Canadian fans were puzzled to see the astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and a musician, wear a Canadian team jacket and sing ‘O Canada” before the kick-off against Belgium.
It was the coach John Herdman’s idea to invite the astronaut to the Canadian camp for extra motivation.
Herdman met Hadfield in 2013 during a speaking convention.
“I was told ‘You’ve got to listen to this guy because he’s the best in the business,”’ Herdman said. “And I thought I was at least a half-decent motivational speaker and then I watch him onstage playing a guitar and singing. Man, he can do it all.
“But he said some things that really resonated with me at the time. A few pennies dropped around his story the nine-year-old kid that dreamed of walking in space. And then how deliberate he was to go on that journey. I wanted a pioneer in that (dressing) room, a true pioneer,” he told reporters in Qatar.
“Hadfield “represented his country in a fighter jet,” Herdman said. “So he knows what it means to represent his country. He knows what it means to put his body on the line, to put it all on the line. And I told the lads I want people like that in this room. But I didn’t bring him here for that. I brought him here to share his pioneering story of being that man that did what he did. And it was brilliant. He’s just an amazing, amazing human being.”
The players were suitably impressed. ““That was a special moment for all of us,” Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson said. “Just basically him taking us through what it took for him to be in the right mind frame to go and do what he did. Everything he spoke about was exactly what we were going through, so we could relate to it so much. I don’t think there’s any better person that could have been in that room (Wednesday) to get us prepared for that game Amazing. Just to hear the journey that he had gone though was really cool.”
Hadfield CV boasts of the Order of Canada, Meritorious Service Cross and NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.
Will he be called again before Canada’s game against Croatia, which has been spiced up a lot of Canadian coach’s “we will eff em” comment, which obviously didn’t go too well in Croatia. A Croatian tabloid mocked the Hadfiled with a naked image.