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News for 28 February 2015

All the news for Saturday 28 February 2015

Calypso Stickmen tackle Russians

Nigel Simon

A depleted T&T senior men’s hockey team will go into their opening Pool B match of the eight-team FIH World Hockey League Men’s Round Two qualifierst against world 19th ranked Russia at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre, San Diego, California, USA from 12.30 pm today as heavy underdogs.

Already without the services of regular captain Darren Cowie, Kiel Murray and Stefan Mouttet, through injury and the quintet of regular vice-captain Dwain Quan Chan, Aidan De Gannes, Christopher Scipio, Ishmael Campbell and Dillet Gilkes because of work commitments, the Glen “Fido” Francis coached T&T men will be minus its most capped player, England-based Kwandwane Browne for today’s clash with the Europeans as well as tomorrow’s encounter with 27th ranked USA.

The 37-year-old Browne, who has been capped a record 298 times by T&T is the player/coach at Pension’s Men’s English Hockey League Premier Division club Canterbury and will be involved in his team’s two matches this weekend, today against Brookslands MU, and tomorrow versus Reading, as it tries to climb off the foot of the table where it faces automatic relegation.

The Russians, who are seeking to qualify for a first world event since the 1990 Hockey World Cup, were much more dominant in qualifying from its Round One qualifiers which was held in Sveti Ivan Zelina, Croatia last July.

Back then, 1986 World Cup fourth placed finishers’ Russia, led by the trio of top scorers Dmitry Azarov (12 goals), Nikolay Yankun (six) and Alexander Palyanitsa (five) crushed Croatia and Turkey, both by 10-0 margins while they spanked Switzerland 7-0 and destroyed Bulgaria 11-0 to end with a perfect record of 12 points, without allowing a goal.

In today’s other matches, Canada and USA do battle from 2.45 in the other Pool B match while in Pool A, Ireland, the highest ranked competitor at 14th in the world faces 25th ranked Chile from 5pm followed by 2015 Indoor World Cup silver medalists Austria (#22) and and Italy (#32) at 7.15 pm.

The Trinidad Guardian

Big game experience a calming influence on road to Olympic qualification

World League Round 2 begins Saturday in San Diego

Shaheed Devji

There’s no bigger stage than the Olympic Games for any athlete or any sport. Just ask Scott Tupper and Mark Pearson, two of the three players on the Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey Team who have experienced the excitement and elation of going to the Olympics.

Tupper and Pearson, along with goalkeeper Dave Carter – all of whom are currently with the Men’s National Team in San Diego, California for World League Round 2 – were members of the Canadian team that went to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

A career high no doubt. But each also knows the sting of missing out on Olympic qualification, having missed the chance to qualify for the 2012 Games in London.

“You never want to miss an opportunity, but we’ve learned a lot but I think we’ve come back a lot stronger,” says Pearson, 27, a native of Tsawwassen, British Columbia. “We’ve got a good group here and we’re working hard.”

The chance to make good on opportunities missed and return to the sport’s promise land has re-emerged with World League 2, which serves as the next stop on the road to qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

If Canada finishes in the top three in San Diego, they will progress on to the World League Semi-Finals in June, where a top-six finish would mean Olympic qualification.

“If we take this tournament game-by-game and focus on the process, as cliché as it sounds, I think we will be successful,” says Tupper, Canada’s captain, who is expected to play in his 200th international match for Canada during the tournament.

“At the end of the day it is part of the Olympic qualification, but we have to recognize it is one tournament that we have to focus on especially when it gets into the latter half.”

The team will likely heed cues from the likes of Tupper and Pearson, who they know have been through the process before, and have been successful.

And both know they will have a role to play in leading the team through difficult, pressure-packed situations.

“What Scott and I bring to a game is that calming influence,” says Pearson, who has played in 163 matches for Canada. “Whether you’re up or down a goal, just knowing that it’s not won or lost in the first ten minutes. That’s what I try and bring on the field.”

Tupper has a similar view and believes that staying calm and managing expectations and emotions is key in the process.

“As we play big games, we have to recognize bad things are going to happen. We’re going to get scored on, we’re going to have peaks and valleys,” he says.

“I think it’s just about managing the valleys and managing your emotions through the peaks as well.”

As a team, the Canadian men have been through some highs and lows in the last year.

After a thrilling semi-final victory over the host Malaysians at the 2014 Champions Challenge, Canada fell to the Koreans in the final. The second place finish, however, was Canada’s best-ever finish at the tournament.

