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News 26 March 2014

All the news for Wednesday 26 March 2014

Roos win third test

5-2 win over Japan; strikes from Schulz, McMahon, White, Parker & Smith

The Hockeyroos won the third test of their five match series against Japan on Tuesday night playing back on home turf in Perth, Western Australia.

A topsy turvy first half saw Jodie Schulz put Australia in front with a 19th minute penalty stroke with Japan following closely behind sealing their first goal off a penalty corner in the 22nd minute levelling the scores to 1-1.  Despite good Japanese pressure Australia scored three goals in the space of five second half minutes with Karri McMahon, Kellie White and Georgie Parker all finding the back of the net. Emily Smith grabbed Australia’s fifth with Japan’s Shiho Sakai scoring a late consultation.

Speaking after the match Hockeyroos head coach Adam Commens said, “I was very pleased with the overall result of the game. There were patches of the match where the girls stood out playing well and there were parts of the game where we didn’t. Japan is a tough team to play against, they are very unpredictable and it was clear tonight that they have found their feet on the field.

“The last ten minutes of the game were not our best with Japan scoring off a penalty corner in the final crucial minutes. The game allowed us to string together some good passages of play. Looking into the future we will need to be able to wrest control back through maintaining more possession.”

Heading into their fourth test against Japan on Thursday night Commens reflected on their focus and preparation leading up to the match. “Thursday night’s game will be a good chance to work on the areas that weren’t so great tonight. Japan are improving in each match and coming into Thursday night’s game it will give us an opportunity to try a combination of different plays as we look to find the best combination coming into the World Cup.”

After a tentative opening 15 minutes Japan’s robust defence was breached as Jodie Schulz fired a penalty stroke into the bottom left corner. However, Japan equalised through Mayumi Ono from a penalty corner levelling the score to 1-1.

Australia kicked into gear early into the second half with three goals from Karri McMahon, Kellie White and Georgie Parker within the space of five minutes. McMahon fired home with a drag flick off the back of a penalty corner to put Australia back in front with a 2-1 lead. Soon after, Kellie White and Georgie Parker teamed up to extend Australia’s advantage netting twice in a minute to make it 4-1.

Midway through the second half Australia earned five penalty corners in quick succession but found no way past Japanese goalkeeper Yuka Yoshikawa.

Hockeyroo Emily Smith stepped up to the mark in the 56th minute sending the ball rocketing into the back of the goal to extend Australia’s much deserved lead to 5-1. Pressure remaining on the shoulders of Japan saw their forward, Shiho Sakai, secure Japan a late consolation with a goal just before the siren.

The Hockeyroos will now head into their fourth test against Japan on Thursday night at Perth Hockey Stadium, 5.30pm AWST/8.30pm AEDT.

Hockeyroos v Japan
Test 3 of 5
Perth, Western Australia

Jodie Schulz 19 (PS)
Karri McMahon 38 (PC)
Kellie White 42 (FG)
Georgie Parker 43 (FG)
Emily Smith 56 (FG)

JAPAN: 2 (1)
Mayumi Ono 22 (PC)
Shiho Sakai 70 (PC)

Hockey Australia media release

Charlesworth to stand down

Kookaburras coach to leave post after 2014 Commonwealth Games

World renowned coach Ric Charlesworth has announced today that he will step down from his position as national coach to the Australian men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras, following the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Charlesworth, who has led the way in sports coaching for more than two decades, will relinquish his position after six years in the role during which he led the Kookaburras to World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles, an Olympic bronze medal and four Champions Trophy gold medals. 

In announcing his decision, Charlesworth said, “I believe it is the right time to reassign my priorities for my family; my wife, children and grandchildren. I am no longer keen on spending up to three months a year away and overseas as one must do as the national coach of the Kookaburras. I have long believed that coaches can stay too long. The Kookaburras are in good shape and can be further refreshed by a new head coach as they head towards the Rio Olympics."

Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale paid tribute to Charlesworth. “Ric’s working life as an elite athlete, elite coach, federal politician and doctor is remarkable and is unlikely ever to be repeated. Although I have only worked with Ric for a short time, he is without doubt one of the greatest coaches in Australian sporting history and on behalf of every athlete and official who has worked with him, I say thanks.

“It’s incredibly rare in coaching sport, particularly at the very top level, that someone gets the opportunity to make such a decision for themselves. This is Ric’s decision and his decision alone. The Board and I were keen for Ric to continue beyond the Commonwealth Games but we respect his decision.”

Under Charlesworth, the Kookaburras returned to the top of the world rankings in 2010, five years after they had last held the number one spot. It was a golden year for the team as they won both the World Cup and Commonwealth Games. In leading the Kookaburras to World Cup glory Charlesworth became the first person to win the men’s World Cup as both an athlete and a coach. Adding the title to that of the women’s World Cups he won as coach of the Hockeyroos, Charlesworth completed a unique treble.

