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News for 13 February 2020

All the news for Thursday 13 February 2020

Sublime South Africa complete USA whitewash

The South African Hockey Men scored in each quarter as they completed a series whitewash over USA with a 5-1 at Ashton College in Ballito this morning. The SA Men gained 20.6 ranking points for the series and have closed the gap on Ireland who are currently ranked 13th to just 30 points.

Things did not start as well as the score line suggests for the South Africans, who had honoured Bili Ntuli before the game for his 50th cap, as the USA Side had three consecutive penalty corners early in the game. The South Africans were resolute in defence with Keenan Horne particularly impressive in charging down as the first wave.

USA were left to rue those chances as South Africa took the lead and from that moment on never relinquished their dominance. The opener came when Le-Neal Jackson, playing in his second test, had a drag flick illegally blocked on the line. Jethro Eustice took the resultant penalty stroke firing it into the roof of the net.

Eustice was called on again in the second quarter when another shot was illegally blocked and the defensive stalwart for the hosts made no mistake with a low finish. The third goal offered a momentary glimpse into the talents of Mustapha Cassiem who produced an up and under that would have made Faf de Klerk proud, to send Owen Mvimbi through. Jonathan Klages came storming out of his goal but when he failed to clear the ball Mvimbi made a difficult chance look simple.

Dayaan Cassiem was the scorer of the fourth for the South Africans, who probably should have had more at that stage, when he reacted first to a blocked shot by Klages, who was making numerous saves to keep the score line respectful. The USA Men did get a consolation goal through Christian de Angelis, but ultimately as they had throughout the series, the hosts had the last laugh.

Breaking forward on another counter, Dayaan Cassiem chose to be unselfish and squared for Taine Paton who will not score many easier International hockey goals for South Africa.

Overall it was a successful series for Garreth Ewing’s side who have looked fantastic in pieces. It will also give the selection team same good thoughts to ponder. They now head up to Johannesburg to take on 6th ranked Germany in four tests with several changes to the squad and another big opportunity for players to raise their hands for the Olympic squad.

SA Summer Series – Legacy Cup Results

SA 4-2 USA
SA 2-1 USA
SA 6-3 USA
SA 5-1 USA

SA Hockey Association media release

South Africa Claims Series with Final Win Over USMNT

DURBAN, South Africa – The final game of the four-match test series between the No. 24 U.S. Men’s National Team and No. 14 South Africa at Ashton International College in Durban, South Africa followed suit of the previous games, with the home team making the most of their scoring opportunities. Two penalty stroke and two field goal conversions put South Africa ahead by four goals before USA answered, adding one back. USA was unable to find anymore as the final meeting ended 1-5.

Chances for USA were present in the first quarter as the red, white and blue held much of the attacking possession. In the 7th minute, Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.) showed great intercept mentality, picking up the ball just below the halfway line and getting it ahead to Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany). He drove the top of the circle and got it to Jatin Sharma (South San Francisco, Calif.) supporting on the right but South Africa goalkeeper Siyavuya Nolutschungu was there to make the baseline save. As USA remained on the front foot, they earned two penalty corner opportunities but both attempts, taken through Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany), were unsuccessful. With one minute remaining in the opening frame, South Africa earned a penalty stroke after the drag from their own penalty corner was stopped on the line by the body of Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.). Jethro Eustice stepped up and converted to give the hosts the 0-1 lead.

USA continued to threaten forward grabbing a circle entry within the first few minutes. In the 20th minute, South Africa capitalized on a man-up situation following a green card issued to Adam Miller (Panama City, Fla.) for a hard stick foul. A deep USA miss trap resulted in the home team running the right baseline, which pulled USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) off his line. The ball was dumped back toward the penalty mark and as a South Africa striker was attempting to shoot, he was tackled from behind by USA player so a penalty stroke was issued. Eustice again converted in the 21st minute to double South Africa’s lead to 0-2. The hosts added one more in the final minute on an overhead, fast break that was run down by Owen Mvimbi that pulled Klages out of the goal. Keenan Horne followed up and pushed it through traffic as O. Mvimbi finished to make it 0-3 at the half.

