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News 27 March 2014

All the news for Thursday 27 March 2014

Charlesworth's final flourish

Kookaburra's coach announces retirement after Rabobank Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games

"When I was coaching the Hockeroos in the 90s, we changed the coaching environment." So said Ric Charlesworth as he attended a press conference announcing his planned retirement from the game following this year's World Cup and Commonwealth Games. Coming from anyone else, the words might sound boastful, but in Ric's case, it is true.

Since taking on the men's team in 2010, Ric has led the Kookaburras to World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles, an Olympic bronze and four Champions Trophy gold medals. Prior to that, he was coach to the women's national team, picking up two Olympic gold medals, two World Cup gold medals, one Commonwealth Games gold and four Champions Trophy gold medals.

Ric made his decision some weeks ago, but said he had been considering stepping down for a couple of years. "Six years is as long as you should do this job," he said, and explained that he wanted to give more time to his wife, children and grandchildren. "Being a national coach takes huge commitment. You are away from home for three months a year, and when you are away with the team it is a 24/7 job."

Cam Vale, the chief executive officer of Hockey Australia said "Ric's life working as an elite athlete coach, federal politician and doctor is remarkable. He is without doubt one of the greatest coaches in Australian sporting history. The board and I were keen for Ric to continue beyond the Commonwealth Games, but my best powers of persuasion were unsuccessful."

One of the trademarks of Ric's coaching style has been the flexibility of his approach. Under his coaching, players could play a number of roles on pitch, and he was a great advocate of mentally working out problems on the pitch. "To me goal-scoring is a puzzle to be worked out. That's what makes the game so interesting."

With Australia the number one ranked men's team going into the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, Ric could ask for no sweeter ending to his career than one more World Cup gold medal.

FIH site

Business as usual despite Charlesworth quitting: White

Wollongong hockey star Tristan White says Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth won't let 2014 turn into a farewell tour after the legendary coach announced on Tuesday his intention to stand down after this year's Commonwealth Games.

Charlesworth, who coached the Hockeyroos to consecutive Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000, took the reins of the Kookaburras in 2009 and guided them to victories in every major tournament - barring the London Olympics - in his five-year reign.

That includes World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles and four consecutive Champions Trophies.

The world No 1 Kookaburras will be among the favourites for gold at the 2016 Olympics but the 61-year-old, despite concerted pleas from Hockey Australia to stay on, said he doesn't have the necessary drive to continue to Rio de Janeiro.

"I think coaches can stay for too long in the job and teams need to be continually refreshed and if you are in the job you have to have the life and energy to do that," he said.

"I have that at the moment for this job but I don't imagine it would have the same importance for me if I was to continue for another couple of years."

White credits Charlesworth with changing his attitude to the sport after handing him his national debut in 2012.

"In Australian sport he's one of the ultimate coaches," White said.

"You see everything he's done and it's pretty amazing to be coached by that type of guy.

"He knows how to get the best out of people mentally.

"I was getting in a bit of trouble on and off the field and he's changed my attitude in terms of my training and my commitment to the game.

"I think he's turned me from someone that was just playing the sport because I was good at it to someone who really wants to keep playing and have a long career in hockey.

"That's his strength as a coach."

Sure to go down as one of Australian sport's best coaches, Charlesworth will be hard to replace but White said the veteran mentor won't let his departure distract the Kookaburras as they prepare for a World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this year.

"He always says he doesn't want us to win these tournaments for him, he always speaks about being the best team we can be," White said.

"There's also a lot of other guys in the team who might be finishing up soon and we want to send everyone out on a high but we always want to perform as well as we can all the time.

"It's hard to replace Ric, he's one of a kind and you might not get a coach like that for another 50 years.

"But whoever comes in the structures are in place. They'll bring their own ideas and we'll still be successful."

Hockey Asia

Felix appointed India coach

Jude Felix.

Olympian and former India captain Jude Felix was, on Wednesday, appointed coach of the National men’s hockey team.

