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News 21 February 2014

All the news for Friday 21 February 2014

100 days to go... the countdown begins

Players, coaches, officials and organisers are getting ready for hockey's showcase event. Are you?

The Rabobank Hockey World Cup bursts into action in exactly 100 day's time, but preparations for the two-week event have been underway ever since the Netherlands learnt they had earned the right to host the event 1,279 days ago. Just how much hard work, how many man hours and the sheer logistical challenge of such an event can never be fully appreciated unless you have been at the cutting edge of such a mammoth organisational task.

Here are the headline numbers: 15 nations, 24 teams and 432 players, representing six continents. A total of 76 matches, not counting any extra time taken for shoot-outs, a minimum of 5,320 minutes of hockey – all leading to two titles, that of men's and women's World Hockey Champions.

But behind the headline numbers there are many other factors that combine to produce a world-class event. There are two stadium in use, the existing Kyocera Stadium and Green Fields Stadium, the latter be built specifically for this event. Greenfields will take 67 days to complete and will have 5,000 seats for spectators. There is a total capacity for 20,000 spectators at the two venues and, to date, 57,000 day tickets have been sold via ticket agency SEE, a further 15,987 tickets have been bought by clubs and 1,083 tickets for people who are attending the entire tournament have been sold.

Looking after the players, officials, and partners is always a top priority. Five hotels in the Hague have been earmarked as players' hotels, with 590 rooms booked. The officials – 34 umpires and 61 officials – will also need housing, and then there are the seven organisation committee members who will also be staying in the officially-nominated hotels. In addition, the organisers will be looking after more than 30 KNHB partners.

The media will be in town for the duration of the tournament, – 2,800 accreditations will be issued, so the restaurants, bars and cafes will be busy during the down time from the hockey action.

A daily head count of 550 volunteers will be on hand to help with the smooth running of the tournament, and players and spectators can rest easy due to the presence of 768 security guards.

At the venues, although the hockey is the main attraction, there will also be 4,000 sq metres of retail space and 4,500 sq metres of restaurant and cafe outlets. To keep spectators amused between matches are 28 side-shows and stalls, while spectators who want to watch more hockey might want to support one of the 120 teams who will be in the Hague for the Masters Tournaments that are taking place at the same time as the World Cup. Goods and services from 30 different suppliers will ensure that all food, drink and shopping requirements are catered for.

The first match will start at 10.30am on 31 May when Australia men face Malaysia. The two finals will take place on Saturday 14 June at 3.15pm when the women's world champion will be crowned, and Sunday 15 June at 3.15, when the men's title will be decided.

FIH site

Men’s hockey team await nod for Commonwealth Games


THE South African men’s hockey team have been catapulted into possible medal contention at the Commonwealth Games, but they will have to rely on the good grace of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) to get there.

South Africa’s stringent qualifying criteria demand that teams and individuals be ranked in the top five of the Commonwealth.

The men’s team are stranded in sixth position, with no ranking tournaments scheduled before Sascoc’s March 31 deadline, but Pakistan, one of the nations ranked ahead of them, have withdrawn from the showpiece in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.

"We effectively replace Pakistan now," said the new coach of the men’s team Fabian Gregory. "Everything is dependent on Sascoc. It would be disappointing if we don’t go to the Commonwealth Games."

The women’s hockey team, who are ranked fifth, and the men’s squad departed for Argentina last night ahead of a five-match Test series in the country.

Gregory’s side will also play Olympic champions Germany in a three-Test series in Cape Town on their return, as well as a seven-nation tournament in Malaysia, but none of those matches will count towards rankings.

Hockey’s next ranking tournament is the World Cup in Holland, which takes place from May 31 to June 15.

"If we have a good preparation and a good World Cup, I believe we could squeeze into a semifinal position at the Commonwealth Games," said Gregory. "And that would be a first for South Africa."

Whether Sascoc will agree or not remains to be seen, but it has promised to be lenient when selecting individual athletes.

For example, where a South African runner is ranked seventh behind six Kenyans, or a swimmer behind six Australians, their ratings would increase to fourth because a nation can enter a maximum of only three per event at the games.

Business Day

Teams set for Hockey India League semifinals

RANCHI: After 26 days and 30 games of the Hockey India League (HIL), the tournament enters its semifinal stage on Saturday after four of the six teams qualified for the knock-outs.