The opening minutes of the third quarter saw chances for both South Africa and USA but no results were found. A missed penalty corner attempt by USA was immediately countered on by South Africa as they earned one of their own. On the try, Barminski was credited with a defensive save on the post as the home team continued to threaten, winning two more penalty corners in the quarter. With 2 minutes remaining, South Africa extended their lead to 0-4 following quick ball movement up the right side that ended with a goal by Dayaam Cassieum.

The fourth quartered started with South Africa being issued double cards in the 47th minute. A green card was given to Samkelo Mvimbi, but it was the 5-minute yellow card to Nqobile Ntuli that USA exploited. In the final minute of that penalty, K. Kaeppeler took a free hit just outside the circle quickly, drove toward the right baseline and found Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) for a tap in at close range. Adding a goal back sparked USA’s attack as they immediately followed up with a penalty corner, but no outcome was found. With seconds remaining in the match, South Africa tally one more as Taine Paton added his name to the scoresheet to bring the final score to 1-5.

USA Field Hockey would like to thank Shoott South Africa for providing the live stream coverage and commentators for the test series. To rewatch any of the four matches from the series, click here.

The next scheduled events for the U.S. Men’s National Team are two 3 Nations Tournaments in June, one taking place in Wales and the other in Ireland.

USFHA media release

2019 FIH Women's Coach of the Year: Alyson Annan - the coach who never stops learning

Alyson Annan has been named as the 2019 FIH Women’s Coach of the Year, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) can reveal.

This is the third time the Head Coach to the Netherlands women has won the Coach of the Year award (2017 and 2018) but arguably 2019 was Alyson Annan’s most successful year to date.

The Netherlands women’s team is seemingly unassailable under the Australian’s leadership and guidance. In the FIH Hockey Pro League, the team was magnificent. They lost just one game – to Australia – and Annan’s imaginative use of a large squad drew praise from coaches and players alike. The team won 15 of its 16 games, scoring 41 goals and conceding just 10.

The success continued with the EuroHockey Championships. While the Netherlands got off to a shaky start by their standards, drawing 1-1 with Belgium, by the knockout stages they were in unassailable form. They swept 2015 champions England aside in the semi-finals by an 8-0 score-line before beating Germany 2-0. The result meant they qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the one trophy, as Head Coach, that Annan is still chasing.

What makes Annan a superb coach is her willingness to learn and her ability to keep all her players motivated, whatever stage of their career they are at. Over the course of the six-month 2019 FIH Pro League campaign, young players such as Frederique Matla, Ginella Zerbo and Marijn Veen flourished and opponents must have groaned as they saw Annan’s squad rejuvenate itself with quality all over the field once again.

At the other end of the scale, Annan continues to get the best from the senior members of the squad. Eva de Goede (nominated for FIH Best Player award), Margot van Geffen and Lidewij Welten all continue to operate at the top of the game, despite more than 640 caps between them.

Explaining her philosophy and player management style, Annan says: ‘In any team you need a blend of players who will work hard and players who can create. My role is to put the right players on the pitch. And then, it is just about doing the simple things very, very well.”

Annan, who was voted FIH Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000, once explained that when she first took the role as Head Coach, she was not confident in her ability to communicate with her players effectively. To overcome that, she visited an equine therapist and learnt how to use body language to bolster her messages. As she enters an Olympic year, Annan will be looking at all ways to make sure that both her and her players are at the top of their game, because to the double Olympic gold medallist, coming second is not an option.

How did Alyson Annan learn that she had won the award? Watch the video here!

And: here’s a video interview of Alyson Annan after receiving the award.


