hockey players in a huddle shouting encouragement

In focus: Loughborough Hockey on the global stage

Loughborough Hockey is synonymous with success on the world’s sporting stage. Over the years, many Loughborough students and alumni have played for their national team, securing in some cases, historical success.

This summer, in Paris, 20% of the women representing Great Britain for woman’s hockey are alumnae of Loughborough University. There will also be a Loughborough presence in the men’s team as well. Here, we look back at and celebrate the University’s continuous success in the sport and share details of the Loughborough team members that will be going for Gold this summer.

An environment for success

Part of the reason Loughborough has such a strong presence in the sport, is down to the incredible training environment offered to students here on campus.

Previously describe as being like an international programme, players have access to a psychologist, strength and conditioning coaches, a physiotherapist, and a nutritionist, as well as Performance Analysis and lifestyle support coaches.

Our teams play at the top levels of league hockey, meaning players have incredible competitive opportunities to play as well.  

All of this combined, makes the transition from Loughborough to Team GB seamless.

Loughborough in Paris

No less than seven current Loughborough students and alumni will play hockey for Great Britain in Paris this summer.

Sam Ward, who used to play hockey for Loughborough students, and James Mazarelo, a current student studying for a Sport Management, Politics and International Development master's degree here on campus, will travel to Paris with Great Britain’s Men’s hockey team.

Both players were part of Great Britain’s Bronze medal winning team at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

On the sidelines, Loughborough will have further representation with alumnus Zak Jones appointed as Assistant Coach, former University staff member Danny Crowther selected as Performance Analyst, and Paul Gannon named GB Men’s Manager. Paul was previously employed as the Loughborough Women’s Manager.

For the women, some familiar faces will be returning to build on their success as Olympians.

The team will include:

Giselle Ansley MBE, who was part of the team that won gold in Rio and bronze in Tokyo. Giselle is an alumna of Loughborough University, after graduating in 2014 with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. She was also awarded an Honorary Degree in 2018. Hockey isn’t her only talent, she is a highly talented cricketer who loves to kayak whenever she gets the time and runs her own baking business.

Sarah Jones, is an alumna who graduated from Loughborough with a BSc in Geography and Sport Management in 2011. Sarah was part of the team that won bronze in Tokyo. When she started at Loughborough, Sarah tried out for both the football and hockey teams and got into the football second team, and the hockey third team. She chose hockey after going on a social night out!

Izzy Petter, is a current Loughborough student studying Geography and Sport Science. She was one of the first ever current students to be called up as an Olympian, ahead of the games in Tokyo. She helped the team to a bronze medal finish, securing her first major medal of her senior career.

Charlotte Watson, born and raised in Dundee, Scotland, Charlotte graduated from Loughborough in 2022 with a degree in BSc Accounting and Financial Management. She played a key role in Scotland’s 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign and is set to make her Olympic debut in Paris this summer.

Miriam Pritchard, is an alumna that graduated from Loughborough with a BA in Graphic Communication and Illustration in 2021. She made her international debut in 2017, but this will be her first run out as an Olympian. In addition to her hockey skills, Miriam is also an award-winning illustrator and has self-published her own children's book.

Laura Roper MBE, formerly Laura Unsworth, graduated from Loughborough in 2013 with a BSc in Accounting and Financial Management. Laura was part of the Bronze medal winning teams in both London and Tokyo, as well as the historical gold in Rio. Statistically, she is the greatest hockey Olympian ever produced in Great Britain, as the first player to win medals at three different Games.

Hopefully guiding the women’s team to success, will be another Loughborough alumnus, head coach of the Great Britain and England women's hockey teams, David Ralph. He graduated from Loughborough in 1997 with a BSc Physical Education and Sports Science and previously coached Loughborough Students. A hockey player himself, Ralph played more than 100 international games as a forward for Scotland.

Elsewhere, Loughborough-linked athletes will also represent Ireland Men’s team as alumni Nick Page and Matthew Nelson will don the colours of ‘The Green Machine’ in France’s capital.


Loughborough hockey in Tokyo

Ten Loughborough-associated hockey players represented Great Britain in Tokyo, with two alumni also heading to Japan as coaches for the teams. The women’s team went on to secure a bronze medal, adding to Loughborough University’s total of 35 medals won across both the Olympic and Paralympic competitions.   

Loughborough hockey in Rio

The games in 2016 provided a historical moment that will always remain a core memory for most, when the women’s team won gold for the first time in women’s hockey history. The team, who captured the nation’s heart with their winning ways, included five Loughborough alumnae.

Following this success, four members of the team were awarded Honorary Degrees at our Winter Graduation in 2018.

Since the team won gold, it has been reported that over 10,000 new players have been inspired to pick up a hockey stick and join a club, and since 2012 the number of young girls in hockey has doubled.

Loughborough hockey in London

Four years earlier, on home soil in London, Great Britain’s women’s team won bronze, securing the country’s first hockey medal in 20 years and the team’s second ever Olympic medal. Three Loughborough alumnae played as part of the team, which was led by alumnus Danny Kerry MBE.  

To follow the team’s success in Paris this summer, visit the Loughborough athletes on the global stage website.