Kaz Cuthbert steps down from Scotland duty after inspirational career
Western Wildcats player-coach Kaz Cuthbert has called time on a glittering international career which had spanned the best part of a decade.
Since making her Scotland debut in 2010, Kaz racked up 163 caps and scored 16 goals in a career which saw her represent Scotland at two Commonwealth Games, three European Championships and two EuroHockey Championships II competitions.
It began with a silver medal at her first tournament in Santiago, Chile, and ended with Kaz leading Scotland to a gold medal, and promotion to the top tier of European hockey, at Women’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow last year.
She reflected: “It started with a win and ended with an even better win.
“It was amazing to win a medal in my first tournament. I was buzzing to be selected and I learned so much from the experience. The team had such a high standard of Scottish players so it was intimidating to be stepping into the squad, but they were so supportive and this group gave me an insight into the professionalism and drive required to make it as an international player – these players are legends and it was such a great era to be part of.”
Kaz’s Scotland highlights have included a gold at the first EuroHockey Championship II in Poland in 2011 and the incredible experience of representing her country at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where she played in front of 20,000 fans and scored her first international goal in a win over Wales.
Agonisingly Kaz missed the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games through injury.
But she was back to captain her country at the 2018 Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
She said: “For a hockey player in Scotland who won’t make an Olympic team the Commonwealth Games is the biggest multi games event you can be part of. It’s such a huge honour and only comes around every four years, and being part of Team Scotland is a phenomenal experience.
“You step out of the hockey bubble and join a massive collection of the best athletes, coaches and support staff Scotland has to offer, it makes you feel so proud to be a part of.”
And there was a second chance for international glory in Glasgow last year when the National Hockey Centre hosted the EuroHockey Championship II - with Kaz finishing her Scotland career by leading the Scots to gold.
She said: “I missed out on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games so for me the Euros was my home games.
“It was amazing to play in front of all my family and friends who have been there throughout my whole journey, they finally got the opportunity to see up close what hockey is all about. With the confidence from the coaching staff and the talented pool of players we had, there was no doubt in my mind we were bringing home anything less than the gold medal.
“Hockey has given me an extended family, friends for life and memories that will last a lifetime.
“I want to thank my closest friends and family, but most importantly I want to thank the teams I have played with – without them I am nothing.”
Scotland women’s head coach Jen Wilson said: “Kaz can be very proud of everything she has achieved and certainly look back with no regrets at all. She has epitomised hard work, passion and dedication with an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Kaz was also always striving for more and wanted to take everyone on that journey.
“An incredible leader both on and off the field and thoroughly deserved to lift the EuroHockey trophy on behalf of the squad last year. Great leaders inspire others to achieve great things and Kaz was certainly a catalyst to this success.
“There’s been many classy goals, like the Kaz corner, some world class passes and some important tackles ingrained in our memories and although Kaz’s international playing career has come to a close we all look forward to seeing her pitch side cheering on Scotland on many more occasions in the future.”