The Jharkhand capital will see the first semifinal between the Delhi Waveriders and the Uttar Pradesh Wizards which will be followed by Jaypee Punjab Warriors against the defending champions Ranchi Rhinos.

Though the Waveriders missed out on the top slot in the points table, they will have their work cut out to beat the Wizards and qualify for the final. On the other hand, the Roelant Oltmans coached Wizards will still have last year's semifinal against the Rhinos fresh in their minds; and this time around they will be in no mood to miss out on the bus to the finale.

The Warriors are pitted against the Rhinos which, for both teams, will be their third match in succession. While in the last two, the Warriors proved themselves as the better team but they will not forget that the Rhinos were playing with their key players missing out because of injuries.

With table-toppers Warriors wanting to continue their onslaught, the Rhinos will go all out to defend the title in front of their home crowd.

The Times of India

Let there be four umpires, says Jamie Dwyer

Arnab Lall Seal

RANCHI: Punjab Warriors won the last match of the group stage against Ranchi Rhinos here at Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Wednesday but that did not stop Jamie Dwyer from launching a scathing attack on the match officials.

"There were a lot of penalty corners that should have been given to both the teams but the referees failed to notice any of them. The pace of the game has increased manifold and it's natural to make mistakes but in that case why not use the video referral throughout the tournament.

There are 22 cameras in place and they don't miss any of the action. Else we can have four on-field umpires in place of two. That way these mistakes won't take place," said the Australian star.

Dwyer is not the first player to criticize the umpires in Hockey India League. Earlier in the tournament, Delhi Waveriders skipper Sardar Singh, too, had condemned the officials after losing to the Rhinos.

Dwyer did not sound too excited about playing the semifinal against Rhinos here on Saturday because he feels the home crowd will force the umpires to give decisions in the favour of the home side.

"I think it's a disadvantage that we will be playing Rhinos in the semifinals at their home. The umpires kept giving free-hits to Rhinos on Wednesday because of crowd pressure and if the same happens on Saturday, it will be difficult for us," he remarked.

Talking about the upcoming semifinal, Rhinos coach Gregg Clark sounded confident and said they have a clear idea about how to beat the Warriors. "I think it's a good thing that we have played the last match against the Warriors."

The Times of India

Mawardi sparks Olak win

RISING STAR: Manager tips player for greatness


Olak (in orange) defend against Nur Insafi in their Division Two Junior Hockey League playoffs at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

OLD La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak-PKT) were hardly troubled in their 4-1 win over Nur Insafi of Penang  in the Division Two Junior Hockey League playoffs at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

In another match, MSP Pahang beat Bakat MSSK 3-2.

Six teams from Division Two are involved in the round-robin playoffs, where four will advance to the quarter-finals against Division One sides SSTMI Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns, Petaling Jaya Municipal Council and Malacca High School.

Yesterday, Division Two top scorer Mawardi Hamirin was the toast of Olak-PKT, as he assisted in the first goal and then helped himself to two  to bring his tally to 12.

The 18-year-old Mawardi from Sabah has a knack of making the right passes in the semi-circle, and looks set to be among the players that 2016 Junior World Cup coach Arul Selvaraj will name next week in his training squad.

Besides Mawardi's brace in the 20th and 40th minutes,  V. Dilip (11th) and Noor Khairul Azri (14th) hit one each. The Nur Insafi consolation was scored by Abdul Muhaimin in the 59th minute.

"I expected a win, but not by such a high margin as Nur Insafi are the Group A winners. Credit is also due to my players, as they never let up the pressure from the start," said Olak team manager Joseph de Silva.

Olak-Pkt will next play Bukit Jalil Sports School at the same venue today.

"Mawardi should turn out to be an asset to the country in the near future, and I will not be surprised if he makes his name in the 2016 Junior World Cup," said Joseph.

On Bukit Jalil today, Joseph felt it would be a tougher match. 

"But we are ready for them as our aim is to play in Division One next year."

Today: Olak-PKT v BJSS (5pm), Bakat MSSK v Politeknik KPM (7pm). Matches at the National Hockey Stadium Pitch II.

New Straits Times

Olak-PKT one step closer to Division One promotion

By S. Ramaguru

Olak-PKT's Mawardi Hamirin (left) controls the ball, challenged by Nur Insafi's Mohamad Faridul Izwan during the Malaysia Junior Hockey League match.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former double champions Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak)-PKT have set themselves up for a return to Division One of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) next year.

