Field Hockey: Culley scores top award

Rossland native Thea Culley was honoured last week with the Top Goal Scorer award for the Women’s National Field Hockey team.

Rossland native Thea Culley was honoured last week with the Top Goal Scorer award for the Women’s National Field Hockey team at Field Hockey Canada’s awards event in Vancouver.

The veteran Culley generated ample offence from her forward position scoring eight goals on the season, was co-captain for the National Team and a leader both on and off the field. The Rossland Secondary School graduate has played more matches, 145 Caps, than any other member, and, in 2015, she led Team Canada to a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, its first since 1999, and a berth in the World League Semifinal in Valencia, Spain.

“I was pretty shocked to win the award which is really funny because it is the only award that can be worked out ahead of time,” Culley said in an email to the Times.

The 30-year-old was named to Team Canada again this year, and will begin the season with a trip to New Zealand where the team will compete in the Hawke’s Bay Cup from Apr. 2-10.

The eight-team tournament features five of the top women’s field hockey teams in the world: Australia (World No.3), New Zealand (No.4), China (No.5), Korea (No.9), and Japan (No.10). India (No.13), Ireland (No.15), and Canada (No.19) round out the eight.

“Besides us and Ireland, all the other teams competing there are going to the 2016 Olympics so it should be a really fantastic experience playing such high caliber teams all in succession.”

Prior to the Hawke’s Bay tournament, the Canadian women will play two test matches against the New Zealand Blacksticks women Mar. 27-28.

Brienne Stairs was named MVP of the women’s team, while David Carter took MVP honours for the men, and Stephanie Norlander claimed Junior Player of the Year award as well as sharing top goal scorer with Culley.