Field Hockey Canada > Ross Rutledge Remembered

Ross Rutledge Remembered

October 5, 2011 | Field Hockey Canada |

Hundreds of field hockey fans gathered in West Vancouver on Saturday to celebrate the official opening of Rutledge Field.  The field is named in honour of Ross Rutledge, a former member of the Men’s National Field Hockey Team.  Rutledge was dedicated to the field hockey community as an athlete, coach and inspiration.  He passed away in April 2004 at the age of 41 following a bout with cancer, leaving a wife and two sons. 

Ross’ sons, Nick and Connor, had the honour of leading the Australian and Canadian National Teams onto the field for their match. After the national anthems, Nick and Connor were presented with national team jerseys by Canadian Captain Ken Pereira and the Captain for Australia. 

“Ross was always about winning, expecting to win and inspiring his mates to be confident that anything could be done,” said former National Coach and Teammate Alan Brahmst.  “He did this in a unique way, his way, and it worked on a lot of the younger guys – the next generation. Part of Ross’ influence on younger players, like myself, was such that you expected to win, no matter who the opposition.”

Steve Davis was one of those younger guys inspired by Ross:  “Ross had this unmistakable magnetic energy that made everyone around him smile, and want to be around him.  With his trademark baby-blue Mustang 5.0 and Oakley blades (and Starbucks coffee), to me he was the first person to add “cool” to a sport totally lacking in “cool.” He was the guy that all of the juniors in the club looked-up to, and he always had time for the kids, whether it was showing them a new trick or playing with them.” 

Ian Baggott and Ross were involved with their club’s junior boys program, and both had a vision for a premier field hockey facility.

“Over the many years that Ross and I worked together, Ross’ opening remarks were always prefaced by, “Well, Ian mate, how’s that new field coming along?”  Well, I can now confidently reply, “Ross, mate, it’s finally finished and ready.” 

Not only is it ready, Rutledge Field is now one of the best (and most beautiful) turfs in Canada.  It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, just one block from the beach.  




Press Release from West Vancouver: 

West Vancouver, BC: The Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia and District of West Vancouver, in partnership with two local sports teams clubs – West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and West Vancouver Soccer Club – have successfully completed the construction on the North Shore’s first-ever artificial turf field for field hockey.

Construction of the Rutledge Artificial Turf Field was made possible by a $3 million contribution by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component. The District of West Vancouver contributed $760,000, and the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and West Vancouver Soccer Club raised close to $1 million for this $4.5 million project and future amenity improvements.

“The North Shore soccer and field hockey programs are exemplary in the way they promote health, fitness, and team play, on the strength of a renowned volunteer force,” said John Weston, MP for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “I am delighted that our Government acknowledged these strengths in investing in Rutledge Field, while creating jobs and economic opportunities in our community.”

“This community investment in fitness is every bit as valuable as a direct investment in health care, and with close to 30 jobs created, this project is also a good investment in our local economy,” said Ralph Sultan, MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano.

In 2009, the gravel field near the corner of 13th Street and Marine Drive was selected as the location to build an artificial turf playing surface designed for field hockey and useable by soccer and other field sports.  Construction on the field – formerly known as Ambleside “A” and now known as Rutledge Field in honour the late Ross Rutledge’s contribution to field hockey on the North Shore – began in June 2010 and will be completed in September 2011.  More than just a playing field however, Rutledge Field is also an incredible example of the power of community partnerships.

Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones says: “Rutledge Field is an outstanding achievement, led by West Van Field Hockey and West Van Soccer.  All ages are either playing on these fields, or passing by daily.  Congratulations on the vision of all of those who have contributed so much, for so long, to make this happen.”

In addition to a new artificial turf field, this project included a complete renovation to the fieldhouse, including a new roof, improved public washrooms and change rooms, as well as upgraded ventilation, plumbing and electrical systems, two new warm-up areas for field hockey and soccer, and increased parking. These improvements play an important role in supporting a healthy lifestyle and making sport accessible to athletes of all ages.

President of the West Vancouver Field Hockey Facilities Society, Patricia Macleod says, “This is the realization of a 20-year dream for the club. It’s the first field hockey pitch on the North Shore, home to North America’slargest field hockey community. Thanks to all of our donors and volunteers, players of all ages and abilities will be playing on Rutledge Field for many years to come.”

About West Vancouver Field Hockey Club 
Since the early 1970s, WVFHC has been the home club for field hockey players across the North Shore. The WVFHC consists of four independent but related divisions: Junior, Womens, Mens and Adanacs player development, with an overallmembership of approximately 2,500 from West Vancouver and North Vancouver. For more information on the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club, please visit