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Australia’s men beat the hosts Great Britain to claim the bronze medal having lost the semi-final to eventual winners Germany. Four months later on home turf in Melbourne, he led the Kookaburras to an unprecedented fifth consecutive Champions Trophy, his fourth win as coach.

In addition to his on-field successes, Charlesworth’s cutting edge approach to coaching has been fundamental to many of hockey’s greatest evolutionary developments.

He was one of the first coaches to demand positional flexibility to such a degree that field players had the ability to play in several positions right across the pitch. Such an approach has allowed his teams to play new structures that were initially foreign to Australian hockey. His revolutionary approach to training has been ground-breaking, placing a great emphasis on small game play, problem solving, technical excellence and performance under fatigue.

He was at the forefront of the technological revolution in hockey, driving the application of video and performance analysis that is now commonplace in the sport. His adoption of techniques from other sports, including Australian football’s tracking of performance through statistical data, has been central to the continued improvements shown by his teams.

Off the field Charlesworth has always lobbied passionately for changes that he believes make the game more entertaining. He pushed hard for the change that saw tied knock-out matches decided by an eight second one-on-one shoot-out as opposed to penalty strokes. And his input was central to the nine-a-side format developed by Hockey Australia that spawned the innovative International Super Series well ahead of other modified formats of the sport.

His outspoken approach has at times brought criticism and misunderstanding, but he has never backed down from wanting to improve the game and to keep it contemporary in an ever changing sporting landscape. 

With the courage to change his starting line-up every match, he was the first coach to truly maximise the impact of player rotation and rolling substitutions. He did away with the concept of a starting XI and reserves in favour of full squad rotation, including goalkeepers, which enabled superior physical capacity to be used as a tactic against an opposition. It was an approach that paid dividends in extreme heat such as that experienced during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when he was coach of the Australian women’s hockey team.

Charlesworth achieved legendary status when he coached the Hockeyroos to consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1996 and on home turf at Sydney 2000, and to back-to-back World Cup titles in 1994 and 1998.

Following his seven years in charge of the Hockeyroos, he worked as a performance consultant to the Fremantle Dockers Football Club and was a mentor coach to Australian Institute of Sport coaches. In October 2005 he became High Performance Manager with the New Zealand cricket team before being appointed as technical advisor to the Indian hockey teams in late 2007. He returned to Australian hockey in September 2008 to lead the Kookaburras.

Acknowledged as the best hockey player of his generation, Charlesworth represented Australia 227 times in an illustrious playing career spanning 17 years from his debut in 1972 to his retirement following the 1988 Olympic Games. In all, he was selected for five Olympic Games and competed at four [Australia boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow], winning the silver medal in 1976 in Montreal. He was appointed captain of the Kookaburras in 1977 and led the team through to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1986, he played a critical role in Australia’s first ever World Cup title win, finishing as the tournament’s leading scorer and being named ‘player of the tournament’.

A doctor of medicine, from 1972-1979 Charlesworth combined his hockey career with one playing state cricket for Western Australia in which he scored 2327 runs in 47 First Class matches.

In 1983, while playing for the Kookaburras, Charlesworth, representing the Australian Labor Party, was elected as the Federal Member for Perth. He served as a Member of Parliament until 1993 when he left politics to become coach of the Hockeyroos.

On Twitter: #Charlesworth @HockeyAustralia @Kookaburras
Ric Charlesworth’s career highlights

Athletic career

1972-1979: Cricket – represented Western Australia in 47 First Class matches, scoring 2327 runs and taking 35 catches.

27 August 1972: Hockey – made international debut in a 0-0 draw with New Zealand in the opening match of the Olympic Games in Munich.

October 1988: Hockey – went on to make 227 appearances for Australia before retiring from international hockey following 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands in the Olympic Games bronze medal match.

Olympic Games: 1972 (5th), 1976 (silver medal), 1980 (Australia boycotted), 1984 (4th), 1988 (4th)

World Cup: 1975 (5th), 1978 (bronze medal), 1982 (bronze medal), 1986 (gold medal)
Leading goal scorer and voted best player at 1986 World Cup. Named in World XI for fifth time.