Olak-PKT were in an uncompromising mood en route to chalking up a 4-1 win over unbeaten Nur Insafi in the opening match of the Division Two second round playoff at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday.

Olak-PKT began the match strongly and opened scoring in the 11th minute through V. Dilip. Just three minutes later, Mohd Noor Khairul Azri made it 2-0 with a field goal.

Division Two top scorer Mawardi Hamirin then rounded up the score when he netted a brace in the 24th and 40th minutes – taking his tally to 12.

Olak-PKT were league champions in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and overall champions in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and last played in Division One in 2009. They did not put up a team in 2010 but have been in Division Two since 2011.

Olak-PKT and Nur Insafi are in Group X with Bukit Jalil Sports School. Group Y has Politeknik Johor, Bakat MSSK-PHK and MSP Pahang Juniors.

The top teams from each group will play in the final on Sunday for the Division Two title.

Thursday’s win, however, came at a high cost for Olak-PKT as two of their players were yellow carded in the match and will be suspended for two matches. Mohd Zabad Rosly and Norhafizi Aris had six demerit points going into the match. The yellow card meant four extra demerit points and a mandatory two-match suspension.

Olak-PKT team manager Joseph De Silva was happy with their performance and has promised that they will be looking for a win against BJSS on Friday.

“Yes, a draw (against BJSS) will be enough but we want to top the group. The players are performing well and took their chances well early in the match (against Nur Insafi),” he said.

“Our first objective is to get back into Division One. We will think of the final after that.

“Of course, by making the final we will also make the cut for the knockout stage. That will be a good test for the players as we gauge their strength against the elite.”

In the opening Group Y match, MSP Pahang needed a last-gasp goal by Mohd Aliff Noor Faizal to edge Bakat MSSK-PHK of Kelantan 3-2.

Mohd Zul Yadain Kasman had earlier opened the scoring for Bakat MSSK-PHK in the 10th minute before Pahang hit back through Mohd Khairul Syafiq the 16th minute.

In the second half, the Kelantan side again got off to a great start, with Mohd Ashraf Mohd Noor scoring in the 37th minute to restore their lead.

The Pahang team, however, fought back to grab the equaliser for a second time with a penalty corner goal by Irfan Wafiq Hishamuddin in the 61st minute.

Just when Bakat MSSK-PHK thought they had nicked a point, up popped Aliff to break their hearts in the 70th minute.

The Star of Malaysia

In-form Surbiton Men face Reading

Surbiton's Chris Grassick

AFTER having beaten leaders Beeston last weekend, Surbiton will be aiming for a similar result when they take on second-placed Reading in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Currently fourth in the table, Surbiton have not lost a match in any competition since October and will be aiming to cement their spot in the play-off positions at Sonning Lane on Sunday (14:30 start).

The two sides drew 1-1 when they met at Surbiton back in November, and manager James Lloyd said: “As ever we’re taking each game as it comes and not particularly looking at any winning runs. Anything can happen and there’s a lot of good teams in the running.

“Last time we played Reading it was a good game and both teams had some good chances so a draw was probably fair. Both ourselves and Reading have improved since then, so it should be a great match.”

Sunday also sees leaders Beeston take on bottom of the table Sheffield Hallam, who will be desperate for the points to stave off relegation.

The Yorkshire side have a game in hand following the postponement of their clash at Hampstead and Westminster a fortnight ago, and the replay is this Saturday – at Sheffield.

Following Saturday’s re-arranged clash in Sheffield, Hampstead and Westminster are on the road again on Sunday, facing Cannock.

Third-placed East Grinstead head to Loughborough Students as they bid to maintain their play-off push, while Wimbledon and Canterbury – fifth and sixth in the table – face each other.

In the NOW: Pensions Conference West, leaders Indian Gymkhana face a tough test at third-placed Cardiff & Met, while Team Bath Buccaneers could go top if they beat University of Birmingham and their rivals lose.

Brooklands Manchester University head to Deeside Ramblers as they aim to maintain top spot in the NOW: Pensions Conference North, while second-placed Bowdon entertain Wakefield.