FIH site

Vivek Sagar Prasad on FIH award: Huge motivation to work harder

A 17-year-old Prasad had made his debut in 2018 in the 4-Nations Hockey Tournament; he was the second-youngest debutant, after Sandeep Singh, for India.

Hockey prodigy Vivek Sagar Prasad in action   -  Getty Images

Two years ago, when 17-year-old Vivek Sagar Prasad had the opportunity to represent the Indian Men's Hockey Team in the 4-Nations Tournament in New Zealand, he became the second-youngest men's player to represent the senior team, only behind former drag-flicker Sandeep Singh.

On Monday, Prasad received the FIH Rising Star of the Year 2019 award. “I think there is no better feeling than representing your country at the highest level. When I was younger, I would be more interested in badminton and chess, but as things turned out, I slowly shifted to hockey, and I can't thank my family, coaches and friends enough for what they have done for me.

“This is such a good feeling, and I want to thank everyone who voted for me. This award is a huge recognition, and I just want to make sure that I keep working hard, maintain my focus, and bring laurels for the country," said Vivek, during his team's national camp in Bhubaneswar ahead of two FIH Hockey Pro League matches against World No. 2 Australia.

Asked what his reaction was when he heard about the news, Vivek said, "Initially when the nominations were declared, I was in my room after training, and Manpreet bhai  was the first person who informed me. I thought he was kidding, but then he showed me the official FIH website, so I was really happy. When the actual winner was to be announced, our chief coach had called everyone for a team meeting before dinner, so I thought it would be a routine team meeting, but there I was given a fantastic surprise by my coaches, team-mates and Hockey India.”


2020 FIH Pro League (Men) - This weekend

15 Feb 2020 18:00 (GMT -3)        ARG v NED (RR)      Cenard, Buenos Aires
15 Feb 2020 19:30 (GMT +13)     NZL v ESP (RR)       Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch
16 Feb 2020 17:30 (GMT +13)     NZL v ESP (RR)       Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch
16 Feb 2020 18:00 (GMT -3)        ARG v NED (RR)     Cenard, Buenos Aires

Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (May be Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

FIH Match Centre

2020 FIH Pro League (Women) - This Weekend

15 Feb 2020 17:00 (GMT +13)   NZL v USA (RR)     Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch    
15 Feb 2020 20:30 (GMT -3)     ARG v NED (RR)     Cenard, Buenos Aires
16 Feb 2020 15:00 (GMT +13)  NZL v USA (RR)     Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch    
16 Feb 2020 20:30 (GMT -3)     ARG v NED (RR)     Cenard, Buenos Aires

Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (May be Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

FIH Match Centre

Kookaburras team announced for tough India test

Kurt Lovett made his debut against GB

Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch has announced a 20-player team who will head to Bhubaneshwar, India for the upcoming FIH Pro League matches on 21/22 February 2020.

Josh Beltz, Daniel Beale and Jacob Anderson are the three inclusions to the team from the Kookaburras’ last outing – a 5-1 win over Great Britain on 2 February.

Attacking midfielder Kurt Lovett, who made his debut in the rout of Great Britain, has also retained his spot as the Kookaburras prepare to play an Indian team sitting second on the Pro League standings and high on confidence.

“We had four games in virtually a week in Sydney…we made some good progress in those four games and we’ve got to maintain that on this tour,” said Batch.

“Josh Beltz comes in for his first games of the year. We have also brought Daniel Beale and Jacob Anderson back in, and Kurt Lovett has played just the one game, so this is a good chance to have another look at him.”

With Batch willing to give players an opportunity to stake their claim, competitiveness at training and the competition for spots in the team is something the Kookaburras have in abundance.

“Since we returned to Perth, we have had some good training sessions and squad matches which we have been able to assess the players on so all of that adds up when considering selection,” said Batch.

“We need to assess players at international matches but it’s also in the DTE (Daily Training Environment) and I have mentioned before how important that is.”

