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News for 16 January 2015

All the news for Friday 16 January 2015

FIH announce the winners of the FIH 2014 Player of the Year

(Photo: FIH)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is delighted to announce the winners of the FIH 2014 Player of the Year Awards.

The Awards comprised six categories in the search for the very best players in the world during 2014.  A shortlist was compiled for each category by an expert panel of hockey professionals.  And then the voting began.

There was a massive response as fans, players and other stakeholders all cast their votes.

Australia’s Mark Knowles has been named as the men’s International Player of the Year for 2014.

A talented and solid defender, Australia captain, Mark who was named player of the tournament at the 2014 Hockey World Cup, is a former FIH Young Player of the Year winner.  His international career began in 2004 and since then, he has accumulated Olympic gold and bronze medals, four Champions Trophy titles, three Commonwealth Games gold medals and three World Cup wins.

Although Mark emerged top of the pile for the senior award, there was close competition from England’s Ashley Jackson, teammate Eddie Ockenden, and the two Netherlands players, Robbert Kemperman and Robert van der Horst who all had outstanding years.

Dutch superstar Ellen Hoog has been unveiled as the women’s International Player of the Year for 2014.

Versatile midfielder, Ellen made her international debut at the age of 17, and has two Olympic gold medals, two World Cups wins and a Hockey World League title to her name, as well as numerous other championships and awards.  Like Mark, she was also player of the tournament at the 2014 Hockey World Cup.

Ellen faced tough competition in the women’s category, in which she was shortlisted alongside team-mate and previous double winner of the title, Maartje Paumen and eight time title winner Luciana Aymar, who retired after leading Argentina to victory in the 2014 Champions Trophy.  These three were joined on the shortlist by another player from the World Cup winning Netherlands team, Lidewij Welten and by Team USA Captain Lauren Crandall, in what has been a breakthrough year for her and the US team.

The International Goalkeeper of the Year titles were dominated by the Netherlands players as Jaap Stockmann and Joyce Sombroek took the respective titles.

Jaap began 2014 winning the ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the Hockey India League, playing for Jaypee Punjab Warriors and was hugely consistent over the course of the year as part of the team, who won the 2014 Hockey World League final and finished runner’s up at the 2014 Hockey World Cup.  Jaap was pushed all the way to the Goalkeeper title by four other very talented goalkeepers; England’s George Pinner, Australia’s Andrew Charter, India’s Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh and Argentina’s Juan Vivaldi.

Joyce, who has been the goalkeeper for the Netherlands women since 2010, had a fantastic year exemplified by the World Cup win, in which she and her team only conceded one goal throughout the whole tournament.

Joyce was shortlisted alongside four other seriously talented goalkeepers; Australia’s Rachael Lynch, American Jackie Kintzer, England’s one-on-one specialist, Maddie Hinch and Champions Trophy heroine, Belén Succi.

Previously called the Young Player of the Year, the International Male and Female Rising Stars of the Year both went to Argentina with Gonzalo Peillat and Florencia Habif scooping the Awards respectively.

Credited with single-handedly destroying New Zealand at the World Cup, Gonazlo Peillat has scored some fantastic goals throughout the year and is a deserving winner of the 2014 Rising Star Award.  Gonazlo was challenged by a shortlist that included the 2013 winner, Christopher Rühr, Australia’s Jeremy Hayward, India’s Akashdeep Singh and Belgium’s Arthur Van Doren.

Florencia, who was on the shortlist for the 2013 Award, came up trumps in 2014 following fabulous displays throughout the year, in particular in front of her home crowd as Argentina won the Champions Trophy.

Florencia saw off strong challenges from four of the most exciting young players in the women’s game, including the Netherlands Xan de Waard, previous winner Australia’s Anna Flanagan, previous nominee, India’s Rani and China’s Yang Peng.

The FIH would like to congratulate everyone who made the shortlist, with special congratulations going to our winners.  

Thank you to everyone who voted – your participation was much appreciated as we celebrate and recognise hockey’s superstars.

Please continue to keep an eye on our website and social media channels as we publish more on the winners over the next two months.

Click here for previous winners

FIH site

World Player of the Year

Kookaburras captain wins global accolade as 2014's best player

Australian men’s hockey captain Mark Knowles has been named as the sport’s International Player of the Year for 2014. The award was announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Thursday night.

The 30 year-old from Rockhampton, Queensland, topped the polling after leading the Kookaburras to dual gold medal success as Australia clinched the World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles within six weeks of one another.