Champions Trophy: 1980 (bronze medal), 1981 (silver medal), 1982 (silver medal), 1983 (gold medal), 1985 (gold medal), 1988 (bronze medal)

Coaching career
1993-2000: National coach of the Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos
2001-2002: Performance consultant, Fremantle Dockers Football Club
2005-2007: High Performance Manager, New Zealand cricket team
2007-2008: Technical Advisor, Indian hockey teams
2008-present: National coach of the Australian men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras
As Hockeyroos coach: 251 matches, 195 wins, 27 draws and 29 defeats
Olympic Games: 1996 (gold medal), 2000 (gold medal)
World Cup: 1994 (gold medal), 1998 (gold medal)
Commonwealth Games: 1998 (gold medal)
Champions Trophy: 1993 (gold medal), 1995 (gold medal), 1997 (gold medal), 1999 (gold medal)

As Kookaburras coach: 179 matches, 138 wins, 20 draws and 21 defeats
Olympic Games: 2012 (bronze medal)
World Cup: 2010 (gold medal)
Commonwealth Games: 2010 (gold medal)
Champions Trophy: 2009 (gold medal), 2010 (gold medal), 2011 (gold medal), 2012 (gold medal)

Political career
1983: Elected Federal Member for Perth, representing Australian Labor Party
1983-1993: Member of Parliament

Published three books – ‘The Coach’, ‘Staying at the Top’ and ‘Shakespeare the Coach’

Awards and accolades
Western Australian Sportsman of the Year (1976, 1979, 1987)
Advance Australia Award (1984)
Western Australian Institute of Sport Hall of Champions (inducted 1985)
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (1987)
Sport Australia Hall of Fame (inducted 1987)
Western Australian Sports Champions of the Year Coach of the Year (1994-2000)
Australian Coaching Council Team Coach of the Year (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
Confederation of Australian Sport Coach of the Year (1996, 1997, 2000)
Australian Sports Medal (2000)
Western Australia Citizen of the Year (2001)
Hockey Australia Hall of Fame (inducted 2008)
WA Best Coach of the Year (2010)
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Coach of the Year (2010)

Hockey Australia media release

Ric Charlesworth quits as Australia coach

SYDNEY: Ric Charlesworth said on Wednesday he will step down as coach of the Australian men's field hockey team following this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Charlesworth, 62, will relinquish his position after six years in the role during which he led the Kookaburras to World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles, an Olympic bronze medal and four Champions Trophy gold medals.

"I believe it is the right time to re-assign my priorities for my family," Charlesworth said in a statement.

"I am no longer keen on spending up to three months a year away and overseas as one must do as the national coach of the Kookaburras.

"The Kookaburras are in good shape and can be further refreshed by a new head coach as they head towards the Rio Olympics."

Under Charlesworth, Australia returned to the top of the world rankings in 2010, five years after they last held the number one spot.

Charlesworth represented Australia 227 times in a playing career spanning 17 years from his debut in 1972 to his retirement following the 1988 Olympic Games.

He also was the coach of the Australian women's field hockey team from 1993-2000 and a technical advisor to Indian field hockey teams from 2007-08.

The Times of India

Women's League Finals Weekend Preview

Reading v Clifton - Susie Gilbert

With the top four from the Investec Women’s Premier League now decided, attention turns to the Finals weekend at Reading Hockey Club on the 12-13 April.

Canterbury will face Clifton in the first semi-final after Steve Rixon’s team held off a strong challenge from Bowdon Hightown and Leicester to secure the final play-off place, while second-placed Reading will take on Surbiton. With the plethora of internationals on show it promises to be an action packed weekend of top class hockey.

Canterbury, who missed out on top spot last season with a loss on the final day got the job done this time out to qualify for Europe for the first time since 2007. The Polo Farm side have lost just twice in the league and have beaten play-off rivals Reading and Clifton (twice) and Surbiton (once). Jen Wilson’s team have built their success on a resolute defence conceding just 14 goals and keeping ten clean sheets with Mel Clewlow and Captain Grace Balsdon in particular outstanding for the Kent side.

“We’ve set ourselves high standards all season and we intend to maintain those.” said Player-Coach Wilson. “Clifton are a very tough side, well organised and hard to beat so it won’t be easy but we are going in with confidence and will hopefully get the result we need. We’re very pleased to be in the semi-finals. The opportunity to play on that stage against those players is fantastic and we are looking forward to it very much.”

Despite losing three of their four top scorers from the previous season, Canterbury have scored the third most goals in the league. Scotland star Nikki Kidd has led the way with 12 goals, whilst Kim Young and Wilson have chipped in with ten between them. Canterbury have proved they are a force to be reckoned with and so will take some stopping in the semi-finals.

Reading, who finished just a point behind the leaders return as defending champions and boast a squad packed with international stars. After their opening day defeat to Canterbury they went on an eight game unbeaten run, including wins over Surbiton, Leicester and Bowdon. That run came to a halt when they lost against Canterbury again but despite those setbacks, Steve Bayer’s side finished four points clear of third placed Surbiton. Despite their status as the current holders of the trophy, their captain, Emma Thomas is keen to stress that history counts for little:

“The past is the past and just because you won a trophy before it doesn’t mean anything. We need to prove ourselves all over again.” she said. “We have a quality group of players and we want to do ourselves justice so we are focused on the challenge ahead and we’re determined to show people what we can do.”

