Taylor Curran (left), Gordon Johnston (centre) and Keegan Pereira (right)

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s field hockey program continues to leave its mark on the international stage as five team members are either playing professionally right now or will be suiting up for a pro club in the fall.
 
“This is a significant recognition by the hockey clubs around the world that UBC has developed and produced world-class athletes,” said UBC head coach Shiaz Virjee. “These clubs want the top athletes and I am delighted to see so many recruited.”
 
Defender Arif Virjee and forward Oliver Scholfield are both plying their trade Down Under and will return to UBC in time for the fall season.
 
Since the end of April, Virjee has been with the Roskill Eden Hockey Club in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been learning from the team’s head coach James Grant, who’s the assistant for the New Zealand national team, known as the Black Sticks. Virjee has just been named to the Auckland NHL squad alongside greats such as five-time FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer of Australia, who also just won the World Cup in the Hague last week.
 
Scholfield is in Melbourne, Australia playing for the Waverley Hockey Club coached by Adrian Kucyk. The Canadian Under-21 international scored his first goal for the club earlier this week.
 
Three other T-Birds have signed contracts with teams in Belgium and their seasons will begin in September.
 
Forwards Gordon Johnston and Keegan Pereira will both suit up for Royal Wellington, a club based in the Belgian capital of Brussels. Their coach will be former Great Britain Olympian Lisa Letchford.
 
Midfielder Taylor Curran is under contract with Royal Antwerp Hockey Club in Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium. Anthony Potter is the coach at RAHC.
 
As they hone their games with their respective Belgian squads, Curran, Johnston and Pereira will not play for UBC this upcoming school year.
 
“We will miss them for the season but it will give other athletes an opportunity to play key roles in our team,” said Virjee, whose Thunderbirds are the defending Vancouver Men’s Field Hockey League champions, an honour they won in March.
 

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