India suffered a win and a loss in their two home matches against World Champions Belgium last weekend, which followed two home wins over the Netherlands to open their first Pro League campaign after the eight time Olympic gold medallists entered the competition for the first time this year.

Batch knows the matches propose a tough test but says his charges will embrace the challenge.

“It’s going to be a tricky tour. India have played very well at home so far and had some good results over the Netherlands and Belgium, so they will be a tough couple of matches and it will be interesting to see how we cope with this emerging Indian team who are also in our Pool in Tokyo,” said Batch.

“This will be about assessing our guys in what will be pretty challenging conditions against a strong opposition who will be playing at home.”

“They have a very noisy crowd that rallies behind them as well so that’s another element we have to deal with. We have played in front of it in the past, so we don’t see it as a negative and it will be a similar environment to what I expect Tokyo to be like.”

The matches can be seen LIVE on Kayo.

Kookaburras Team v India – FIH Pro League (21/22 February 2020)

Name (Number) Date of Birth Hometown, State Caps (Goals)
Jacob Anderson (9) 22/03/1997 Mackay, QLD 21 (8)
Daniel Beale (23) 12/02/1993 Brisbane, QLD 173 (28)
Josh Beltz (10) 24/04/1995 Hobart, TAS 39 (3)
Tim Brand (29) 29/11/1998 Chatswood, NSW 38 (16)
Andrew Charter (gk) (30) 30/03/1987 Canberra, ACT 179 (0)
Tom Craig (2) 3/09/1995 Lane Cove, NSW 101 (29)
Matthew Dawson (6) 7/04/1994 Killarney Vale, NSW 136 (12)
Jake Harvie (4) 5/03/1998 Dardanup, WA 66 (3)
Jeremy Hayward (32) 3/03/1993 Darwin, NT 153 (64)
Tim Howard (16) 23/06/1996 Wakerley, QLD 58 (1)
Tyler Lovell (gk) (24) 23/05/1987 Perth, WA 143 (0)
Kurt Lovett (18) 15/01/1997 Parkes, NSW 1 (0)
Trent Mitton (25) 26/11/1990 Perth, WA 170 (77)
Eddie Ockenden (11) 3/04/1987 Hobart, TAS 362 (71)
Lachlan Sharp (1) 2/07/1997 Lithgow, NSW 46 (10)
Corey Weyer (3) 28/03/1996 Biggera Waters, QLD 40 (3)
Jacob Whetton (12) 16/06/1991 Brisbane, QLD 201 (64)
Tom Wickham (5) 26/05/1990 Morgan, SA 51 (21)
Dylan Wotherspoon (26) 9/04/1993 Murwillumbah, NSW 89 (31)
Aran Zalewski (17) 21/03/1991 Margaret River, WA 187 (24)

 Kookaburras v India – FIH Pro League 2020 Match Details
Match 1 – Friday 21 February 2020
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
Start Time: 7:00pm local (12:30am AEDT Saturday 22 February)

Match 2 – Saturday 22 February 2020
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
Start Time: 7:00pm local (12:30am AEDT Sunday 23 February)

Kookaburras v India – Overall Record
Played 128; Won 84, Drawn 21, Lost 23

Kookaburras – FIH Pro League 2020 Results
Saturday 25 January
Kookaburras 2 (Hayward 49’, Craig 51’)
Belgium 2 (Briels 18’, Denayer 59’)
Belgium wins 4-2 on penalties

Sunday 26 January
Kookaburras 2 (Sharp 42’, Hayward 60’)
Belgium 4 (Hendrickx 13’/25’, Plennevaux 56’, Stockbroekx 58’)

Saturday 1 February
Kookaburras 4 (Ockenden 19’, Wickham 29’, Zalewski 56’, Mitton 59’)
Great Britain 4 (Jackson 20’, Wallace 31’, Shipperley 44’, Ansell 45’)
Kookaburras win 3-1 on penalties

Sunday 2 February
Kookaburras 5 (Wotherspoon 14’, Sharp 19’, Craig 29’, Brand 45’, Mitton 55’)
Great Britain 1 (Taylor 18’)

Hockey Australia media release

Amsterdam and Laren win Dutch indoor titles

A Boris Burkhardt-inspired AH&BC Amsterdam won back the Dutch men’s indoor hockey title while Laren won the women’s crown last weekend.