Reading come into the game with the most potent attack in the league, scoring 58 times in 18 games. Alex Danson has bagged 15 of those goals, making her the league’s top scorer but it has not all been about Danson. The Great Britain star has been ably supported by Susie Gilbert, Becky Halle, Leah Wilkinson and Jess Brooker who have supplied 23 goals between them. As well as contributing a useful goal tally, Wilkinson has been a defensive colossus and one of the league’s top performers helping to ensure Reading have conceded just 16 goals over the course of the season.

“We’re trying to keep improving every game so we can peak at the right time. We’re a big game team so hitting form at this stage is our aim and one of the most important factors for us.” said Thomas ahead of their clash with Surbiton. They may have had to settle for second place in the league but as they have proved time and time again, when the big occasion arrives Reading are rarely found wanting.

Brett Garrard’s Surbiton will face Reading by virtue of their third place finish in the league. They lost out to their semi-final opponents in the first half of the season but gained their revenge in early February as Sarah Page’s strike was enough to give them the three points. Having made it to the semi-finals last season, they come into this year’s competition with renewed confidence:

“The balance of our squad is better this year. We’ve got a good mix of international players and experienced club players. Players like Chloe Strong and Abi Walker add some huge value to us and the younger players give us a lot to be excited about. We’re better prepared for semi-finals having been there before so we’ll see what we can do.” said Surbiton coach Brett Garrard.

With nine wins and a draw in their last 12 games, including victories over all three of the other play-off challengers Surbiton come into the competition in fine form. Captain Chloe Strong, like her rivals, is all too aware of the importance of momentum:

“We’re peaking at the right time of the season; it’s looking good for us going into semi-finals. Last year stands us in good stead as the girls have another year’s experience under their belts and that’s what we needed. Getting to the semi-finals was our aim and with the run of form we’ve had we want to take that on a stage and get into Europe.”

Clifton are back in the semi-finals after a short absence, last qualifying in 2012. Steve Rixon’s side had to wait until the penultimate week to book their place in the top four but have richly deserved it after making themselves one of the toughest sides to beat in the division. They have taken points from both Reading and Surbiton this season, although they have suffered two defeats to their semi-final opponents Canterbury. Rixon has plenty of respect for the Kent side, saying “Canterbury will be a massive challenge. It’s a big stage and they’re a terrific side. You don’t win the league by accident, after all. We’ve not taken points off them this season but they’ve been close games. If we can take our chances on the day then who knows what could happen?”

Clifton have drawn a lot of praise for their approach this season, choosing to take games to their opponents, adopting the mantra that attack is the best form of defence. Captain Aileen Davis is adamant that will be no different for the big occasion:

“We go there with nothing to lose. This is one of the strongest groups since I’ve been here and so we’ll go out and go after the games like we always do. We’re at our best when we attack teams, we’re not a side who sits back and defends so we’re not going to change that because it’s the semi-finals.”

Whilst they may go in as underdogs, a tag Clifton are used to, Canterbury, Reading and Surbiton will know full well they cannot underestimate Rixon’s team who have every chance of getting to the final.

With just a point separating the top two and with both Surbiton and Clifton producing good results when it matters, it really is anybody’s to win. As is always the case, the league form goes out of the window and it is all about who rises to the occasion and produces their best in the semi-finals. 

England Hockey Board Media release

Harendra slams Glasgow Commonwealth Games organisers

Rohan Puri

NEW DELHI: Former India coach Harendra Singh slammed the organisers of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games for denying Harbir Singh Sandhu accreditation and said Indian players are not terrorists that they are subjected to such treatment.

"Such a thing is disheartening for the player. This statement has caused immense damage to Harbir and Hockey India. Are hockey players terrorists? Are we indulging in wrong sort of activities abroad? Absolutely not," Harendra Singh told TOI on Monday.

Harbir, whose name featured in the 28-member provisional list of men's hockey team for the Glasgow Games, was denied accreditation for the mega-event following a UK home office background check result.

Harendra said the organisers should have spoken to Hockey India or Indian Olympic Association before issuing such a statement. "This is just unbelievable and unacceptable," said Harendra.

He added that he fully supports the stance taken by Hockey India and Narinder Batra asking the IOA to withdraw the men's hockey team from the Commonwealth Games.

"I fully support Mr Batra's statement. Harbir has represented the country so many times and has traveled all over the world. On what grounds has he been denied accreditation?"

The Times of India

SSCB register second win in junior men's national hockey

CHENNAI: Service Sports Control Board (SSCB) thrashed Assam 7-0 to register their second consecutive win in the fourth Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2014 (Division B), on Tuesday.

In other matches of the day, Steel Plant Sports Board (SPSB), Bihar and Vidarbha Hockey Association (VHA) also emerged winners in their respective games.

