Olympic gold medalist Maddie Hinch and two-time hockey Olympian Dan Fox have won the prestigious UK player of the year awards chosen by members of the Hockey Writers’ Club.
The gongs were made at the annual awards presentation lunch on Wednesday January 25 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.
Goalkeeper Hinch took a star role in Great Britain’s gold medal win in Rio denying all four of the Netherlands goal attempts in the shootout that decided the final after a 3-3 draw in normal time.
The 28-year-old was the clear winner in the poll of club members, ahead of fellow gold medalists, retiring GB captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and fellow defender Hollie Webb, who scored the decisive shootout goal in the medal match.
Hinch takes the award for the second consecutive year, having caught the eye of the voters with a similarly stunning shootout win for England over the Dutch in the final of the 2015 European championships at the Olympic Park in London – a result that qualified Great Britain for the Rio Olympic Games.
She currently plays for SCHC in the Dutch league, but played for Kent Club Holcombe in the 2015-16 season. Hinch also won the award in 2013.
She said: “It is a great honour to pick up this award which is made extra special off the back of so many strong individual performances in Rio.
“It has been such a massive year for the team and there have been so many outstanding performances in the squad, for the Hockey Writers’ Club to vote for me out of everyone who did so well makes it more special than ever.
“It has been an incredible year for the team and for the sport in general. As a group, we knew we had the potential to beat anyone in the world. It was just a case of getting it all together at the right time – and Rio was the stage where it happened. We just put ourselves in our own little bubble over there, focused on ourselves and took it game-by-game. And it really worked.
“The reaction has been amazing. I have met hardly anyone who didn’t watch the final. After what was the most successful Team GB performance ever, for people to be picking out the hockey as the highlight of the Games is what we dream of as a group. We are just so pleased to inspire so many people to want to play the sport.”