He will be on probation for three months. Felix, an accomplished centre-half, played more than 250 international matches and represented the country in the Olympics (1988, 1992), World Cups (1990, 1994), Asian Games (1990, 1994) and Champions Trophy (1985, 1987 and 1989).

He worked as a player-cum-coach with the Paris-based Racing Club, which took part in the French League and European League, from 1997 to 2000 and Singapore Recreation Club from 1995 to 1997 and 2001 to 2011.

During his stint in Singapore, he was adjudged Coach-of-the-year in 2005 and 2007.

Felix, who will work under chief coach Terry Walsh, is all set to join the ongoing training camp here on Thursday.

The Hindu

Jude Felix is new coach of senior men hockey team: Hockey India

NEW DELHI: Former India captain Jude Felix has been appointed as coach of the senior men's national hockey team and the Olympian will work under Chief Coach Terry Walsh, Hockey India (HI) said on Wednesday.

Felix will join the training camp of the senior men hockey team tomorrow at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here for preparations of the FIH Men's World Cup 2014 to be held at The Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

He is appointed on a probationary period of three months with the senior men hockey team.

Speaking about the appointment, Felix said: "I am coming with the vast years of my playing and coaching experience at different levels. I am confident that I will be able to make a contribution to players individually and team as a whole.

"Working with two great coaches in Roelant Oltmans and Terry Walsh, I am looking forward to learning from them and passing on the knowledge to as many coaches as possible in India."

Dr Narinder Batra, Secretary General, Hockey India said: "We are pleased to appoint Jude Felix as the Coach of the Senior Men National Hockey Team. The players are very excited about the FIH Men's World Cup and are practicing rigorously in the preparatory camp.

"The appointment of Jude will help the players to use his vast experience of playing at various international and domestic tournaments and his vast experience will be an added advantage for the preparation of the upcoming world cup.

Felix is an Arjuna Awardee (1995) and was the captain of the Indian Team from 1993-95. He also led Indian team in the 1993 World Cup and in the Asian Games in 1994 at Hiroshima.

Felix has played more than 250 international matches and represented India in two Olympic Games in 1988 (Korea) and 1992 (Barcelona), two World Cups in 1990 (Pakistan) and 1994 (Sydney), two Asian Games in 1990 (Beijing) and 1994 (Hiroshima) and three Champions Trophy in 1985 (Australia), 1987 (Pakistan) and 1989 (Berlin).

He has also worked as player cum coach with Racing Club in Paris (European league and French League) in 1997 -2000. He also worked as the coach of Dutch U-18 National Team in the Leo Van Der Kar in 1997.

Felix has worked as a player cum coach with Singapore Recreation Club from 1995- 1997 and 2001-2011. During this period, he has been awarded as Coach of the year in 2005 and 2007 by the Singapore Sports Council.

The Times of India

Joaquim surprised by Felix's appointment as hockey coach

MUMBAI: Former national hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho today expressed surprise at the appointment of his ex-teammate Jude Felix as an additional coach of the men's team, saying there were already quite a few others donning the same role.

"I would like to know what will be the specific role of Jude Felix as the team already has the likes of Terry Walsh as chief coach and M K Kaushik and Sandeep Sangwan as the other coaches," Carvalho said.

Hockey India announced today the two-time Olympian will be assisting Australian Walsh.

"I would also like to know whether Walsh talked to Kaushik and Sangwan on wanting to have Felix added to the staff," said the former Olympian.

"V Baskaran had also been roped in to coach the team some time ago and I wonder what has happened to him," Carvalho said.

Another Olympian Mervyn Fernandes termed Felix's appointment, albeit for just three months on a probationary basis, as "an interesting change in the coaching staff".

"Jude always wanted to coach and has got experience of doing this in Singapore. His achievements as a player were good. He is also younger and should be having an idea of latest style of play," said the former inside forward.