And in the NOW: Pensions Conference East leaders Holcombe head to third-placed Old Loughtonians, while Southgate could go top if they win at home against St Albans.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League and the Investec Women’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 22 2014)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Sheffield Hallam v Hampstead & Westminster 13:30

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 23 2014)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Beeston v Sheffield Hallam 14:00
Cannock v Hampstead and Westminster 14:00
Loughborough Students v East Grinstead 14:00
Reading v Surbiton 14:30
Wimbledon v Canterbury 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Cambridge City v Bromley and Beckenham 12:30
Old Loughtonians v Holcombe 14:30
Richmond v Oxted 13:30
Southgate v St Albans 13:30
Teddington v Brighton and Hove 12:30

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Indian Gymkhana 13:00
Cheltenham v Guildford 13:00
Havant v Isca 14:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v University of Birmingham 13:00
University of Exeter v Fareham 12:30

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Belper v Leek 14:00
Bowdon v Wakefield 14:00
Deeside Ramblers v Brooklands MU 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Khalsa 13:30
University of Durham v West Bridgford 13:30

England Hockey Board Media release

Leicester and Clifton in battle for play-off spot

Leicester's Katie Long v Surbiton

HAVING beaten former leaders Surbiton last weekend, Leicester play host to Clifton in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division this Saturday, with a place in the play-off positions up for grabs.

Currently occupying fourth spot, Leicester knocked Surbiton off the top of the table when they beat them 2-0 last weekend, and will be aiming to make it five wins in six outdoor matches when they take on Clifton at Leicester Grammar School.

“We’re feeling pretty positive at the moment,” said Leicester’s team manager Sue Holwell. “We’ve had one or two long term injuries and players unavailable, and we will be missing some for this weekend, but we’re confident we can still get a result.

“Our target all along has been to reach the play-offs, and we’re on track. We’re playing in Europe in June, so we want to extend the league season into April with the play-offs.”

Elsewhere, new leaders Canterbury take on Beeston at Polo Farm, and will be looking for revenge after the Nottinghamshire side’s 3-1 win earlier in the season.

That was Canterbury’s one and only outdoor league defeat so far this season, and they will be aiming to make the most of their game in hand over second-placed Reading with a win which could put them four points clear.

Bowdon Hightown could move into the play-off positions if they beat University of Birmingham, while bottom of the table Olton and West Warwickshire play second bottom Sutton Coldfield in a match neither side can afford to lose in their battle against relegation.

In the Investec Conference East second-placed East Grinstead hosts third-placed St Albans in a match which is crucial to both side’s promotion ambitions. Meanwhile, leaders Holcombe go to Sevenoaks.

New leaders in the Investec Conference North, Brooklands Poynton go to Ben Rhydding on Saturday, while Wakefield will be trying to take back top spot when they host Stourport.

And in the Investec Conference West, Slough go to Bristol Firebrands as they bid to maintain top spot. Former leaders Buckingham – who only lost the lead after their match against Oxford was postponed last weekend – host bottom of the table Exe.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the Investec Women’s Hockey League and the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 22 2014)

Investec Premier Division
Bowdon Hightown v University of Birmingham 13:45
Canterbury v Beeston 17:00
Leicester v Clifton 14:00
Olton & West Warwicks Ladies v Sutton Coldfield 12:00

Investec Conference East
Chelmsford v Harleston Magpies 14:00
East Grinstead v St. Albans 13:30
Horsham v Old Loughtonians 13:30
Ipswich v Wimbledon 14:00
Sevenoaks v Holcombe 17:00

Investec Conference North
Ben Rhydding v Brooklands Poynton 14:00
Boots v University of Durham 12:30
Doncaster v Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 12:00
Kendal v Loughborough Students 12:30
Wakefield v Stourport 13:30

Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Slough 12:00
Buckingham v Exe 12:00
Isca v Gloucester City 12:30
Oxford Hawks v Swansea City 12:00
Trojans v Barnes 12:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Irish Hockey Awards Winners and Shortlists revealed.

Irish Hockey has today announced winners from seven categories and the four shortlisted in the three remaining categories for the 2013 Irish Hockey Awards. The awards will be presented at the lunchtime event being held on Friday 21st March at the Stillorgan Park Hotel (12 noon start).

There are 13 categories in total and a Hall of Fame which will see four new inductees with Jimmy Kirkwood, Joanne Menown, John McKee and Noelle Branagan becoming members this year.

Irish Hockey are delighted to announce the following winners and shortlists for the 2013 Irish Hockey Awards .

