KAZ CUTHBERT’S absence from hockey’s frontline lasted all of 28 days. That was how long it took from her announcement that she would be retiring as captain of the international team to being voted in as the new vice-president of Scottish Hockey.

“I don’t like to be bored,” admits the 33-year-old, who also plans on continuing her role as player/coach of Western Wildcats alongside her day job as a physiotherapist.

She will have plenty to do in her new position, even if she joked that she was disappointed that “nobody curtsied” once her confirmation as vice-president had been confirmed.

Cuthbert sees her speciality as communication and a lifetime spent in hockey at all levels has allowed her to build up a sizable network of contacts. Most can expect to be consulted at some point as she starts the process of trying to improve all aspects of the game in this country.

“I’m hugely passionate about hockey so, when I knew I was going to be coming to the end of my playing career, I wanted to find another way to stay involved," she said.

“This post came up and it was perfect timing. It gives me a chance to contribute and hopefully make a difference. I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t complain about something unless you’re willing to get involved to find a solution. I’ve moaned about things over the years and now I can do something about it and be part of the decision-making process.

“I’m quite a chatty person and I’ve always made the effort to get to know people throughout the whole country, not just in the central belt. So I’ll be looking to talk to people in every region to hear their thoughts and ideas on how we grow the sport.”

The most pressing concern, of course, is dealing with the shadow of Covid-19 and simply ensuring clubs survive but beyond that Cuthbert has ambitious plans.

She acknowledges there is a perception in some quarters of hockey as an elitist sport and it is something she is determined to address, having proven that you don’t need to come from a privileged background to be a success.

“Yeah, there’s maybe still a bit of the ‘jolly hockey sticks’ image in some people’s minds,” she added. “We fall into that bracket a little bit because a lot of the private schools play hockey and many of our clubs are based in wealthier areas.

“But I’m a big ambassador for inclusivity. I’m from Greenock and didn’t go to a private school which hopefully shows that anyone from any background can make it to a high level as long as you have access and opportunities.

“I’d love to see the sport branch out to all areas of the country as I think the talent is there. If there are kids playing football or doing swimming then why can’t they be playing hockey as well?”

Given hockey is hugely popular on the Asian sub-continent, it remains a mystery why more second and third generation Indians and Pakistanis aren’t picking up a stick in Scotland.

“Hockey is massive in Asia so in the ethnic parts of our cities why are we not putting a hockey pitch in these areas to try to encourage more participation?” wondered Cuthbert. “We need to try to spread our reach if we can.”

Hockey, though, remains a popular participation sport in general – “the third highest in Scotland,” Cuthbert points out – but has tended to struggle to attract the attention of outsiders.

Finding a way to grow the sport to make it more appealing to the casual spectator – whether in person or on TV – is another thing the two-time Commonwealth Games participant is keen to address.

“We need to find a way to make it bigger and better, get it on Sky Sports every week,” she added. “How do we get more input from outside companies? How do we attract more sponsors and market hockey better?

“We need to put it out there as a sport that people will want to watch as well as play all the way from club to international level.”

Cuthbert will have more time to address all these issues after deciding to call time on her international playing career after earning 163 caps at the top level.

“It was the right time for me to step back. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person and I’ve given my all for a long time. There’s a wealth of talent coming through and I’m excited to see how they all get on. And I’ve now got a new challenge to get my teeth into.”