Celebrating a True Hockey Icon: Karen Collins

Aug. 20, 2014, 12:13 p.m. (ET)
Celebrating a True Hockey Icon: Karen Collins

She doesn’t have a jersey number stitched onto her uniform or a world breaking accumulation of international caps but Karen Collins is one of the most valued veterans on Team USA. At the heart of USA Field Hockey is our Director of Event Logistics, KC. Constance Applebee may have initially made our beloved sport popular in the United States, but KC retained that love by perfecting world-renowned tournaments for athletes, umpires and coaches of all age divisions to partake and enjoy. As a staff member for the past 25 years, KC has developed 22 National Hockey Festivals, with her first taking place in Irvine, Calif. in 1992, and nearly as many National Indoor Tournaments, not letting the tiniest of details escape her.

During her tenure with USA Field Hockey, KC has served as Director of National Teams, Head of Membership and Interim Executive Director. She has acted as the liaison to the United States Olympic Committee, the liaison to NBC for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and covered media operations for the Atlanta Games and was heavily involved with the Road to Atlanta events and campaigns.

While we live in a world where everything runs on technology and computers, KC relies on a notepad which is saturated with knowledge as she continues to build upon events. Not only is KC’s dedication to USA Field Hockey commendable but her unwavering commitment to the sport is also unparalleled. The prior University of Michigan Coach and high school field hockey instructor has shaped the lives of athletes on and off the pitch for numerous years. With our utmost gratitude, we ask that you join us in thanking this hockey icon for giving us outlets to play the sport that has forged teammates into friends and friends into family.  

Executive Director, Steve Locke:
“This is the fifth year I am in this position and that number just does not stand up to the 25 years Karen Collins has dedicated to this organization. Not only has KC dedicated 25 years to us, she also served four years as field hockey coach at the University of Michigan and another 8 years of teaching school and coaching hockey at the high school level. That is a total of 37 years devoted to hockey. And, she is not done yet. She is a well-greased machine in event production. In the four National Governing Bodies (NGBs) I have served, I have found no better production manager than KC. And, it is fair to say that she holds up as the superior event specialist across the board of all 47 NGBs under the Olympic aegis. There just is no one better when it comes to bringing the thousands of details together to conduct a premium event. We are so fortunate to have KC!!” 

Chief Operating Officer, Simon Hoskins:
“KC is a very special person, she has been in the sport in so many roles for a lifetime. Even though I feel like I have been with USA Field Hockey forever, my time is a mere fraction of the quarter century that KC has helped shape and drive our organization. Having had the privilege to work numerous events with KC I am continually impressed by the consistency she shows, she always is calm, always is poised, her assured composure sets the tone for her team around her. She leads by example and of course is the first to arrive and the last to leave each and every day. While she is always charismatic and has a wealth of friends in the sport she is also firm and unbending when she feels the need to be. I recall one occasion when the rains of West Palm Beach were threatening to get the better of the polo grounds, the Head Groundsman had got to a point where he would not allow play to take place at Festival the next day. A tense meeting followed with all the stakeholders present with entrenched positions on each side. But it was KC who prevailed, the steely look in her eye and the calm and objective reasoning I think won the day. The Groundsman conceded and granted permission for Festival to continue. And that is at her heart I think what KC relishes in her role, simply giving the opportunities for thousands of young athletes to have the time of their lives playing the sport we all love.”

Membership & Events Manager, Emily Thomas:
“The wealth of knowledge KC brings to her desk every day is enormous. Throughout her tenure she’s been a catalyst of growth and excellence, and it’s inspiring to learn from her. Congrats to her on this milestone!”

Chief Financial Officer, Janet Paden:
“KC has dedicated 25 years of her life to USA Field Hockey, and many more than that to the sport itself.  KC is one of a kind.  Her work ethic is unsurpassed and her commitment to the sport of Field Hockey is unrivaled.  In the five years I’ve worked with KC, she has never called in sick one time, nor come to work late.  KC will work an event all hours of the day (and night), and never miss a beat.  She has earned the respect of her peers both in the office and outside, as witnessed by her posse of volunteers at events.  She is a true professional at all times, and her feathers are never ruffled.  She is such a great role model for our younger staff, and an inspiration to all who come in contact with her.  Twenty-five words to describe KC for her 25 years: dedicated, passionate, motivated, loyal, faithful, committed, enthusiastic, relentless, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, consistent, respectful, extraordinary, thoughtful, attentive, perfectionist, professional, giving, integrity, meticulous, diligent, organized, punctual, a true leader! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR YEARS WITH US, KC!!!”

Sport Development Senior Manager and 1996 Olympian, Liz Tchou: 
KC is as genuine as they come.  On tour, she was great!  Always accommodating, organized, knowledgable and fun to be around. The tour to Hong-Kong was one to remember, the long trip, the culture, everything about it was amazing and new to all of us.  Many people don’t know this, but KC is an amazing development resource. She used to be on the Board of Director’s for the National Council for Youth Sports and a part of many organizations. She is very well versed on the proper development of athletes from the base through the pipeline, so it’s great to be able to pick up the phone to get her insights. Based on the knowledge and experience she’s gained throughout her sporting career, and mainly her overall demeanor, KC offers life wisdoms that have made me a better person and for that, I am so thankful that she continues to be a part of USA Field Hockey.