For Amsterdam, with Nicki Leijs in excellent form, it was a fifth title in six years as they saw off Den Bosch in the final. Wiegert Schut put them in front just two minutes into the final before Burkhardt flicked in from play and then from a stroke for a 3-0 lead.

View Highights here https://youtu.be/bWa7v9Jp-nU

Jasper Tukkers replied from a corner but further goals from Schut and Burkhardt put Amsterdam out of range en route to a 5-2 win.

Laren beat SV Kampong in the women’s final with a 4-2 success. In a lively first half, Elin van Erk put Laren in front, Michelle Simons levelled but goals late in the quarter from Mila Muyselaar and Julia Müller made it 3-1 at half-time and Klaartje de Bruijn extended it out to an impenetrable 4-1 lead.

HDM’s Pien van Nes and Rotterdam’s Jochem Bakker were voted the best players of the Dutch indoor season by the readers of hockey.nl.

View Highights here https://youtu.be/Xz-TOJPhW-U

Euro Hockey League media release

Azlan Hockey: Junaid confident of raising strong squad

LAHORE: Pakistan hockey team coach Khawaja Junaid is confident to make a strong team for the upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, April 11 to 18 in Malaysia.

While talking to the media in Lahore on the sidelines of players’ training camp, Junaid said that 31 players out of 50 have reported in the camp on Tuesday. The rest of them will join the camp later. “12 players are in Malaysia and Egypt to play leagues, they will be back by February 18. The players will take part in the second phase of camp, starting from March 1,” he said.

The head coach revealed the plan for the training camp. He said that team management will work with players individually and try to figure out the best players. “We have planned different strategies to prepare our players strongly for the event. We have got raw talent which needs a polish to represent Pakistan at the top level,” Junaid maintained.

The News International

Malaysian Tigress must keep on fighting, says Hanis

KUALA LUMPUR: National women’s hockey forward Hanis Nadiah Onn said the squad must stay focused despite the news that their coach K. Dharmaraj will not be around to guide them.

Dharmaraj bid adieu to the Malaysian Tigress after he made the decision not to reapply for the post.

According to Hanis, Dharmaraj was an important figure in improving the performance of the squad, and under his leadership, she emerged as the country’s first female player to be named as Asia’s Most Promising Player in 2016.

“For me, it was not only the knowledge that was shared but the words of encouragement from him that will always remain with the team,” said Hanis.

“The fight must continue, regardless of who will take over as coach, and all players need to remain united and take the Tigress to the next level.

“It is sad that he (Dharmaraj) has made the decision to leave but I am proud that he has taken us to the highest level. Some of us have had the opportunity to play in the European League which is the dream of every player,” she added.

Penalty expert Nuraini Abd Rashid concurred with Hanis adding that her teammates must remain committed to all of MHC’s plans.

Among Dharmaraj’s notable achievements with the team was winning the gold medal at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games and emerging as runners-up in the second round of the Women’s Hockey World League (WHWL).

He also took them to fifth place at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.

In December, the MHC announced that they would not be extending the contracts of all coaches under the national governing body, except that of national men’s coach Roelant Oltman, in an effort to inject new breath into the national hockey structure.

The Star of Malaysia

UniKL are premier league champs again!

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) today retained the TNBMHL Premier League crown for the second consecutive year.

The defending league champions cruised to a resounding 9-1 victory over Kedah Nurinsafi in the second round of their league match at the Tengku Abdullah Hockey Stadium in Bangi, but it was the result of the match between Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu that accelerated the process with two more matches remaining.