Felix will join the training camp of the senior men's hockey team tomorrow at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi for preparing it for the World Cup to be held in the Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

The Times of India

NOW: Pensions Play-Off battle starts on Sunday

Surbiton v Sheffield - Martin Sutherland

Sunday 30 March at Cannock HC marks the beginning of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Play-Offs, where the top teams from the three conferences and the ninth-place team from the Premier Division face off against each other, vying either for Premier Division glory or to avoid relegation.

In the NOW: Pensions Play-Off Tournament the three winning NOW: Pensions Conference sides join the team finishing in ninth place in the NOW: Pensions Premier Division for a four team round robin tournament, with the top two teams claiming NOW: Pensions Premier Division places for the next season.

While the majority of the games will be played over the League Finals weekend, to fit them all in some of the games will be played this Sunday at Cannock. Here you'll find all the competitiors for this season, and below the match schedule for this Sunday:

NOW: Pensions Conference East champions – Southgate
From Conference East the team to beat is Southgate, who were in the running alongside fellow high-flyers Holcombe but managed to pip them at the post to take the coveted top spot. The North London side boast both the highest number of goals scored in the Conference and the least conceded. One player to keep an eye out for is goalkeeper Chris Hibbert, who’s been staunchly defending Southgate’s goal for ten years and, now in his final season for the North London side, he will be hoping to see his team promoted back into the top flight after only one season away.

NOW: Pensions Conference North champions – Brooklands MU
Conference North has seen Brooklands MU top the table in style, three points ahead of their closest competitors and six points ahead two weeks before the league ended, guaranteeing their place in the play-offs and just waiting to see who they’d be up against. They’re no strangers to Finals Weekend, having been in them four times since 2007 and Conference North top scorer Peter Flanagan will be hoping he can fire home in a few more penalty corners for his side in the deciding fixtures.

NOW: Pensions Conference West champions – Cardiff & Met
Cardiff & Met will be the Conference West representative for a second consecutive year as they get another chance to vie for Premier Division status. Their presence was decided in the final weekend through a close win at Havant – if they’d drawn or lost they could have been overtaken by Team Bath Buccaneers, who have been two points down and nipping at Cardiff & Met’s heels for weeks. The Welsh side will no doubt approach the Finals Weekend with the same style of play which earned them the Conference title; this approach takes the form of a very solid defence having conceded just 16 goals across the whole season, and none since the league restarted in February; a number which cannot be matched by any other side across the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League.

NOW: Pensions Premier Division ninth place – Sheffield Hallam
The final contender in this year’s play-offs is Sheffield Hallam, who will be fighting to keep their place in the top flight, as the Yorkshire side finished ninth in the Premier Division. They’ve been trailing for much of the season, but a final weekend switch with Loughborough Students handed them a lifeline and a chance to remain in the division as they narrowly avoided finishing tenth and being automatically relegated. As they were only promoted last season, they’ll be going into the play-offs to prove that they still belong in the Premier Division above the Conference challengers.

We can’t say who we think will win in the Play-Offs, but that shouldn’t stop you from making your voices heard. Take to Twitter and Facebook to voice your opinion, or take yourselves down to the League Finals Weekend where the final matches will be played and you can cheer your teams in person!

Sunday 30 March at Cannock HC

1230 - NPMHL Play-Offs Match 1
Brooklands MU (North) v Sheffield Hallam (Premier)

1430 - NPMHL Play-Offs Match 2
Southgate (East) v Cardiff & Met (West)

England Hockey Board Media release

Investec Play-Off battle starts this Sunday

Jane Sixsmith, Sutton Coldfield

This Sunday the Investec Women’s Hockey League Play-Offs starts at Cannock HC, as four teams take to the pitch to fight for the top flight. Three teams are there for promotion, while one is avoiding relegation, so all have a lot to play for.

In the Investec Women's Hockey League Play-Offs the three winning Investec Conference sides join the team finishing in ninth place in the Investec Premier Division for a four team round robin tournament, with the top two teams claiming Investec Premier Division places for the next season. Here's this season's competitors and what they'll be bringing to the tournament.