In Pool C matches, SSCB scored two goals in the first half and five more after the crossover to register the convincing win over Assam, while Bihar beat Goa 9-3 in another ecnounter.

Meanwhile, SPSB mauled Uttarakhand by 14-0 in a Pool A match, while VHA beat Gujarat 4-2 in Pool B.

Results of the day: Pool A: Steel Plant Sports Board 14 Ashok Lakra (24th, 28th, 62nd and 67th minutes), Santosh Baxla (54th, 57th, 68th and 69th), Sanjiv Ekka (4th, 34th and 45th), Janma Majhi (6th), Anandkujur (42nd and 51st) vs Uttarakhand 0.

Pool B: Vidarbha Hockey Association 4 Gaurav Khuje (13th), Rizwan Sheikh (22nd and 26th), Prafulla Lohangare (60th) vs Gujarat 2 Peter Thomas (28th), Harshit Joshi (58th).

Pool C: Bihar 9 Subhash Sanga (6th, 10th and 66th), Bishram Dodray (59th and 65th), Anand Kumar Bara (16th, 38th and 60th), Mdshahbaz Khan (11th) vs Goa 3 Pandurang Sakhalkar (37th, 54th and 68th).

Service Sports Control Board 7 Anup Minj (63rd), Mangra Bhengra (61st), Naveen Minz (16th and 21st), Ramandeep (58th), Jitender (51st and 68th) vs Assam 0.

The Times of India

KL held but still top group

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Kuala Lumpur stayed alive for a berth in the boys’ semi-finals of the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships despite a 2-2 draw with Penang.

Penang stunned the city side on Tuesday by taking a 15th minute lead through a field goal by Mohamed Amirul Hamizan. But five-time champions KL managed to draw level in the 24th minute with Wan Haziq Hisyamuddin on target.

Wan Haziq again put his name on the score sheet in the 41st minute from a penalty corner rebound. It was his sixth goal of the tournament.

Penang, however, fought back to snatch a valuable point through Tengku Alif Haikal in the 61st minute.

Both KL and Penang have seven points each after three matches, but KL lead Group B on a better goal difference.

Terengganu missed the chance to top the standings after suffering a shock 3-2 loss to Johor, who had earlier lost both their two matches. Terengganu are third with six points and still in the fight for a last-four spot.

KL coach K. Embaraj was upset his team conceded two soft goals.

“We had the lead and should have capitalised on it. A mistake in the later stages of the match cost us victory. Luckily, we are still in the running for a semi-final berth. It will depend on our remaining two matches,” said the former international.

KL have a rest day on Wednesday and will play Terengganu on Thursday in a match that will decide at least one of the two semi-finalists. Penang play Sabah on Wednesday and have a chance of leading the group if they win.

“We must win both our matches against Terengganu and Kelantan. It is a must-win situation now as Terengganu are also one of the main contenders for the semi-finals. I hope the players will keep their concentration and improve on their game,” said Embaraj.

Against Johor, Terengganu took a two-goal lead through Mohamed Akhi Mullah (second minute) and Ahmad Taufik Mohamed Jamil (10th). But Mohamed Ramadan Arifin grabbed all the points for Johor by scoring a brace in the 14th and 62nd minutes. Mohamed Taufik Kamjan netted the other goal in the 39th minute.

The Star of Malaysia

Tired KL held by Penang

By Fadhli Ishak

AFTER a solid start to the tournament a lacklustre Kuala Lumpur were held to a 2-2 draw by Penang in the Milo-MHC National Under-16 tournament in Perlis yesterday.

Playing their third match in as many days at the Kangar Stadium, coach K. Embaraj said his boys failed to fully capitalise on the chances presented to them and had lacked consistency in the game.

"It was our third game and to be honest the boys did look a bit tired," said Embaraj.

"I think we did have our fair share of chances to win the game and did hit the post once but could not convert everything we had.

"I believe that Terengganu, besides Penang and us, are one of the genuine contenders for the title and will be a tough team.

"We have a day to rest before we play Terengganu on Thursday (tomorrow) which I think should be enough to get us back to our best."

KL, five time winners of the competition, had beaten Johor 2-1 on Sunday and drubbed Sabah 5-1 on Monday.

Defending champions Perak, who lost to Selangor on Monday, did not take to the field yesterday. They will play Kedah today.

RESULTS -- Boys' Group A: Perlis 4 Kedah 4; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 2 Penang 2, Sabah 3 Kelantan 2.

Girls' Group A: Pahang 4 Johor 3.

Today's fixtures -- Boys' Group A: Selangor v Pahang (7.15am), Perlis v Negri Sembilan (9am), Perak v Kedah (3.15pm); Group B: Sabah v Penang (5pm).

