Updated: Nov 28, 2021
This award celebrates the player who has contributed most to ABC Hockey, and this year's recipient has won the award for the second year in a row following Karen Porteous in the 2000s and Shane McLeod in the 1990s.
Congratulations to Hope. She writes below:
ABC Hockey Experience
Firstly, I just want to thank ABC Hockey for this award. What an honour!
I started playing for ABC Hockey when I moved up to Auckland back in 2018. We were finishing outside the Intercity top 6 at the time. The bees have come a long way since my club debut, making back-to-back intercity finals in the last two years. I have loved my journey with the bees so far, I have got to play some good quality hockey alongside my friends and had so much fun doing so. The coaches at ABC Hockey have built a strong team culture by increasing engagement with players and allowing them to share their ideas, always thinking the best of them and pushing them to succeed.
ABC Hockey is a down to earth but competitive club. My favourite thing about my team is that we always play for each other and that the team always comes first! I recall a number of us being unable to play club for a period of time due to Black Sticks commitments. Our coach Paul started all of us on the bench in the first game we were allowed back to play. That was the best decision he could have made for the team. At ABC Hockey, every player is considered equal.
Two of my most memorable highlights at the club was last year's Intercity final. The team put everything on the line and it was definitely one of the best games we’ve ever played. The other was being able to play alongside my sister India.
I debuted for the Black Sticks February 2020, and since then it has been an amazing experience being able to play alongside world class players, facing off against the best in the world in the Pro league and at the Tokyo Olympics. My biggest highlight from Tokyo was to be a part of the team's 3-0 victory over Argentina, the world's number two. A massive thank you to my ABC Hockey family for all the support over there!
I've learnt a lot about myself mentally and physically in the short time I've been in the programme; you can do anything if you work hard for it; nothing is impossible. I've enjoyed playing at the top level and have absorbed so much already; I love the process and challenge.
Over the years I have had many coaches and teams that have helped get me to where I am today, including the club coaches. A bit of advice that has always stuck with me was from Kayla Whitelock. I remember her saying if you keep mis-trapping the ball and making mistakes in a game (you’re just having a bad day) you can always run! Now, when I’m having a ‘bad’ game, I turn it around by doing the things I can control, like hassling the opposition, creating turnovers, and always working hard. You can always have a positive impact during a game.
A huge thank you to Paul McGoon, Erin Weber-Benning, Naveena Heera and James Coughlan for all your help over the years and for always enabling me to play with flair and creativity. Lastly, thank you to the club and sponsors for all your support, it is greatly appreciated!
Life outside hockey
Earlier this year I graduated with a Bachelor in Sport and Recreation, majoring in Sport Management at AUT. In 2022 I will be working part-time whilst still training. I enjoy spending time with my partner and friends, going to the beach, and doing Pilates and home workouts in my spare time.