Senior Club Women’s Player – 4 Shortlisted (winner announced at awards)

Sinead McGirr (Loreto HC)
Kate Dillon (Railway Union)
Ali Meeke (Loreto)
Nikki Keegan (Loreto)                  

Senior Club Men’s Player - 4 Shortlisted (winner announced at awards)

Dave Egner (Cork Harlequins)
Gareth Watkins (Monkstown)
Ross Canning (UCD)
Mark Ingram (Pembroke Wanderers)

Club of The Year

Loreto Hockey Club
Monkstown Hockey Club
Railway Union Hockey Club
Muckross Hockey Club

U18 Girls Player of the Year  Sarah Twomey (Hermes hockey Club).
U18 Boys Player of the Year Lee Cole (Monkstown)
Coach of the Year Graham Shaw
Volunteer of the Year Inez Cooper (Loreto)
Hockey School of the Year Mount Anville School
Umpire of the Year Fiona Davitt
Developing Club of The Year Wicklow Hockey Club

Men’s Players Player & Women’s Players Player This award is announced at the event itself and is voted on by the senior squad for their choice of player’s player.

President’s Award This award is announced at the event and is decided upon at the sole discretion of the President to recognise an individual for their outstanding contribution to the sport of hockey.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Australian Men’s Futures program showcases 30 ambitious potential Kookaburras

Mid-February saw the national Futures men’s squad commence their 2014 program. Held in Brisbane for players between the ages 16 and 20, it offered an educational experience and insight into potentially becoming a future Kookaburra.

Queensland head coach Matthew Wells observed a high level of talent within this year’s squad. The camp was designed to give players a sound understanding of hockey at an international level; for some, it may be the first stepping stone to their dream hockey career.

“The opportunity arose with New Zealand brining their under 19s side across” stated Wells. “To get the squad together in the one venue and expose them to international hockey is fantastic, with the main objective of focusing on the younger breed to see them coming through for the next Junior World Cup.”

30 players attended a series of training sessions, matches and meetings over the course of the program. Focusing the importance of the camp on the player’s attitudes, work ethic and basic hockey skills.

“Two wins against New Zealand is a great result. We were looking at good players analysing how they approach hockey as well as an ideal work ethic, not people with attitudes and baggage to be brought with them,” Wells mentioned.

National junior coach Paul Gaudoin added, “In both matches we were able to show our ability at scoring goals, and playing at a high speed. Our decision making and our physical capabilities were solid in both of the first halves.”

“What was also pleasing was that all our states and territories were represented at the camp.”

Kookaburra Daniel Beale, having just returned from the World League shared his experiences with the Futures squad. Previously sitting in the same seat three years prior, he filled the room with enthusiasm and energy. Beale’s story and the subsequent Q&A session left the young athletes in no doubt that in a few years it could be them.

Michael Crooks, Hockey Australia’s National Talent Pathway Manager attended the Futures camp commending the success of the program from start to finish. In particular interest was the implementation of the Hockey5s format before the Youth Olympic qualifier being played next month.

“It was a fantastic sight to see the full Futures Squad in action in both the five on five format in anticipation of the Youth Olympics tour to Vanuatu, and the friendlies against New Zealand,” stated Crooks.

“Under the Australia’s Winning Edge performance strategy, we have a very clear focus on the importance of quality development of our Futures group athletes in order to cement and sustain our world number 1 ranking in the years ahead,” he added.

With the athletes’ sights firmly set on the Youth Olympic Games qualifying campaign, Wells believes the players that thrive from the program’s opportunities will be the ones that Australia sees succeeding in hockey within the future.

Attending Athletes

Nathan Bourke (Cronulla, NSW)
Isaac Farmilo (Tamworth, NSW)
Jack Hayes (Albion Park, NSW)
Sam  Liles (Tamworth, NSW)
Kurt Lovett (Parkes, NSW)
Ryan Proctor (Engadine, NSW)
Ashley Thomas (Baulkham Hills, NSW)
Jason Hullick (Marrara, NT)
Scott Boyde (Chandler, QLD)
Danny Fletcher (Chermside, QLD)
Sean Gibbs (Mackay, QLD)
Kyle Gildea (Carrara, QLD)
Tim Howard    (Wakerley, QLD)
Corey Weyer (Biggera Waters, QLD)
Dalton Casey (Hillbank, SA)
Harrison Johns (Murray Bridge, SA)
Joshua Beltz (Old Beach, TAS)
Jayden Pearson (Riverside, TAS)
Patrick  Todd (Burnie, TAS)
Jai Walker-Kidd (St Leonards, TAS)
Kiran Arunasalam (Doncaster East, VIC)
Joshua Bretherton (Brighton, VIC)
Stephen Gale (Bulleen, VIC)
Ben Hooppell (Albury, VIC)
Andrew Scanlon (Werribee, VIC)
Joshua Simmonds (Ringwood North, VIC)
James Benetti (Nedlands, WA)
Simon Benetti (Nedlands, WA)
Ross Hall (Attadale, WA)
Hayden Walker (Albany, WA)