Knowles adds the international player crown to the World Cup Player of the Tournament (see video below right) and Hockey Australia Player of the Year awards he won in 2014. In Glasgow in August, Knowles was Team Australia’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony after winning his third Commonwealth Games gold medal.

In winning the award he came out on top of a five man shortlist, ahead of Kookaburras teammate Eddie Ockenden, Dutch pair Robbert Kemperman and Robert van der Horst, and England’s Ashley Jackson. For the first time ever, voting in the FIH annual awards was open to the public via Facebook with the athletes and coaches at the Champions Trophy also voting.

An Olympic champion capped 245 times for his country, Knowles took over the captaincy of the Kookaburras in January 2014 having previously served as a co-captain within the team’s leadership group. He led the Kookaburras at the World League Finals in Delhi in the same month before helping the team to a record eighth title at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in March.

In June he was part of the team that so stunningly defeated the Netherlands 6-1 in the World Cup final, collecting the Player of the Tournament accolade. In August, he played through the pain of a foot injury to marshal an Australian defence that conceded just four goals in its six games en route to winning a fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal. He missed December’s bronze medal-winning Champions Trophy campaign due to injury rehabilitation but is set to compete for the Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the Hockey India League beginning next week.

Kookaburras National Coach Graham Reid said of Knowles’ award, “Mark is thoroughly deserving of the recognition he has received. It was just 12 months ago that he took on the captaincy of the Kookaburras and he has not only thrived in the role but his performances on the field have been excellent. He has led by example through his strong and courageous play and set a great example for the rest of the team.

"It’s not easy to move from a leadership group to the outright captaincy and it’s the way that he has handled that move and put in the performances he has that marks 2014 as an outstanding year for him.”

Knowles previously won the FIH World Young Player of the Year award in 2007.

Five other Australian athletes were shortlisted for FIH awards. Eddie Ockenden was a contender for the men's Player of the Year title alongside Knowles while Andrew Charter was nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year and Jeremy Hayward the Rising Star award. Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch was a nominee in the women’s Goalkeeper of the Year category and teammate Anna Flanagan was shortlisted for Rising Star. Flanagan previously won the young player award in 2012.

Congratulations to Mark and to Eddie, Andrew, Jeremy, Rachael and Anna on their nominations after an incredibly successful year for Australian hockey.

The full list of award winners:

International Male Player of the Year shortlist
Ashley Jackson (England)
Robbert Kemperman (Netherlands)
Mark Knowles (Australia) - WINNER
Eddie Ockenden (Australia)
Robert van der Horst (Netherlands)

International Female Player of the Year
Maartje Paumen (Netherlands)
Lidewij Welten (Netherlands)
Ellen Hoog (Netherlands) - WINNER
Luciana Aymar (Argentina)
Lauren Crandall (USA)

International Male Goalkeeper of the Year
Juan Vivaldi (Argentina)
Andrew Charter (Australia)
Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh (India)
Jaap Stockmann (Netherlands) - WINNER
George Pinner (England)

International Female Goalkeeper of the Year
Rachael Lynch (Australia)
Belen Succi (Argentina)
Joyce Sombroek (Netherlands) - WINNER
Maddie Hinch (England)
Jackie Kintzer (USA)

International Male Rising Star of the Year
Arthur Van Doren (Belgium)
Christopher Ruhr (Germany)
Jeremy Hayward (Australia)
Akashdeep Singh (India)
Gonzalo Pelliat (Argentina) - WINNER

International Female Rising Star of the Year
Yang Peng (China)
Rani Rampal (India)
Florencia Habif (Argentina) - WINNER
Anna Flanagan (Australia)
Xan de Waard (Netherlands)

Hockey Australia media release

Sreejesh, Akashdeep, Rani lose out in FIH awards

NEW DELHI: National men's hockey team goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, young striker Akashdeep Singh and woman player Rani Rampal missed out on the FIH 2014 International Players of the Year awards which was announced on Thursday.

Sreejesh was one of the five shortlisted for the Men's International Goalkeeper of the Year award but Dutchman Jaap Stockmann ran away with the honour. The other three in the running were England's George Pinner, Australia's Andrew Charter Argentina's Juan Vivaldi.

Akashdeep and Rani were among those nominated for the International Male and Female Rising Stars of the Year but they lost out in the race.

Argentina's Gonzalo Peillat was named International Male Rising Star of the Year while compatriot Florencia Habif scooped the award in the female category.

FIH 2014 Men's International Player of the Year award went to Mark Knowles of Australia while Dutch superstar Ellen Hoog was declared the Women's International Player of the Year for 2014.

Joyce Sombroek of the Netherlands got the FIH 2014 Women's Goalkeeper of the Year award, FIH said in a release.

