Gonzalo Peillat served notice of the explosive goalscoring power he can bring to the Euro Hockey League in 2017 following an incredible 2016 with Argentina and his new club Mannheimer HC.
Following his gold medal in Rio, Peillat took little time to settle in with the German club following his summer move from HGC in the Netherlands, scoring 20 goals in 11 games to date.
Combined with his 11 goals in the Olympics, it played a part in him being named as one of the five nominees on the shortlist for the FIH Player of the Year.
Speaking to the EHL website about being on the shortlist, Peillat said: “It is an honour to be nominated and really special moment in my career. It has been an amazing year for Argentinian hockey.
“For the last few years, hockey in our country has grown a lot and, now ,with the help for us winning the gold medal it is really popular and stronger. We won the first Olympic gold medal in the history of our sport. It is a dream came true.”
Just a few weeks after the Olympics, he started life in Mannheim and he is really enjoying life in the Bundesliga.
“I think it was a really good decision,” he said. “As a defender, I can improve a lot in my game in an extremely good and structured league. I have enjoyed it a lot so far and also learned to play a completely different way of hockey.
“In the Netherlands, we used to play more zonal and they are more central in the attacks. It is a really nice style of hockey, more vertical with a lot of counter attacks. In Germany, almost every team plays man to man. The game is 100% tactics, structure and control of the ball.”
Mannheim ended the first half of the season in fourth place and in great contention to return to the final four playoffs and Peillat is content with how the side has gelled in the initial phases of the season.
“From my point of view, we had a great start. We are in the top four which is very important but, also, we are a team that has made a lot of changes from last year. I think in the next part of the season we are going to be better adapted to our system and our tactics are going to work better to finish as high as we can.”
The second half of the season also features a date with Club Egara in the EHL KO16 with either UHC Hamburg or Wimbledon potentially waiting in the KO8 stage.
For now, Peillat has taken a quick break from hockey to travel before returning to Argentina but he will not be away from a field for too long.
“Since we finished on November 4, I decided to have a break after such long and stressful year without a break after the Olympics. It is difficult for me to not play hockey for a while so I’m going to train in Argentina in my home club. I want to arrive in a good level of hockey for my second half of the season in Mannheim!”
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