Girls' Group A: Penang v Kedah (7.30am), Terengganu v Johor (9am); Group B: Kuala Lumpur v Selangor (3.15pm), Kelantan v Perlis (5pm).

New Straits Times

Next door neighbours looking to grab World Cup honours

Both the German men and women are hoping to make it a World Cup treble

The second-ranked men's team and sixth-ranked women's teams from Germany always pose a threat at any major hockey tournament, although it is the men's team, who are current Olympic Champions, who are most likely to bring home the medals.

The men's team, which has won this competition on two previous occasions, have a depth of talent in their squad, including 2013 FIH Player of the Year, Tobias Hauke and the 2012 Young Player of the Year, Florian Fuchs. In addition, the man at the helm, coach Markus Weise, is as experienced as it gets. He is the only coach to win Olympic gold with both a men's and a women's team. The loss of Moritz Furste is a blow to the team, but with the strength in the ranks that Germany possesses, they should never be counted out of the running.

Like the men, the women's team have a good history in the World Cup, winning gold twice, but those successes came back in 1976 and 1981 and coach Jamilon Mulders will be feeling the time is right for a German resurgence. Captain of the team, Julia Muller is pleased with the way her team are shaping up for the tournament and says the squad contains a lot of members of the successful Junior World Cup team – giving the team an injection of youth to complement the experienced side.

Stalwart of the women's team Tina Bachman plays domestic hockey in the Dutch league, and for her the biggest thrill will be playing the Netherlands in front of a large home crowd: "I'm getting really excited now the World Cup is getting closer. There is still enough time to work on details and fine-tune our game. In general, I'm really looking forward to playing such a tournament in my second home."

FIH site

Heroes and household names

As excitement mounts for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, fans were treated to a hockey extravaganza earlier in this World Cup year

The international hockey stage traditionally has the World Cup, the Olympics, the Champion's Trophy and the Commonwealth Games, but if it is to attract a larger global audience, then hockey needs to appeal to a new group of fans, and this means turning top players into household names.

So the birth of the Hockey India League (HIL) in 2013 created the dose of fizz and personality that the sport was seeking. Based on the same concept as the IPL cricket tournament, the HIL occupies a 30-day window where the world's top players are signed up by six franchised teams to play in a home and away tournament, which culminates in a play-off for final rankings.

The players are drawn from around the globe: this year 96 Indian players and 57 players from other nations were part of the pre-tournament auction. India's Ramandeep Singh, was the most expensive player at USD $81,000, while New Zealand hockey legend, Ryan Archibald, was the most expensive overseas player: he was aucioned to the Kalinga Lancers for $71,000. The salary cap for each franchisee was $725,000.

As the bidding ended, the 33-year-old Black Sticks star said: "The Indians are known for playing pretty attractive, open and skilful hockey. It's all about getting out and putting on a good display and showing what you can do."

The tournament is set to expand further next year, with more players from other nations expected to make themselves available. German captain Max Muller said that the tournament had been a great experience for national goalkeeper, Nicolas Jacobi, who was widely credited with winning the title for Delhi Waveriders, thanks to his efforts during the penalty shoot-out in the final. "It is good for the 'keepers to face some of the best corner takers in the world at that stage of their preparations."

This year's HIL was seen as an improvement on the inaugural competition, largely because of the greater number of teams participating. This gave the players more time between matches to recover and, as a result, the matches were all very competitive.

Hockey India's high performance director Roel Oltmans was pleased with the performance of many of the young India players in the tournament. In 2013 Mandeep Singh had been the stand-out young player but Roel said that this year, despite the presence of international stars such as Jamie Dwyer (Punjab Warriors), Moritz Fuerste (Ranchi Rhinos) and Japp Stockmann (Punjab Warriors), several young India players had made a big impact on the matches. Akashdeep Singh (Delhi Waveriders), Nikkin Thimmaiah (Delhi Waveriders), Gurmail Singh (Punjab Warriors) and Lalit Upadhyay (Kalinga Lancers) were all singled out for praise.

However, the tournament also threw up a potential goalkeeping problem that the Indian coaching staff need to address before the Rabobank World Cup gets underway. "PR Sreejesh and Harjot Singh have done well but they aren't world class," Roel said.

One player who did become a fan's favourite during the HIL was Nicolas Jacobi. It is a well-known fact that Germany rarely lose shootouts in any sport and Nicolas said after the final that he had never lost a shoot out in his career. That's enough to send the other teams post haste to the practice ground.

FIH site

A Weise approach to the game

With three Olympic gold medals to his name, the German coach is an experienced campaigner at the top level

With just over two months until the start of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, we caught up with German coach Markus Weise to ask him how preparations were coming along for the second-ranked men's team.

"Preparations are coming along very well," said Markus, who is the only coach to have won Olympic gold medals with both a men's and a women's team – in 2012 and 2008 with the men and 2004 with the women. "In between tournaments and league games there is miraculously still plenty of room for training. Prior to the World Cup we will play South Africa, Belgium, Malaysia, and the Netherlands."