The Awards comprised six categories in the search for the very best players in the world during 2014. A shortlist was compiled for each category by an expert panel of hockey professionals before voting by fans, players and other stakeholders.

The Times of India

Uneven hockey pitch a cause for concern for Beng Hai

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey players found out that life’s definitely a “pitch” at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore.

National coach Tai Beng Hai said that the ground is bumpy and makes it difficult to stop the ball.

“It will be tough to execute penalty corner drag flicks smoothly,” said Beng Hai.

“This is worrying as it will affect our chances of scoring from penalty corners.”

The other concern is the pitch gets dry fast because of the hot and humid weather.

“They need to water the pitch in all four quarters of the match to avoid injuries to the players,” added Beng Hai.

Malaysia will be relying on penalty corner specialist and defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim and nippy forward Faizal Saari to deliver the goals from drag flicks.

The squad arrived on Tuesday for the World League Second Round which begins Saturday.

Beng Hai said that they are still looking for a friendly match to get used to the pitch.

“We wanted a match against Singapore but they were not keen. We have one more day of training tomorrow before our match on Saturday. I hope we will able to play a friendly by then,” said Beng Hai, who met the team’s new consultant Neil Hawgood in Singapore on Thursday.

“I will have a meeting with Neil to discuss strategies and plans for the matches. It is always good to have an experienced coach to share his knowledge.”

Malaysia will open their campaign against Ukraine in a Group A match.

Their other matches are against Oman on Jan 19 and Singapore on Jan 20.

Japan, Poland, Bangladesh and Mexico are drawn in Group B.

The top three teams will feature in the World League semi-finals in Belgium and Argentina in June.

The World League is also the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Star of Malaysia

World League, Men, Round-2, Singapore, January 17-25, 2015

Know the teams

by B.G.JOSHI (Sehore-Bhopal, India)

Past performance stats for the teams playing in the WHL Round 2 event starting tomorrow

Pool A




Olympic Games

Continental Games

Last Played

in Olympics


Best Finish


Best Finish




8th (1972,76)


1 Silver (2010)

Sydney -2000




















5th (1962,70)


Note: Ukraine became independent in 1991 after dissolution of Soviet Union (USSR). Thus Ukraine not played Euro Nations Championship, however they won Euro Hockey Challenge Cup in 2005, 09.

Pool B




Olympic Games

Continental Games

Last Played

in Olympics


Best Finish


Best Finish




1 Silver (1932)


2 Bronze (1966,70)

Mexico City -1968




4th (1980)


5th (1974,78,87)

Sydney -2000






6th (1978)





16th (1968,72)


1 Silver (1971)


Note: App- Appearances 


Rosch reduces Dutch indoor panel to 13

Dutch indoor coach Robin Rosch has named a reduced group of 13 players who have a chance to participate in the World Indoor Championships in early February.

It features some high profile names with a couple of outdoor Dutch Under-21s and senior internationals included. Kampong’s Lars Balk is one of the former and is joined in the panel by club mate Sjoerd de Wert on the list along with goalkeeper Youri Beck.

Oranje Zwart have Joep de Mol in the squad while there are five Amsterdam players including Max Sweering who previously played with Uhlenhorst Mülheim along with outdoor internationals Robert Tigges and Teun Rohof. Caspar van Dijk is another interesting inclusion, playing indoor hockey in the third tier in the Netherlands with Tilburg.

Rotterdam striker Timmo Kranstauber is a doubt with a hernia issue while one player will miss out from this group for the competition itself in Leipzig.

Euro Hockey League media release

Fulton names Irish panel heavy on EHL know-how

Craig Fulton – who coached Pembroke in the Euro Hockey League – has drawn on plenty of players with experience of the world’s top club competition for his latest Irish panel.

Sixteen of his panel of 22 named this week for a training trip to South Africa in January have played in the EHL for a wealth of different clubs. While in Cape Town, Ireland will play the host nation twice as well as lining out against the Netherlands and Belgium in test matches.

Of those players, a number are involved for the 2014/15 season. Irish EHL representatives Monkstown have two call-ups in the form of goalkeeper David Fitzgerald and striker Peter Caruth, the latter missing out on Round1 in Barcelona through injury.

Dragons’ Kyle Good will line out for his second different club in the EHL when his club take the field in Bloemendaal at Easter having previously played for Three Rock Rovers on their run to the KO16. Shane O’Donoghue will do something similar having played with Glenanne a couple of times in the EHL. He moved with Good to Dragons this season.

