Scottish Hockey women’s team captain Kareena “Kaz” Cuthbert is sponsored by ACT (UK) Construction Ltd. We asked her about her love of the sport.
Kaz started playing hockey at the age of seven for Greenock Hockey Club. She enjoyed all kinds of sports as a child but it was the team aspect of hockey that ignited a life-long passion.
She attended the Glasgow School of Sport at Bellahouston Academy as a way to develop her sport.
Hockey is in the family. Kaz’s mum used to play for England at hockey and her brother, William, is in the current Scottish national team and recently received his 150th cap for Scotland.
Playing for Scotland
Kaz, 30, plays centre defence, a position she enjoys because “I can see everything that’s going on”. She adds: “One of my biggest strengths is my communication so it helps that I can get a clear picture in front of me.”
The dream for Kaz would be to play as a full-time professional but many Scottish hockey players are unable to manage this financially. The ACT sponsorship allows her to train full-time for three months each year and especially in the period leading up to important tournaments.
She says: “I am very grateful to ACT for giving me the funds through sponsorship to be able to focus full time in the lead up to important matches and tournaments.
“It allows me to have the financial ability to train full time and not to worry about earning from other places. Without this it would be very difficult to be able to focus properly and become fit enough for these tournaments.
“In other countries, the players are full-time but this is not the case in Britain in hockey unless they are self-supporting.”
Competing for Scotland
Kaz, who has been the captain of the Scottish Hockey’s women team since 2016, competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and also in the European Championships 2013/15 when the team finished sixth. She was also proud to play in the World League Semi Finals this summer.
Looking towards next year, there will be two main events for Kaz and the team: The European Championships in August and the Commonwealth Games 2018.
Kaz says it will be an exciting year but there will be challenges. “The demands of maintaining my physical health never reduce and it is not always that easy to balance my day-time job, my personal life and my sport.”
Local hockey, work and life
Aside from her Scottish Hockey commitments, Kaz, of Cardonald in Glasgow, works as a physiotherapist and is a coach with the Western Wildcats Hockey Club in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire.
She has been with the Wildcats for four seasons after she was approached by the club to develop the women’s first team.
Kaz says: “I love the set up at the Wildcats and the atmosphere of the club. It’s one of the oldest clubs around because the members buy into the club and together they keep it moving forwards. There’s a real sense of pride in the club.
“In four seasons, we have gone from relegation play offs the first year to finishing twice in the top four and qualifying for European playoffs. We are now a women’s section to be reckoned with.”
We will also be talking to another ACT sponsored athlete, Robyn Collins.