At the Commonwealth Games later in the year, while the play on the field was encouraging, the final result left much to be desired.

But Tupper and Pearson feel the team is better for having gone through both those experiences and don’t believe expectation will come in the way of performance at World League 2, despite the ramifications of the tournament.

“I’m not one that puts a lot of undue pressure on myself,” says Pearson. “I just try and stay relaxed and try and support my teammates and work hard and lead by example.”

That team first mentality is what Tupper believes will help the team to be successful.

“At the end of the day, the other ten guys on the field are going to help you out,” he says. “No individual is going to play a perfect game, but I think if we accept that we’ll get through any bad periods and we’ll probably come out on top.”

And if they do, they’ll be one step closer to bringing their teammates to the world stage to which they themselves have been so badly wanting to return.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Canadian judge D’Souza continues second act as official at World League 2

Shaheed Devji

When Canada takes to the field on Saturday at World League Round 2 in San Diego, California, it’s not only the athletes who will be realizing dreams.

While Canada’s Men’s National Field Hockey Team continues its path to 2016 Olympic Games qualification – more aptly known at the Road to Rio – Canadian Ozias D’Souza, who will serve as a judge at the tournament, is continuing his own journey.

For D’Souza, it’s somewhat of a second act.

The 48 year-old moved to Canada from India – where he was born, raised, and played field hockey growing up – when he was a teenager.

While playing club and provincial hockey after he moved to Canada, he took up umpiring and got quite good.

D’Souza went on his first international tour in 2001 when he traveled to Scotland and Wales with the Canadian Men’s National Team.

It was one of the highlights of his time umpiring. Little did he know at the time, his career as an official would have a second wind as strong, if not stronger than his first.

After he stopped umpiring about eight years ago, D’Souza kept on as a judge and technical director in Ontario University Athletics.

“When I first started, it was just an extension of staying in the game,” he says. “It never occurred to me I would get this far.”

Being a part of World League 2 is accomplishment. It’s a tournament with big implications for big nations in the sport and a tournament which – if all goes well – has set him on the path towards officiating at the Pan American Games this summer in Toronto.

“Since I’ve been doing it for a while I’ve realized I am good at what I do,” he adds. “I still have something I can offer to the game.”

“Pan Am is the next level for me now, but definitely if the opportunity arises to get to a higher level, just like an athlete, you want to get higher and better.”

Proficiency in his role has been essential for D’Souza to continue on in the game, but above all else – like any athlete – he says his passion for the sport is what has allowed him to carry on.

“Hockey has been good to me and I have fun what I do. It’s all about enjoying the game that I love.”

Field Hockey Canada media release

Egara fighting on three fronts in 2015

Club Egara  return to outdoor national league action this Sunday when they take on Atlético San Sebastián at their Pla del Bon Aire home, facing the second part of the season full of ambition.

“Yes, we are very hopeful and ready to compete again”, Egara coach Patricio Keenan says. “We have completed a very hard pre-season in February, playing friendly games against national and international teams and so we are in a great shape.”

The Argentine coach adds that the “next two months are key for us in three competitions. That is why we have implemented a tough preparation in order to withstand it. Besides, there are also new rules and we have had to adapt ourselves to them”.

The ratllat team is fighting for their national league and cup as well as returning to the Euro Hockey League, “a tournament that we are delighted to play”.

“We have been out of the EHL for a few years, and the veteran players are looking forward to this opportunity while the young ones, as well, are eager to participate in it”.

Regarding the cup (Copa del Rei), Club Egara will play RC Polo in the quarter-final. “That game ill be a final already, but if we want to be the champions, sooner or later we will have to beat all the teams”, Keenan says.
Finally, the goal for the League is to “qualify within the first four places. The Final Four is still quite far away from being confirmed, and loads of things can happen,” the manager stresses.

Euro Hockey League media release

Thunder.. Thunder.. Thunderbolts!

By Jugjet Singh

SSTMI Thunderbolts claimed their fourth straight Division One league title when they beat SSP -MSP-Thunderbolts 3-1 in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru Friday.

UniKL earned the second spot when they drew 1-1 with Petaling Jaya Municipal Council. Thunderbolts ended with 22 points, UniKL 19 points while PJCC had 18 points when the dust settled.

However Thunderbolts, whose only blemish this season was a 2-2 draw with PJCC, received an early wake-up call when SSP -MSP-Thunderbolts took the lead off Idris Samad in the sixth minute when he flicked home off a penalty corner attempt.