Investec Conference East champions - Holcombe
First we look to Conference East, where Holcombe have made the play-offs with the help of England internationals Laura Unsworth and Maddie Hinch. Having only conceded 11 goals this season, less than half their nearest rivals, Holcombe will be aiming to continue this trend heading into the play-offs while scoring more than a few goals of their own.

Investec Conference North champions - Brooklands Poynton
In the Conference North Brooklands Poynton join their counterpart men’s team (Brooklands MU) in playing for their respective Premier Division. Brooklands Poynton have already had a taste of the Premier Division, having been relegated at the end of the 2009/10 season. With the narrowest victory out of all the Conference winners, Brooklands Poynton will have to bring their best if they’re to make it back to the top division.

Investec Conference West champions - Buckingham
From Conference West Buckingham are making their fourth successive appearance at the Play-Offs, never having managed to earn promotion – will this be their year? Finishing four points ahead of Slough, their closest rivals in the Conference, they’re heading into the play-offs from a strong position and off the back of a final win against Gloucester City.

Investec Premier Division ninth place - Sutton Coldfield
The ninth-place team from the Premier Division is Sutton Coldfield, saved from automatic relegation by Olton and West Warwicks but in no way out of the woods. With only three victories under their belt this season, they’ll have a fight on their hands if they want to hold on to their place in the Premier Division. They’ve managed for the past three years, earning their place in 2010, so they’ll know what’s needed to stay in the top-flight.

That’s all the teams for the Play-Offs, but who do you think will find themselves in the Premier Division once the dust has settled? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, then come to the League Finals Weekend to see your teams in person and cheer them on from the sidelines!

Sunday 30 March at Cannock HC

1230 - IWHL Play-Offs Match 1
Holcombe (East) v Sutton Coldfield (Prem)

1430 - IWHL Play-Offs Match 2
Buckingham (West) v Brooklands Poynton (North)

England Hockey Board Media release

Irish Hockey League Round 5 & Finals Weekend

After 4 back to back weekends of Irish Hockey League action the final round is upon us. All men’s games set for 1pm and all women’s for 3pm. Most of the finalists are already decided with the top two too far out of reach of those chasing up from 3rd bar Pool A in the men’s which still has all to play for. In pool B Monkstown & Banbridge are too far ahead of the pack even as they face each other this weekend to determine who will emerge from the Pool in 1st & 2nd place. Over to the women its Railway and UCD coming out of Pool A while Pegasus and Loreto will emerge from Pool B, all for the finals weekend on the 5th & 6th April at Banbridge Hockey Club. (Winner from Pool A plays the Runner-up from Pool B and the Winner from Pool B plays the Runner-up from Pool A. The winners of which go onto play in the final Sunday 6th April 2014) schedule below.


Saturday 29th March

13:00 Cork Harlequins vs Instonians
13:00 Lisnagarvey vs Cookstown
13:00 Pembroke Wanderers vs Three Rock Rovers


Saturday 29th March

13:00 Cork Church of Ireland vs Annadale
13:00 Banbridge vs Monkstown
13:00 UCD vs Corinthian


Saturday 29th March

15:00 Catholic Institute vs Lurgan
15:00 Hermes Hockey Club vs Greenfields
15:00 Railway Union vs UCD


Saturday 29th March

15:00 Ards vs Old Alex
15:00 Cork Harlequins vs Ballymoney
15:00 Loreto Hockey Club vs Pegasus

SEMI FINALS Saturday 5th April

10.30am (Ladies) 12.30pm (Ladies)
15.00pm (Men’s) 17.00pm (Men’s)

FINALS Sunday 6th April
13.30 Women's Final
16.00 Men's Final

Ulster (5): - Ulster Elks
Leinster(5): Old Alexandra
Munster(3): Catholic Institute
Connacht(2): Final match Sunday 30th to determine 2nd Place between NUIG and Galway

Saturday 12th April
Ulster Elks (H) vs Old Alexandra (A)
Catholic Institute (H) vs Connacht 2 (A)

Sunday 13th April
IHL Wildcard Decider, Dublin - venue tbc
Note the men's Wildcard Decider will precede the women's game.

