(ISN) – Vancouver, BC – After nearly two years as Women’s National Program Director and Head Coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team, Ian Rutledge has signed a contract extension that will keep him with Field Hockey Canada and the Women’s Program through August 2018.
“I have loved every minute of the experience so far,” says Rutledge, a former coach of the Australian Men’s and New Zealand Women’s National Teams. “It is an absolute pleasure to work with such a committed and dedicated group of athletes; every day I see them striving to be better and their improvement has been phenomenal.”
Since taking control of the Canadian Women’s National Team in March 2013, Rutledge has guided a group of young women who have improved in physical performance and technical ability, all while playing an increased schedule of international competition, which at the 2013 Pan American Cup, resulted in the Women’s National Team’s first medal (a bronze) in nearly a decade.
Additionally, Rutledge has implemented and overseen a model of high performance that has positioned the program well for the foreseeable future.
“With Ian’s tactful guidance and tenacious personality, a proud and united culture within the Women’s National Program exists,” says Jeff Sauvé, CEO of Field Hockey Canada. “On every metric, Ian has proven to be every bit the leader we hoped he would be when he was hired.”
After its win at World League 1 in September, the Women’s National Team has a busy and potentially historic year ahead as it looks to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I look at our group and their ability and their growth and I am excited by how good we can become over this period,” Rutledge adds. “We have an excellent core group of players, we have athletes knocking at the door and I am excited by the talent that I saw in our Under-16 group in November.”
“With hard work, purpose and belief, the sky is the limit.”
Later this month, Rutledge and the Women’s National Team are headed to New Zealand for training and test matches against the fourth-ranked Kiwis, before continuing their journey towards Olympic qualification in World League 2 in Dublin, Ireland in March.