PHOTO: Women’s National Team defender Danielle Hennig poses for a photo with students from Te Mata School before the Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand.
The tournament has yet to begin, but the Canadian women’s field hockey team is already making headlines in New Zealand ahead of the 2016 Hawke’s Bay Cup.
With its ties to New Zealand and its affinity for the area, the team has been featured in local media ahead of the tournament.
One of the storylines is Canada’s continued rise among the field hockey ranks.
For veteran Thea Culley, who was inspired to play the sport by a Kiwi ex-pat in her hometown of Rossland, British Columbia, it is an honour to be a part of the Hawke’s Bay Cup, which begins Saturday in New Zealand (Friday 1pm PT/4pm ET in Canada) for the Canadians when they face Korea.
A main reason Canada continues to visit the area at this time of year is a combination of the good weather and the good hockey. But what may have a hand in facilitating the good relationship between the two nations is Canadian coach Ian Rutledge.
Whenever Canada visits New Zealand, it’s always a sort of a coming home party for Rutledge.
A native Australian, Rutledge used to be at the helm of the Blacksticks women’s program. He is proud to see some of his former players become a big part of the Blacksticks today, and his current Canadian players giving them a run for their money.
The Hawke’s Bay Cup is a thrill for the local community, as they get to see and meet many of the world’s best athletes. But the thrill is mutual.
The Canadian team visited a local school – Te Mata School – to share in some jokes and experience some of the local culture – including learning the Haka.