On March 25th, 2021, Sport BC hosted virtually its 54th Annual Athlete of the Year Award, and Field Hockey BC is proud to celebrate two members of our community who were recognized during the ceremony. Scott Tupper won Male Athlete of the Year, and John McBryde was among the recipients of the Presidents’ Awards, given to volunteers who demonstrate the spirit of volunteerism through their dedication and commitment given to sport.
Scott Tupper – Male Athlete of the Year
The Man’s National Team had a great 2019 season that surely played into Tupper’s being chosen as Male Athlete of the Year. As captain, he played a leading role in the FIH Series win in Malaysia, and again in the victory against Ireland at the Olympic Qualifier, which gained Canada a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
“Any time you receive an individual award, it’s usually indicative of some team success (…) having played a role on those, I think that contributed to my nomination”, Scott says. “It’s always nice to get recognition, both personally and for our team. I’m flattered to have been chosen, and am happy that it shines a light on the field hockey community as well.”
Tupper expects that one of the positive impacts of such an award is encouraging more kids to choose field hockey as their sport. To those who aspire to reach the National Team one day, his message is simple: “Enjoy playing the game, try to watch as much high level hockey as you can, and spend time on the turf!”
Currently coaching at the collegiate level in the United States, Scott is looking forward to continuing on this path in the upcoming years, once his playing career reaches an end. “I love coaching the game and am excited to continue in the sport, albeit in a slightly different role. I imagine I’ll remain closely connected to Canadian hockey and look forward to helping out in whatever capacity I can, both provincially and nationally.”
For now, he and his teammates are looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics in July. “I expect us to be competitive with everyone in our pool and to make everyone at home proud of our performance”. The competition was postponed from last year, and it will be a tough return to competing at the top level after such a long break. The 12 teams are divided in two groups; Canada is group B and will face Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands and South Africa. The top four of each group will move on to the Knockout Stage.
John McBryde – President’s Awards recipient
Having enjoyed over 70 years of participation in field hockey, John McBryde was recognized by Sport BC for his volunteer work with the Vancouver Hawks Field Hockey Club. “I was honoured to accept (the award) on behalf of the myriad of volunteers, those unsung heroes, who devote their time and energy with great dedication for the world-wide amateur sport of Field Hockey.”
Born in Maryborough, Australia, McBryde played for the Australian National Team in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, winning the bronze medal in Tokyo. He moved to Canada in the late 60s to coach the Canadian Men’s National Team, and has remained dedicated to the development of field hockey in our community.
John says that simply to witness the enthusiasm and degree of enjoyment of the players is an intrinsic reward of volunteering, be it as a coach, umpire, administrator, or assisting in the organization of tournaments. “A second and higher degree of even greater satisfaction, is to see those players 10, 20 or 30 years later giving back to the game through their own dedication… for the benefit of future generations.”
As a volunteer, it is important to ensure the safety of players and, within one’s capabilities, to provide the highest degree or rewarding experiences, while “at the same time, inculcating a keen sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship”, he adds. “If, in doing so, one inspires players with an ethos to “give back” to the game when their turn comes, that is an added bonus.”
FHBC asked John to share a memorable moment of his volunteering experience. Here is the story, as told by McBryde himself:
“There have been many! But one particular incident which stands out pertains to a period spanning about a decade many years ago when I coached Vancouver Hawks Under-21 Teams in a BC Junior League of six Club Teams. After playing a 10-week season comprising two round-robins of weekly matches, the season culminated in a BC Championship.
It had always be my policy to promise the players who had committed themselves to attend weekly practice sessions and match competition, that no matter how important a particular match might be, I assured them that all players would get equitable pitch-time irrespective of ability. The players themselves bought into this policy.
In the first few years, whilst performing creditably, the Hawks Team did not make it through to the BC Finals. but then one season, for the first time, the Team qualified for the Finals. It was against a very strong team whose coach had a policy of playing his top team throughout in the Finals, meaning that 3-4 players in his roster sat on the sideline for the duration of the game. Our opposition won a well-contested Final match by a comfortable margin.
The following season was a repeat scenario. For the second consecutive year, our two teams met in the BC Finals; again with the same respective policies of player participation. The Final was a cracking tightly contested match.
With just minutes left to play in regular time, the score stood at 2-2. At that stage of the game, it happened that our weakest player was on the pitch for his shift, playing in a strike forward position. Hawks was enduring a period of sustained pressure before emerging out of defense with a counter-attack in which our weakest player ended up with the ball just inside the opposition circle. His somewhat unorthodox shot beat the Goal Keeper and suddenly the ball was in the back of the net. With just moments left in the game, that proved to be the winning goal. I have seldom witnessed the pride and joy which our team derived from that famous victory!”