But Firdaus Omar drew level off a penalty corner goal in the ninth minute, while field goals from Luqman Hakim (34th) and Danial Asyraf (65th) made sure the silverware remains with the double champions.

Now, coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman wants his charges to life the Milo Cup as well.

"We received a jolt in the sixth minute, but I never doubted that my players will fail in the final hurdle today (yesterday) and they recovered nicely to score three goals and defend our title.

"The scoreline does not reflect the match, as my players were guilty of missing many sitters. However, now that we have lifted one title, we will be going for our fourth consecutive double as well when the Milo Cup starts," said Wan Roslan.

For UniKL Rauf Nazri delivered off a penalty corner attempt in the 27th while ashraf zuhry (52nd) scored the equaliser off a penalty corener goal as well.

Thunderbolts, UniKL, PJCC and Pahang SS have qualified for the knockout Milo Cup. Four more teams will join them from Division Two.

RESULTS: Division One: SSTMI Thunderbolts 3 SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts 1, PJCC 1 UniKL Young Guns 1, SSTMI Juniors 3 Bukit Jalil SS 3.

Division Two playoffs: 1 Mas TBSS Tampin 2 BJSS Jrs 2; 1 Mas Perlis x SMKDBKL PHJ x.

Saturday -- DIVISION One: Politeknik Malaysia v BJSS (Taman Daya I), SSTMI Juniors v  KLHC (Taman Daya II).

Division Two Playoffs: BJSS Juniors v Nur Insafi-Penang Hockey (National Stadium II), SMKDBL PHJ v MSN-THT (National Stadium II, 6.45pm).

Note: All other matches 4.45pm.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

SSTMI-Thunderbolt champions yet again in junior hockey league

By S. Ramaguru

SSTMI-Thunderbolt players and officials celebrating their fifth title after beating Pahang SS-Thunderbolt 3-1 in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League at Taman Daya Hockey Stadium, Johor Baru. - ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: One down. One more to go.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt picked up their fifth MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division One title after a 3-1 win over Pahang SS-Thunderbolt in their last preliminary round match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

The defending champions, who needed just a simple win to lift the title, will now head into the knockout stage as the firm favourites to win the double – yet again.

Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) had a slim chance of pipping them to the title (provided SSTMI lost) but the two teams drew 1-1 to remain in second and third spots respectively.

SSTMI pocketed RM15,000 for winning the title while UniKL and MBPJ picked up RM10,000 and RM8,000 respectively. Fourth-placed Pahang SS took home RM7,000.

All four teams have qualified for the knockout stage, which will start on March 6.

SSTMI team manager Adam Izamry Idrus, while happy with title No. 5, said that will now aim for the overall title.

“It was a tough match ... but we made it difficult for ourselves by missing so many chances. There is room for improvement ... we need to refocus our efforts for the knockout stage,” he said.

Pahang SS surprised SSTMI by taking a sixth-minute lead through a Mohd Idris Samad penalty corner hit.

Three minutes was all it took for the champions to draw level, courtesy of Mohamed Firdaus Omar’s penalty corner drag flick.

Mohd Luqman Hakim made it 2-1 for SSTMI with a field goal in the 34th minute before Danial Ashraf netted the third, also a field goal, in the 65th minute.

Over at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, UniKL took the lead in the 27th minute through a Abdul Rauf Mohamed Nasir penalty corner goal.

MBPJ equalised in the 52nd minute through Mohd Ashraf Zuhry to keep their unbeaten run in the preliminary round intact.

In the Division Two playoff, BJSS Juniors drew 2-2 with 1MAS-TBSS Tampin at the National Hockey Stadium and will now have to take a point off Nur Insafi if they are to make the cut for the knockout stage.

Nur Insafi, who defeated the Tampin team on Thursday, have already qualified for the knockout stage but will need a point from the match to ensure they qualify for the Division Two final.

BJSS can make the final too, provided they beat Nur Insafi.

In another match, SMK Datuk Bentara Laut (SMKDBL) defeated 1MAS Perlis 2-1 to stay in the hunt for a final berth.

They will play MSN Terengganu and a draw will be enough to give them a place in the knockout stage – and in the final.

MSN Terengganu also have a fair chance of making the cut – if they can secure a big win over SMKDBL.

The Star of Malaysia

Alex strikes the right note for role models

Great Britain and England star Alex Danson is one of the best forwards in the game, but when the Great Britain and England athlete isn’t slotting the ball into the back of the net, she has a host of commitments that keep her busy.

