Field Hockey Canada > Stairs' scoring prowess a key to Women's National Team success

In hockey, there’s nothing quite like scoring goals. 

The build-up, the anticipation, the adrenaline, the key moment of execution, and the resulting the euphoria, it doesn’t compare to anything else in the game.

But you would think for someone who scores as much as Canadian Women’s National Field Hockey Team forward Brienne Stairs it might get old.

Think again.

“It feels so good,” says the twenty-five year-old native of Kitchener, Ontario. “When we play at those multisport events like the Commonwealth and Pan Am Games, it (scoring) is an amazing feeling.”

Stairs is coming off a monumental year with the Women’s National Team during which she scored twelve times to lead the team and was among the top ten goal scorers worldwide.

Having scored six goals in her first major tournament with the Women’s National team at the 2011 Pan American Games in Gudalajara, Mexico, filling the back of the net is something she’s gotten used to.

But it’s not something she takes for granted.

“You’ve got to want it, that’s for sure,” she says, as the Women’s National Team prepares to begin World League Round 2 in Dublin, Ireland this weekend.

“I definitely think it’s a team effort,” she humbly adds about her goal-scoring prowess. “Most of my goals are scored in close so it’s mostly those last touches. So everyone pretty much is doing the hard work for me and I’m just in the right position.”

That’s one way of looking at it. The other would be that Stairs has made herself into one of the world’s biggest threats offensively against many odds. 

Coming from an ice hockey background and only taking up the sport of field hockey late in high school, Stairs’ style has been dubbed as different. But it’s anything but ineffective.

“It’s pretty special to watch her in full flight,” says Women’s National Team head coach Ian Rutledge. “I’m sure it has got a lot to do with her ice hockey background, which makes her somewhat unorthodox as a striker in the traditional sense of the word.”

She has excelled in a variety of sports including basketball, baseball, tennis and swimming, before making field hockey her priority.

The second oldest of four sisters and one of six siblings, Stairs will likely have a chance to play in front of family and friends this summer in Toronto at the Pan American Games, where – if Canada has not already done so through the World League tournament – the Women’s National Team will be attempting to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games by winning gold.

If they’re able to reach the top of the podium, you can count on Stairs having a big hand in getting them there.

Brienne Stairs - 2014 Commonwealth Games

“I want to top what I did last year so there is a bit of pressure,” she says. “It’s going to be amazing to have home field advantage.”

Home turf or not, Stairs has proven that she’s a threat anywhere she plays. And having not missed a match for the last two years, her durability is as impressive as her finesse, that combined with her relatively young age makes her a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future.

“I just hope she realizes how good she could be,” says Rutledge. “She’s doing really well and she has room for growth. It’s quite scary to think how good she could be if she continues on the same trajectory.”

Canada opens World League Round 2 against Turkey on Saturday, March 14 before facing host Ireland on Sunday.

The top two finishers at World League 2 gain an entry into World League Round 3 in Spain in June, where the top three teams will earn a spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Cick here for Canada’s World League 2 schedule and results.