The wildcard play-off matches are played in accordance to the FIH Rules of Hockey (and any experimental rules agreed by IHA). In the case of a drawn match, extra time (Silver Goal, 5 minutes each way, followed by penalty strokes) will apply.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Oman Hockey Association plans for ‘Mission Asiad’

Following Oman's excellent performance in the Asian Games Qualifier in Bangladesh, the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) is drawing a plan ahead of the 2014 Asiad set to be held in South Korea from September 19 to October 4.

Speaking to Times Sporton Monday, OHA General Secretary Redha Taqi Al Lawati said arrangements have been made to help the national team achieve success at the Asian Games. "We are doing everything possible to help our team achieve good results in the Asian Games," Redha said.

As part of the plan, the team will undergo external training camps in Germany and the Netherlands.

"We have not yet decided on the itinerary but this is one part of the plan to send the team for a rigorous training camps in Germany and Holland," he noted.

Oman won four games in the eight-nation Asian Games Qualifier in Dhaka before losing to Bangladesh in the title decider on Sunday. In the qualifying matches, Oman beat Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka, Qatar and Singapore. In Sunday's final, Oman lost to Bangladesh 6-1.

OHA officials are satisfied with the performance of the Oliver Kurtz-coached team. "We are extremely happy with the performance of our team and, more than that, we are satisfied with the progress they are making as a team," Redha said.

According to Redha, the timing of the title decider could have affected Oman's show against Bangladesh.

"They were playing so well in all the games and, therefore, going down 6-1 was rather unfortunate," Redha said. "I think it has mostly to do with the timing of the matches. There should have been a break before the title decider. With four consecutive games at a stretch, I feel our players may have been tired but we will have to wait and see the coach's report to know what went wrong," he informed.

"Bangladesh was playing on their home turf and thus the advantage was with them. We wasted 12 short corners. That is something strange," he said.

"But we are pleased with the performance. The boys are doing extremely well and the level of their playing skills has certainly improved. We look forward to a good show in South Korea during the Asian Games," Redha added.

'Work harder for Asiad'

Meanwhile, hockey veteran Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi urged the Oman team to work hard to face some of the toughest teams from the continent at the Asian Games. "If they want to survive in the Asian Games against them, they need to seriously improve their level of playing," the former Oman coach said.

According to Naqvi, six Asian teams that include India, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, China and host South Korea could prove a stiff challenge for Oman.

"They are the best sides in Asia and could prove a big challenge for Oman. There is no doubt that we have good talents and they have done well in the qualifier but they need to work hard for a better performance in the Games," Naqvi added.

Hockey Asia

FIH rule change brings action in hockey

Former Pakistan hockey captain Olympian Samiullah Khan Tuesday hailed the change of rule by International Hockey Federation (FIH) of restricting the game to 60 minutes with four halves of 15 minutes each. “This rule change will bring more action, more scoring and productivity in the field of hockey,” he told APP in an interview here on his return from Islamabad after he was conferred with Sitra-e-Imtiaz by President Mamnoon Hussain alongwith fellow Olympians Hasan Sardar and Hanif Khan on Pakistan Day.

FIH recently announced to reduce the game from 70-minute to 60 with four breaks instead of traditional one interval. This rule will come into force shortly.

Samiullah believed change will be good in some aspects. But at the same time it will reduce the skills and classic hockey and will make it a power play.

He said change in rule will create more importance of penalty corners.

“In coming months we will see larger number of goals particularly through penalty corner conversion,” he pointed out.

He called upon the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) he immediately launch planning of introducing this new rule which will help in preparing new breed of players.

Samiullah titled “Flying Horse” for his speed, said the new rule put more burden and load on the coaches in preparing plan and training the boys with new vision and ideas.