Mitch Darling was part of the Three Rock side before he moved the KHC Leuven and made it through to the KO8 before returning to his home club. Captain John Jackson is another player to play for two EHL sides, lining out for Loughborough Students previously and Reading last season.

He was joined by Chris Cargo – now with Racing Club de Bruxelles – at Reading last term while Paul Gleghorne was with him at Loughborough of the latest panel. Eugene Magee played with Dutch side HGC and Belgian club Dragons, too, reaching the final with the former.

Mikey Watt, with Scotland’s Grange and English club Surbiton, is yet another to have played for two different clubs in the competition. Former captain Ronan Gormley, pictured, played for Pembroke twice before lining out for Club de Campo in 2010/11 on their run to silver.

Banbridge’s Drew Carlisle, Bruce McCandless and Stephen Dowds played in the 2011/12 edition of the EHL with their hometown club. Alan Sothern was part of Pembroke’s panel with Fulton while Kirk Shimmins arrived later on the scene to help that club reach the KO16.

Euro Hockey League media release

Dwyer’s thumbs-up for Indian team

Sabi Hussain

The legendary Australian forward feels the current Indian squad is as good as the one it had back in 2002, comprising players like Gagan Ajit Singh, Jugraj Singh and Deepak Thakur among others. File

New Delhi - It’s been a few surreal months for the Indian hockey team. The team, captained by Sardar Singh, clinched the Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver, beat arch-rivals Pakistan for the Asian Games gold, won the Test series 3-1 against Australia and finished a creditable fourth at the Champions Trophy.

The year gone by could be considered pretty good after Indian hockey had slipped into the deep abyss of despair following the team’s ninth-place finish at the London Olympics. There wasn’t much hope around, but the current side bounced back, giving joy and hope to the hockey fans.

And the best compliment for their recent performance has come from none other than the legendary Australian forward Jamie Dwyer, who feels the current Indian team is the best he has seen in over a decade. Dwyer, a three-time Olympian, described the Indian team as the “most consistent and attractive”.

“This team is at par with the Indian team of 2002-03. Those guys were great and this current set-up of the Indian players is the most consistent, competitive, attractive and forward-looking. This is the best Indian team I have seen in a while ,” Dwyer told The Tribune.

“This team is moving in right direction, towards the 2016 Rio Olympics. These guys are constantly learning new things and a bit of a credit for their success goes to Hockey India League (HIL),” added Dwyer, who would be playing for Punjab Warriors for the third straight season.

Dwyer, however, warned the Indian team management to use “technically-gifted” Sardar more prudently, keeping in mind the Rio Games. The 28-year-old has been playing non-stop since the 2010 World Cup, where his prowess came to the fore. He recently played his 200th match for India during the tour to Australia. In the last four years, Sardar hasn’t been rested for a single tournament.

“You need to use him more judiciously. What I have observed about Sardar is that he was really good between 2010 CWG and 2012 London Games, but after that his performance has dipped drastically. Since then, he has not been the same player. He belongs to big tournaments,” he said.

As the discussion veered towards his own game and the possibility to hang up boots after the Rio Olympics, Dwyer said, “Yes, I am definitely going to retire after the Rio Games. I would be playing hockey for fun after that.”

Asked if the Indian hockey lovers would see him taking up the coaching role with Hockey India (HI), Dwyer replied, “Well, I will definitely consider the offer if it lands at my door step. It’s still some time to go before I retire. Let it come to me first.”

The Tribune

England’s Jackson named Ranchi Rays skipper

England playmaker Ashley Jackson will lead debutants Ranchi Rays in the third edition of the Hockey India League. File Photo   

Debutants Ranchi Rays pm Thursday announced that England playmaker Ashley Jackson will lead the team in the third edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) which starts Jan 22.

The Ranchi-based team also announced Harendra Singh as the head coach while Clarence Lobo and A.B. Subbiah come in as the assistant and goalkeeper coach, respectively.

“Going by his experience and present performance, we feel that Ashley Jackson is the right choice for captaining the side. Under his able leadership, the team will do well and he will make the Ranchi fans proud by putting up a terrific show,” said team co-owner and Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“I hope Harendra Singh as a coach will nurture the players and will bring the best out of them. You need the right coach who knows the strengths of his players and capitalises on it.”

Jackson was part of the England squad that won the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze.

“It’s a great feeling to be named captain of Ranchi Rays. The Ranchi fans are the best in the league and it will be a real honour to lead our talented team out in front of our home fans,” said Jackson.

“I will be trying my best to lead from the front and alongside some of the best talents in the world, this promises to be another exciting HIL in Ranchi. The entire team is very excited and is ready to give some wonderful performances.”