THT defeated TNB 1-0 in Kuala Terengganu, thus paving the way for the euphoria at the Tengku Abdullah Hockey Stadium.

UniKL now have amassed 36 points from 12 consecutive wins while TNB are a distant second on 28 – eight points behind UniKL while THT are third on 27 points.

UniKL next play Maybank on Friday, and conclude their league fixtures on Sunday against TNB. Both matches will be played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

“I am proud of the team for emerging champions once again. Our mission has been achieved and we must continue this winning momentum in the next two matches and focus on winning the TNB Cup once again.

“We were TNB Cup champions in 2018,” said an elated UniKL President and Chief Executive Officer Prof Dato’ Dr. Mazliham Mohd Su’ud.

“It has been a joyous moment for UniKL this year. We won the Charity Shield and now retained the Premier League, albeit much earlier than we had expected. Our target now is obviously the TNB Cup,” added Prof Dr Mazliham.

Five goals in the first two quarters earned UniKL an emphatic 5-1 lead at the half-time break. Drag-flick specialist Muhamad Razie Abdul Rahim nailed a hat-trick via penalty corner conversions in the 18th, 39th and 41st minutes to increase his personal tally to 12 goals in the league.

Dutchman Roel Bovendeert helped himself to a brace (20th and 29th minutes) while team captain Muhammad Marhan Jalil (fourth minute), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil (12th minute), Mohamad Ashran Hamsani (47th minute) and Muhamad Faid Farhadh Mohamad Shah (60th minute) scored one goal each.

Nurinsafi’s solitary goal was scored by Ismail Abu through a penalty corner conversion in the 28th minute.

In other matches, TNB Thunderbolts drew 2-2 with Maybank and Hockademy KL drew 2-2 with Universiti Teknologi MARA.

New Straits Times

It’s a wrap for UniKL


No way through: Nur Insafi’s Mohd Azfar Yaqoob (left) in a tussle with UniKL’s Mohd Faid Farhadh Mohd Shah during their Malaysia Hockey League match yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) clinched their third straight Malaysia Hockey League title in imperious fashion, thumping minnows Kedah Nur Insafi 9-1 at the Tengku Abdul-lah Hockey Stadium in Bangi today.

To make it sweeter, their closest challengers Tenaga Nasional fell 0-1 to defending TNB (Overall) Cup holders Terengganu and now do not even have a mathematical chance of catching up, with two matches to go.

The varsity side’s perfect run – with 12 wins out of 12 – saw them wrap up the title comfortably, with two matches to go.

Of their goalscorers, penalty corner specialist Razie Abdul Rahim stood out the most by grabbing a hattrick through penalty corners in the 18th, 39th and 41st minutes.

Earlier, Muhammad Marhan Jalil had opened the floodgates in the fourth minute through a field goal.

He was joined by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil (12th), Roel Bovendeert (20th and 30th), Muhammad Farhan (47th) and Muhammad Faid Farhadh Mohd Shah (60th).

UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj was delighted with his team’s victory.

“I did not expect us to win the league with two matches in hand.

“I am very happy with the big win and the title,” said Arul.

UniKL will play Maybank tomorrow and Tenaga on Feb 16.

If they beat Tenaga, even the second place on the table could change hands with Terengganu finishing runners-up.With the title in their hands, UniKL are now gearing up to wrest the TNB Cup – which they surprisingly lost to Terengganu last season – back from the east coast side.

“We have to prepare well for the TNB Cup after this. We definitely want to win it and make it a double this time,” said Arul.

Second-placed Tenaga tasted their second defeat of the season with their loss to Terengganu.

South Korean Jang Jong-hyun was the hero for the east coast side, netting the only goal through a penalty corner in the 21st minute.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Maybank both recorded 2-2 draws after being held by Hockademy and TNB Thunderbolts respectively.