“Besides putting a great load on coaches, rule of goalkeepers will increase tremendously,” he said.

He said in a such scenario it will be important for Pakistan to bring in fore good penalty corner strikers.

“A lot of perfection is required in PC conversion,” Samiullah said.

He said despite serious decline in hockey, if dedicated and devoted person with right approach, Pakistan can still regained its lost glory internationally in four to five.

He said President Mamnoon Hussain expressed his keenness for the revival of Pakistan hockey Legendary winger Sami said, he said hockey could be put back on the track with serious and dedicated approach and long term planning.

Hockey Asia

Selangor and Penang move into semis

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor and Penang have qualified for the boys’ semi-finals of the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships in Kangar.

Selangor booked their berth after a 2-2 draw with Pahang in a Group A match at the Kangar Hockey Stadium on Wednesday. The draw gave Selangor 10 points.

Selangor took the lead through Mohamned Syazwan in the 16th minute off a penalty corner. But Pahang were back on level terms in the 22nd minute with Mohamed Haikal netting a field goal. Syazwan was again on target with another penalty corner in the 46th minute but Pahang managed to steal a point through an equaliser by Mohamed Amirul Firdaus in the 70th minute.

Defending champions Perak, second on nine points, will take on third-placed Negri Sembilan, on seven points on Thursday to decide the other semi-finalist from the group.

Perak easily whipped Kedah 4-0, thanks to a brace by Mohamed Alif Ikhmal in the 19th and 38th minutes. Mohamed Nazrul and Mohamed Nur Asyraff contributed the other goals.

Perak assistant team manager Hairul Nizam Rani was pleased his team managed to score a convincing win.

“The players were more settled today and we took our chances well. But there are still areas we need to improve on. The match with Negri Sembilan will now be the deciding tie. We need a win or at least a draw to qualify for the last four,” he said.

Penang confirmed their semi-final spot when they whipped Sabah 4-0 to top Group B with 10 points after four matches.

Mohamed Amirul Hamizan was the hero for Penang, scoring in the fifth, 12th and 32nd minutes for his hat-trick. Ahmad Fauzan scored the fourth goal in the 62nd minute.

The Star of Malaysia

Strong comeback by Perak

By Fadhli Ishak

DEFENDING champions Perak bounced back from a surprise defeat to Selangor on Monday with a decisive 4-0 victory over Kedah in the Milo-MHC National Under-16 tournament in Perlis yesterday.

Perak were in full control in the Group A encounter with a brace of field goals from Muhd Aliff Ikhemal Zamri in the 19th and 38th minutes as well as a 55th minute strike from Muhammad Nazrul Ashraf (field goal) and a Muhammad Nur Asyraf Ishak penalty corner two minutes later giving them a comfortable win at the Kangar Stadium.

Coach Mohd Azlan Ahmad said a day's rest since their 3-2 loss to Selangor had given the team a chance to recover and work on their weaknesses.

"They boys were a different side today (yesterday). We took our chances well and I am especially happy we managed to score from a penalty corner," said Mohd Azlan.

"We controlled the game from start to finish and it is good to see that we have overcome the weaknesses we had in the Selangor game.

"We held the upper hand in that match (against Selangor) but could not make it count while they were decisive in front of goal."

Mohd Azlan added that Perak's game against Negri today will be a stiff test for his charges.

"Negri are a formidable side who are strong in penalty corner situations and have one or two really good players who can lead the pack."

Fellow contenders Penang were equally impressive in a 4-0 win over Sabah.

Results -- Boys' Group A: Perak 4 Kedah 0, Selangor 2 Pahang 2, Negri Sembilan 2 Perlis 1; Group B: Penang 4 Sabah 0.

