problems meant the Canadian women had to turn to a crowdfunding campaign to get to Spain. The fundraising produced some $81,000.
A private donor paid for the team’s week-long camp in Victoria ahead of the Spain tournament.
The Canadian men, ranked 10th in the world, are heading to their own playoff after winning the FIH Series Finals in May with a 3-2 victory over host Malaysia, ranked 13th. They can also qualify via the Pan American Games, although Olympic champion Argentina, currently ranked fourth, stands in their way.
Own The Podium money helped pay for the men’s trip to Malaysia.
The men will play host to their playoff qualifier, likely against a team ranked 14th through 16th, at their West Vancouver, B.C., training base.