The Hindu

Each team is good and no one can be underestimated: Sardar Singh

NEW DELHI: The defending champions Delhi Waveriders' squad was seen working hard on the field in order to refine their strengths and work on their weaknesses, as the team starts with its training sessions from Thursday.

The practice session saw some smiles and cheers within the team as both domestic and foreign players come together once again with one defined aim of retaining the title of the Hero Hockey India League. Being led by the very experienced Indian skipper Sardar Singh, the team is upbeat and ready to practice and learn different tactics of the game to be incorporated in the upcoming matches against their opponents.

Speaking after the practice sessions, Delhi Waveriders' captain Sardar Singh said, "we are happy to be back together as a team once again and all the players in the team are pretty comfortable with each other. Retaining the title is our main aim in the tournament but at the same time it is going to be really tough as all the teams participating in the league are equally good and thus we cannot underestimate any of them. Dabang Mumbai is a team to look for this League as they are new and their strategies on the field might throw some surprises. Delhi Waveriders are focussed in giving our best throughout the tournament and aim at yielding favourable results."

Delhi Waveriders will take on the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow on 23rd January 2015 at 15:00 HRS (IST).

The Times of India

Proper coaching structure in the pipeline for Malaysian hockey

By S. Ramaguru

A. Arulselvaraj (in black) is one of the coaches under the National Sports Council payroll for Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Sports Council (NSC) will come up with a coaching structure for their hockey coaches in order to have a more systematic programme.

NSC director general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said they currently have four full-time coaches under their payroll.

“We hope to put this plan in motion once we have discussed with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC),” said Shapawi.

He added that it will be done after the MHC have held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) when the new officer-bearers are elected.

The current coaches under their care are Tai Beng Hai (current coach senior team and MHC director of coaching), A. Arulselvaraj (chief coach Project 2016), Mohamed Nasihin Nubli (women’s coach) and K. Dharmaraj (former senior team coach).

“The way I see it the coaches are doing it their way with no specific system in place. I believe they (and their programmes) need to complement each other’s work. This is where a coaching structure is needed.

“But we will wait for the MHC to finish with their AGM. That way we will be able to discuss with the new officals to ensure there is continuity in our plans. We must also take into consideration that the MHC will have a foreign coach by then,” he said.

The MHC earlier this week hired Australia Neil Hawgood as the national team’s consultant and is expected to take over as chief coach after the AGM.

The Star of Malaysia

A Plethera of Dar Academy Boys at Pakistan's National Championships

By Ijaz Chaudhry

Dar Academy - conveyor belt of Hockey talent

Dar Hockey Academy breaking new grounds is no longer news.

Since its inception in 2006, it has been a continuous upward graph. First junior national selection came in 2009; every Pakistan age group side since then has had academy representation. First senior national selection in 2012; till today, a total of four have had the honour.

No need telling that all these years, Dar HA boys have been featuring in Pakistan’s national championships. But the most recent one, which concluded at Sialkot a few days back, saw an invasion: Of the 19 competing sides, no fewer than 13 had academy players in their colours; 25 boys were there.

All the three sides, PIA, WAPDA and National Bank, who stood at the podium in that order, after the final, were assisted by Dar HA.

The pupils of Pakistan’s biggest hockey nursery in action at Sialkot included Pakistan hockey’s newest star Arsalan Qadir. His two goals in Pakistan’s win against India in the Champions Trophy semi-final catapulted him to overnight national fame. Many others have won national colours at senior and junior levels. Then there were some emerging stars. Quite a few appeared in the national championships for the first time as the Dar HA is always inducting young new talent.

It also provided tournament’s top scorer Aleem Bilal (11 goals).

For good measure, one of academy’s trainers, Waqas Butt, was the head coach of the Higher Education team. Under his tutelage, the HEC reached the quarter finals after 16 years.

Tailpiece: It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a match between Dar Hockey Academy and the Rest of Pakistan.

Teams at the National Championships with Dar Hockey Academy players:

PIA: Imran butt   Rana Sohail  
WAPDA: Salman Hussain, Khalid Bhatti and Aleem Bilal
National Bank: Arsalan Qadir
Punjab: Bilal Mahmood
Navy: M.Asif and Asad Aziz
Sui Southern Gas: Adnan, Zeeshan ,  M. Rizwan
Police: Aamir Ali, Abid Bhatti and Sikander Mustafa
Railway: M. Aamir, Waseem, Adeel and Usman
Steel Mill:  Sultan Ashraf and Nasir Shehzad
Port Qasim:  Saleem Nazim
Customs: Bilal Qadir
PTV: Rana Umair
Sind: Yasir

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info

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