Girls Group A: Johor 5 Terengganu 1, Kedah 1 Penang 0; Group B: Selangor 3 Kuala Lumpur 2, Kelantan 4 Perlis 0;

Today -- Boys' (Kangar Stadium) Group A: Perak v Negri Sembilan (3.15pm), Pahang v Perlis (5pm); Group B: Kelantan v Johor (7.15am), Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (9am).

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

New Straits Times

Teams getting fed up

Teams participating in the Division One and Womens League of the Malaysian Hockey League are upset with the shabby manner in which the league is being administrated.

And the brunt of their complaints stems from the frequent postponements and lack of direction the MHL is heading given that the MHC Competitions Committee has not come up with the dates for the postponed matches.

The MHL got off to a bad start when the matches on the first day were postponed due to haze in the Klang Valley and then out of the blues MHC decided to postpone the matches on March 23 supposedly for the final of the Azlan Shah Cup.

Thus some teams are now facing a back log of two matches and they fear that with the upcoming Champions Challenge 1, MHC might serve them another surprise by moving more matches to accommodate that event as well.

"It is downright silly that matches were moved for the Azlan Shah Cup final. That is so unprofessional of MHC as the tournament should run as scheduled, not postpone matches at the last minute whe this was already discussed at the managers meeting," said an irate coach.

"Ho long are we going to be at the mercy of such actions. By right MHC should have already fixed the dates for the matches that were affected by the haze but chose not to do so for reasons best known to them.

"Either those running competitions have no clue how to do so or are just ignorant of the fact that teams have a lot of logistics to be taken care of and not be ready to play when MHC decides to do so/

"We hope this is the last we hear of postponements and want the matches that are scheduled to be played to go on as the fixtures are."

Not only was there these two postponements, but it is also learnt that with the national women team players to be sent to play in the AHF Indoor Championships in Kazakhstan from April 7, the matches of the Women's League will also see some changes.

Initially the women's league was to be completed within 3 weeks but on March 18 the MHC opted t make changes, thereby holding the final smack in the middle of the Champions Challenge.

But now with the national team going to Kazakhstan, some matches over the two weekends from April 7 will have to be rescheduled, hence the league may have to be extended.


Hockey saved our son’s life

Hockey playing an important role for children with Asperger’s syndrome

Hockey plays a number of different roles for each individual, however, for twelve year old Quinn from Essendon junior hockey club in Melbourne, hockey has saved his life.

Having been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of seven Quinn has struggled with the day-to-day difficulties of home and school life. He had incredible difficulty staying in mainstream school, socialising with other children, maintaining his anger and working alongside others.

Autism Spectrum Disorder often causes individuals to struggle to understand and relate to others and to their environment. For Quinn it results in extreme behaviour, which can be seen as tantrums or rudeness indicating that he's feeling anxious.

With a lifelong condition and no current cure Quinn’s occupational therapist recommended hockey as a sensory support. Parents Carmen and Hamish signed Quinn up at their local hockey club at the age of seven through a Hookin2Hockey session and have never looked back.

With its excellent organisation and a great atmosphere, Essendon hockey club became the right choice for Quinn to feel secure in their environment. The coaches, players and other parents have gone above and beyond to ensure Quinn is included, encouraged and supported in times of need.

Playing as a goalkeeper, Quinn has responded positively towards hockey. Enjoying the friendships he has made that he previously struggled to make, as well as the feeling of achievement playing in his goalkeeping gear many of his sensory needs are met.

Quinn’s mother, Carmen, has witnessed the positive improvement that hockey has played around his new life. Offering advice and support to other parents with autistic children she said, “Hockey is a great sport with little gender divide in the younger years, it has a great community component and is a great game to play. For autistic kids the way the game is designed and the anchor, which is of course the hockey stick, is grounding and keeps their minds and bodies in the game, making it ideal for kids with autism building on motor skills, friendships and the capacity to be included.

“He now attends a special school and while that can be somewhat isolating in its own right, at hockey he's just another kid playing sport who does well and is rewarded for it. The self-esteem that has been built in our autistic boy is a testament to the club and to the game.”

Hockey Australia media release

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