Spider connections

February 4, 2021

Alumni, Portrait

Two Spiders are creating new opportunities in their sport by relying on their Spider network for ideas and support.

By Josie Holland, '23

Tori Whitcher, ’11, has been in a group text with the seven field hockey teammates from her graduating class since freshman year. They are her rock and her sounding board. So when she was recently confronted by major professional challenges, she knew where to turn.

Whitcher’s company, Sport EuroTour and World Camp USA, connects elite American field hockey players with international coaches and peers. As the communications and marketing lead, she organizes international and national training camps for high school-aged hockey players. When COVID-19 suddenly made these camps impossible, she turned to her Spider family.

“During this whole COVID thing, we all got together, and we did a brainstorming session,” she says. “Like, these are some things that you can do for the girls right now.”

Inspired by her conversation with her teammates, Whitcher began hosting webinars to bring together international field hockey experts, coaches, and players of all ages to discuss college recruiting, mental health, self-care, nutrition, workouts, and at-home hockey training.

“I kept doing it because a handful of girls told me it was like their church every single week,” she says, “A couple of them called me crying, saying they don’t know what they would do without these webinars. Some parents told me it was the one thing getting their daughter through COVID.”

Their work paid off, and the webinars became a hit, eventually reaching more than 10,000 players and earning Whitcher  Humanitarian of the Year from USA Field Hockey.

But Whitcher’s most impactful webinar session came from another Spider collaboration. After the killing of George Floyd, former teammate Meghan Stocks, ’13, made a video describing some of her experiences as a Black player in a predominantly white sport and white privilege in field hockey. Stocks, the first Black field hockey player at UR, also shared her thoughts and experiences with her UR field hockey teammates, including Whitcher.

Whitcher was moved and recognized that Stocks’ message had the potential to affect a lot of people, so she arranged for Stocks to co-host a webinar, which they called “Athletes, Allies, and Advocacy.”

During it, Stocks discussed her experiences as a player and coach and her work increasing accessibility to field hockey by redistributing gear and offering training camps and clinics via her company, So Field Hockey. She received an outpouring of support and positive feedback.

“Because of the webinar, we’ve started a Black field hockey network to connect people and create a safer, more welcoming and more comforting environment where you can discuss things,” Stocks says. “We can also work in tandem with NFHCA, which is the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, to help provide educational seminars and webinars on different life situations.”

When times get tough, both Stocks and Whitcher have both found they can rely on their alumni network.

“It’s one big family,” Stocks says, “You can pick up the phone and contact people at any time. Even if it’s been 10 years, the minute you’re actually taking the field together, it’s just like yesterday.”