Although he is a steely competitor when pitch side, away from the hockey arena Markus is relaxed and communicative. When asked about team building between now and June, he replied: "As usual, the boys will do all the hard training and the coaching staff will have all the fun. Or to put it more seriously, every nation will turn up with a strong team, the question will be: 'who has the outstanding team? This is hard to achieve. Over the course of the tournament this will be revealed and they will be the ones to take the crown from the Hague."

Markus' ability to get the most from his players when it matters most was demonstrated in the 2013 Junior World Cup. A poor start, which saw them lose to Belgium in the opening pool match was soon forgotten as the German Under 21 team swept all before them, scoring five goals against France in the final.

The German men's team recently lost their place at the top of the world rankings to Australia, courtesy of a below-par performance at the Hockey World League Finals in Delhi. Speaking after the event, Markus was sanguine about the drop in ranking, but what are his expectations going into the World Cup? "To me expectations are not of any great interest. I prepare my team in training with the help of my outstanding staff and we coach the team throughout the tournament. Expectations seem to be of great interest to many people, but for me there is not much time to think about the question of great expectations."

FIH site

Irish Hockey Team Up With PledgeSports for Road To Rio

Irish Hockey are delighted to announce their partnership with innovative sports crowdfunding platform PledgeSports. Both the Men’s and Women’s National Hockey Teams will be utilising this fresh concept in order to raise funds to take them to Rio in 2016. Each of the squads were agonisingly close to qualifying for the London Olympics in 2012 and they have their eyes firmly fixed on the Rio Olympics in 2016. They are doing everything they can at this time to ensure qualification, leaving nothing to chance.

The Irish Hockey Women’s team are the first to appear on www.pledgesports.org, but the men’s campaign will go live tomorrow.  Both teams have key events on the horizon, the first being the Champions Challenge IInternational Tournament. The funding raised for these teams via PledgeSports will be used for, competing internationally, additional training and support to give both teams a vital edge as they prepare for world tournaments and the qualification stages on the Road To Rio.

Through the use of PledgeSports, individuals or businesses can pledge any amount ranging from 10Euro through to 3,000Euro. The rewards to the individual / business correlate with the amount pledged – including anything from a signed hockey ball to branding on the Ireland jersey or advertising on the hockey.ie website. PledgeSports is unique as it unites sports people, teams and clubs with their supporters and corporate sponsors online. This is a great opportunity for fans and support to get behind an Irish team and also makes it a very exciting and viable sponsorship opportunity for businesses, as a result of direct communication and enhanced exposure.

Commenting on the new initiative, coach Darren Smith said “This is a fantastic opportunity to get on board with the Green Army team as we push toward qualification for Rio 2016 Olympics. Any support that you can give through Pledge Sports will allow us to spend that extra day, week or month in camp preparing to help make this dream a reality.”

Richard Pearson PledgeSports commented on the new partnership “We are delighted to be working with Hockey Ireland on this project, this is a great way for fans to get behind a team and show their support, everyone wants to see Irish athletes and teams in Rio 2016, through PledgeSports they can now directly participate”

The Women’s International team is supported by long term Sponsor Electric Ireland and both teams are also supported by the Irish Sports Council. However, Irish Hockey see this partnership with PledgeSports as an opportunity to leave nothing to chance when it comes to the  best preparation possible for getting these two teams into the Olympics.

Link to the project https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/national-womens-team/

Irish Hockey Association media release

High School Student Makes Waves in Hawaii with Aloha Hockey

Katie Meyer tells her story of moving across an ocean, from Ohio to Hawaii, and bringing the game she loves with her.

I picked up a field hockey stick for the first time in my life after moving to Toledo, Ohio in 7th grade. After two years of middle school hockey and discovering my passion for the game, I played varsity at my high school, Maumee Valley Country Day, participated in the Futures program and played for Pinnacle Field Hockey Club under Nancy Cox in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Pinnacle club team was one of the best things that happened to me throughout high school. I’d look forward to the two-hour drive up and back to Ann Arbor every week for practices. The group of girls I played with had been part of the first Pinnacle club team Coach Nancy had ever taken to the Disney Showcase and other USA Field Hockey events, something I’m so proud of and thankful to have been part of.

When my parents told me we were moving to Hawaii the summer before my senior year, I thought I’d be leaving behind my entire world. Just that past year, as a junior, I was captain of my varsity team and led them to the elite eight of the state tournament with a goal of reaching the championship game my senior year. On top of that, I would be leaving behind Pinnacle and Futures.