(Photo: FIH)

As one of UK Sport’s funded athletes, Alex Danson is expected to do a minimum number of six hours service to charities and projects in Great Britain but, last year, the 28-year-old spent more than 200 hours of her time visiting hockey clubs, speaking at seminars, supporting charities and coaching youth groups. She was praised by the chief executive of UK Sport, Liz Nicholls for her commitments and the fact that she puts in more hours of voluntary work than any other funded athlete in the UK.

 The England and Great Britain star took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us a little about her work.

Among the projects that Alex has thrown herself into are coaching days for juniors at local clubs, working with the FreFlyers team in some of East London’s most deprived areas, addressing the National Women’s Register on the topic of female role models, taking part in a marathon aerobics class for the MacMillan Cancer charity and speaking at the House of Lords about the importance of physical education and school sport.

 So why does she do so much more than is required of her by the funding body? “Because it is something I feel hugely passionate about,” she replies. “If I hadn't have come across so many amazing people, I would simply never have had the opportunity to play the sport I love as my job.

 “For example, without my first club coach, or the lady that used to take our local gym class or the visit from an international hockey player when I was just a school child, I would never have learnt the skills or been inspired to even contemplate trying to play hockey at a high level. All of these people, and so many more, gave up their time to enable me to try and achieve something. I truly believe it is part of our job to ensure we give that back, to take the time to teach some hockey skills to a young person, to motivate a club player or encourage someone to take up a new sport or inspire someone to fulfil something they want to achieve.”

 Many of the events, talks and coaching seminars that Alex attends are organised by England Hockey through its Athlete Ambassador Scheme, but she says that she is often contacted via social media, or simply by someone approaching her at another event. She believes that athletes need to take on responsibilities as role models because they are in the public eye to such a great extent, and many of the factors that make them successful – hard work, motivated and ambitious – are qualities that make them uniquely qualified to be role models.

And Alex says that she gets a lot back in return for her time. “It is always incredibly rewarding when someone is able to relate to my story, whether it be a barrier they have overcome or a success they have shared with their team. I think some of my favourite moments are when a young person articulates what they want to achieve, having heard me tell them what I want to. If we share and speak about ambition, I believe this makes us far more likely to chase our goals. I visited Guildford Hockey Club recently and spoke to more than 300 juniors, at the end one stayed behind and told me she wanted to play for her county and that she was going to speak to her coach about what she needed to do, that one child made my whole evening worthwhile.”

Aside from the projects and charities in the UK, Alex is also an ambassador for Right To Play – a charity that offers one million children each week the opportunity to receive education, stay healthy and live in peaceful communities. Speaking of her involvement, she says: “As part of my role, I visited five Right To Play sites in Uganda in 2013 and saw first-hand the impact play has in bringing communities together where they had previously been torn apart by disease and conflict. This is something I hope to be able to play a more active role in when I retire from hockey.”

FIH site

Awards for hockey achievements in Dundee

Jim Shepherd with his awards

Hockey was well represented during Dundee Leisure & Culture’s Sports Awards on Wednesday night.

Jim Shepherd was presented with sportscotland’s Lifetime Commitment Award for over 60 years involvement in hockey, including playing, umpiring, officiating, competitions convenor and many more officer-bearer roles within the sport.

“It’s great to receive an award for doing something that I’ve always enjoyed and liked. To receive an award from your own city is really special", said Shepherd.

“Believe it or not, I first picked up a stick on the fields of Eton! I was invited there with the Boys Brigade, along with 2000 other boys, in 1954 where we tried a number of sports, including hockey. In 1958, I started playing locally with Wanderers and the rest is history.

“I’ve seen three generations of players and officials in my time, including father, son and then grandson.

“Wanderers are having an 80th birthday celebration in May this year so hopefully I’ll see many of those who have played for the club over the years there.”

Well done also to Grove Menzieshill Hockey Club who were runners-up in the Club of the Year, Team of the Year (Men's Indoor) and Young Team of the Year (U16s) categories at the awards, demonstrating their commitment to strong club values and their successful activities both on and off the pitch.

NB. Dundee Wanderers 80th Year Celebration will take place on Friday 15 May at the Apex Hotel, Dundee.

All players, coaches, officials and volunteers past and present are welcome.

Tickets are £30 per person and including a welcome drink, a three course meal and entertainment from ceilidh band 'Good Call'.

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

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