Both results were academic as Maybank have already booked fourth spot and the final place in the contest for the TNB Cup.

The Star of Malaysia

John Bell to Under-take MacMillan Cancer Fundraising Walk

Hockey Ireland would like to support John Bell in his marathon 26-mile Macmillan Cancer walk fundraiser later this year after his experience with Macmillan Cancer Support and his son Matthew, an Irish International, who was recently unwell. Matthew completed his Chemotherapy in January and John has told us they are very happy to be in a more positive place again.

“I decided I wanted to do something to help raise some much-needed funds for Macmillan having seen first-hand the impressive work they do in helping families who have been affected by cancer. Having started on this journey with Matthew recently, initially in Germany and now back home, it seemed an appropriate time to do so.

I looked at various options at fundraising and having initially looked at a skydive or an abseil I decided to keep my feet on terra firma and commit to this "Mighty Hike" along the North Coast on 27th June. 26.2 miles along the North Coast taking in most of the most scenic spots.

I have set up a Justgiving page for any donations and am looking to raise as much as possible for this fabulous cause. The response to date has been humbling but every pound will make such a difference.”

Irish Hockey Association media release

Black Sticks Strength and Conditioning Coach Brad Conza passes away

Brad Conza is 4th from the left.

On Sunday evening Hockey New Zealand were shocked to learn of the passing of the Vantage Black Sticks’ longtime strength and conditioning coach Brad Conza.

Brad has been part of the Vantage Black Sticks women’s squad and development programme for over ten years and has left a massive impact on all the players who have been involved with his knowledge and commitment as well as his great sense of humour and kind heart.

Brad played an essential role in helping the New Zealand women become one of the world’s top-ranked teams. During his time, our athletes have been credited as being one of the fittest and fastest teams in the world, which is a testament to the work that Brad put into our team. Brad was a leader in his field, and the respect he had in this industry was immense.

Our Vantage Black Sticks Women are working through the most appropriate way to honour Brad ahead of the FIH Pro League match against the USA this weekend.

Hockey New Zealand CEO Ian Francis said “Brad has left an amazing legacy within the Vantage Black Sticks Women’s program. He was exceptionally well regarded both by Hockey New Zealand and the athletes and sports he has worked with. Brad will be missed by all and our thoughts go out to his family during what is a tough time.”

Experienced defender for the Vantage Black Sticks Women Brooke Neal said “B-rad. I’ve been struggling to put into words just what an impact and a legacy you have had on me and the entire Black Sticks Whanau. You are the kindest, most positive person I have ever met. You are the heart of this team. You made every single person feel seen, heard and valued. You never ever complained and comforted us through our hardest days, even when you were struggling with your own health. You were always, without exception, smiling ear to ear and offering a bear hug, fist bump, gangsta handshake or sometimes all of the above. You had a silly nickname for every one of us, making us feel special. We hope to do you proud B-radicle, to take your legacy and use it as fuel. Not so long ago you showed me your mural design and asked me what I thought of the quote you chose. “Seek the treasure that you value most dearly. If you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain” So, so fitting, you have left your sparkle and good vibes everywhere”.

High-Performance Sport New Zealand CEO Michael Scott said “Brad was exceptionally highly regarded as a strength and conditioning coach and as a person, both by his colleagues here at High-Performance Sport New Zealand and among the many athletes and sports he worked with over the years. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this sad time”.

Former Football Ferns defender Kirsty Hill commented “Brad was the great big smile when we thought there was nothing to smile about. He was the extra shuttle when we didn’t think we had another one in us. He put the fun back in football when we thought there was no more fun to be had.

Brad, you helped us thrive, and you kept us safe. Your positive energy and love for people will not only live on in your most prized possession, Chloe, but will never be forgotten by the Ferns you helped. Rest in love, big man!! We love you!”

A ‘Give A Little’ page has been set up to help support his family, to donate please click here

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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