Hockey Australia media release

PHF urged to intervene in 'ground closure' matter

LAHORE - Former hockey Olympians M Khalid and Danish Kaleem have urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to intervene into the matter of Govt College Gojra ground closure for hockey activities.

"It is quite unfortunate that a historic hockey ground which produced a number of former Olympians has been closed for hockey activities and national players have been forced to practice on the road after denial to use the facility,” they said here on Thursday.

Quoting a recent incident, they said goalkeeper of the Pakistan team Imran Shah was stopped from practicing at the ground by the college administration at the behest of some ex-Olympians who were also involved in undue criticism of the PHF. "Imran has lodged his complaint with the PHF on the issue and if members of the Pakistan team are not allowed to practice on the ground then who will use it?”

They said Gojra Hockey Club was practicing on the same grassy ground for the last 25 years and because of regular activities, a number of ex-Olympians were produced who brought laurels to the country. "Now a group of former Olympians have joined hands to take control of the ground and to stop hockey activities just for their vested interests, setting aside the national interest as a large number of young players in league with the members of the national team practice there which is a way to promote hockey,” they added.

They said they had approached the PHF in this regard and took up the matter with its secretary Rana Mujahid to stop these anti-hockey tactics.

When contacted, Imran Shah confirmed the closure of the ground and the incident of practicing on the road along with other players. "We have been restricted to use the facility without any justification. I have reported entire episode to the PHF.”

PHF secretary Rana Mujahid said that they were looking into the matter and were hopeful of coming up with an amicable solution that would safeguard the rights of hockey players practicing at the Gojra college ground. "I am ready to talk to those ex-Olympians who are behind this move to play my due role and to secure the future of the game,” Mujahid added.

The Nation

High Styx FH Crowned US U-14 JPIL Champion

At 8 a.m. Monday, February 17, the final round of Junior Premier Indoor League (JPIL) Championship Pool play began in the U-14 Division. The fresh championship trophy sat waiting for its first engraving. The first U-14 JPIL Champion would be crowned today!

Going into the day, Philly Hockey Club was in first place over High Styx FH, only based on goal differential. CNY, Mystx United and SPark were less than one win behind in the standings. By 9:30 a.m., the first three games were tied and the competition was fierce.

Throughout the morning, players, parents and fans frequented the results board, counting wins and losses, calculating goal differentials. Philly tied CNY and SPark, SPark tied High Styx FH, High Styx FH squeezed by CNY 3-2. Eventually, the tides began to change and High Styx FH, with their speedy transition play and penalty corner conversions, continued with the wins. By the completion of their last game at 1 p.m., no one could catch them.

The fight began for second place. SPark had two convincing wins and in the end, earned them second place as they beat out Philly Hockey Club on goal differential.

Congratulations to High Styx FH as the first ever U-14 JPIL Champion and SPark as the runners-up.

Congratulations to all Clubs for what they achieved over the course of the season.  We watched players and clubs grow and improve over the past several weeks.

Thank you for your continued support and we hope you enjoyed your experience with us. A special thanks to our Umpires and Umpire Manager, Fran Corl, for without them there will be no competition.

This Saturday, February 22, is the conclusion of the U-16 and U-19 competition that will be held at the 422 Sportsplex, Pottstown, Pa.

The top four ranked clubs in each division will be battling it out to claim the prestigious honor of being crown the 2014 JPIL Champion.

Can High Styx and Xcalibur defend their Championship in the U-16 and U-19 Divisions? That question will be answered in a few days. But rest assure FC United, Jersey Intensity and Mystx United all plan on preventing that from happening.

So we look forward to seeing you all cheering on the kids and your favorite Club, as they compete not just for the championship trophy, but for the honor of being invited back in 2015.

Good Luck to all and Good Luck to the U-14 Clubs as they get ready to participate at NIT this weekend!

USFHA media release

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