I knew that I needed field hockey to be a part of my life in Hawaii, even though I wasn’t entirely certain of whether or not I, personally, would have a place and group of people to play with on the island. When I went to the 2012 National Futures Tournament, I passed by the FUNdamental Field Hockey table and started thinking that even if field hockey wasn't in Hawaii currently, maybe I could bring it to the island through a youth program. I went back to the table, told them my situation and pitched the idea of FUNdamental Field Hockey in Honolulu, Hawaii, aka “Aloha Hockey”.

The idea really developed because of endless opportunities I had through field hockey. I thought back to the opportunities my high school team, Futures and Nancy Cox at Pinnacle provided me with on the field, and I wanted to give back to the game that gave me so much. Once my family was settled in Honolulu, I started reaching out to local schools and programs.

I wanted kids on the island to have the chance to gain exposure to a new sport and find a passion. I knew that if we focused on growing the game through younger kids in the local schools, they would have a chance to develop a love for the sport and play for the rest of their lives.

In Hawaii, I researched field hockey, hunting for somewhere, somebody, people who played field hockey so I could play. Eventually, I found them and rode my bike to play scrimmages twice a week. I played with people from all over the world—Germany, Brazil, India—and others who had played collegiately. The scrimmages were more than I ever thought I’d be playing in Hawaii.

One of the main challenges of bringing field hockey to Hawaii was convincing people the worth of having field hockey at their school or as a part of their club. After I convinced FUNdamental Field Hockey that shipping equipment across the ocean to Hawaii was a wise investment, I had to reach out as a newcomer to different schools to discuss the possibility of introducing field hockey to their students.

Convincing people that a sport they had never heard of was something worthwhile to their students took much more time and effort than I had originally assumed, and I was turned down by several schools and programs. Hitting these roadblocks was frustrating and difficult, but I continued to reach out to people because of my passion for field hockey and desire to make a difference in growing the game. However, eventually, I learned to get in touch with the right people and convinced them that field hockey is always worth it.

I worked with local Physical Education teachers to really bring the game to students and I was able to coach during my free periods. The Punahou School and my high school were right across the street from one another. During my free periods, I would run across the street with the equipment, coach and then run back to make my next class!

In total, I brought field hockey to four different schools, Punahou School, Maryknoll School, Washington Middle School and Central Middle School in Honolulu, Hawaii. I hosted day clinics with Boy Scouts of America and Boys and Girls Club of Kailua, Hawaii and I donated equipment to both Washington Middle School and Central Middle School. Watching kids grow and develop every week, and develop a true love for the game was the most rewarding aspect of the whole journey.

Aside from Aloha Field Hockey, I was still in the midst of searching for a college. As a Fall semester senior, my list was down to my top choices. I’d already told them of my situation, and the ones that were doubtful were the schools I knew wouldn’t work for me. Although, it was certainly hard letting some fall off my list, I knew the school where I was meant to be would understand the reality of my situation.

Many people doubted me in my move to Hawaii and assumed I was giving up on everything I had worked so hard for in field hockey. I quickly realized that when you love something as much as I love field hockey, there are no excuses for not chasing after your dreams and reaching your goals. I had already been through so many obstacles that I knew this was just one more to overcome, and with the help of my family, friends and supporters, I did just that.

I played in scrimmages; I worked on my sticks skills and played in my backyard with my brothers. When November rolled around, I was even able to attend the National Hockey Festival with Pinnacle thanks to the graciousness and kindness of Coach Nancy, as a final step in my recruiting process. When I took the field with Pinnacle, it was as if I had never left. Eventually and after a lot of hard work, the pieces fell together and I found the perfect fit in a school. Today, I currently play for Hobart & William Smith College in in Geneva, N.Y.

The last few years have been a wild, exciting and sometimes difficult ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. The experiences I had with Aloha Hockey will remain some of my fondest memories, and at the end of the day, I was able to share my love of the game with students who otherwise would have never been exposed to the sport and continue playing at a collegiate level. I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone who helped me along the way, especially my ever-supportive family, Coach Nancy and all those in Hawaii who gave me a chance even when it seemed like a long shot.

USFHA media release

Undervalued Soft Skills and the knowledge gap it has created

By Shiv Jagday, FIH Coach                                   

Purpose of this article:   

  • Review the current trends of the game and the direction in which it is going, while comparing the application of Hard and Soft skills
  • Ability of the players to anticipate and recognize the fast changing  “Patterns of Play” or recalling them wisely, offensively and defensively


The game of hockey has improved and advanced tremendously in most departments, during the past few decades. There are very many more positives to talk about and cherish than the negatives. It is a beauty to see how the teams knit so many passes to gather, with such ease and grace, especially, when not under pressure. Thanks to the innovative strategies of circulating the ball in the back, no obstruction rule and intelligent running off the ball, by the players individually and as a team.

Knowledge gap: What needs to be improved to take the game to the next level?
Click below to download the full article.

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