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News for 31 March 2015

All the news for Tuesday 31 March 2015

Faizal's fitness places him among last 20

By Jugjet Singh

Future in his hands.. Faizal with the Best Player and Top Scorer awards won at the World League Round Two in Singapore.. After which he went absent from training without notice...

FAIZAL Saari was among 20 players short listed for the Azlan Shah Cup, based on his fitness level which is much more higher than that of his team-mates.

But based on attitude, his team-mates are miles ahead of the Kelantan-born player.

This came as a surprise as the rest of the team went into centralised training immediately after the Singapore World League ended on Jan 25, and even went for a Tour Down Under, while Faizal skipped training for two months.

Faizal is no stranger to controversy, as he went Awol without as much as sending a text message to coach Tai Beng Hai and team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.

And when he finally returned to training on March 23, he was again embroiled in controversy as he played in the Hong Kong League on March 22, while awol from training and no release letter from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

Nur Azmi had a chat with Faizal on the sidelines of the National Under-16 finals on Sunday and said the player is ready to give his full commitment.

"Even though he missed training for months without notice, he is still fitter than many of his team-mates. He passed the fitness test with flying colours, and will be among the 20 heading to Ipoh for a final selection," said Nur Azmi.

Malaysia will play a friendly against New Zealand on Thursday, after which two players will be dropped.

"It is the choice of the coach (Beng Hai) to select Faizal or drop him. When I met him (Faizal) Sunday, he was quite remorseful and said he had many personal problems which made him do what he did.

"On the other hand, his team-mates have been training hard since the World League, and even went for a Tour of Australia.

"My take is that if the coach wants to utilise him for the (World League) Semi-finals in Belgium, Faizal needs to play quality matches and the Azlan Shah Cup is our last sparring chance, as Japan have cancelled a series of friendlies after Ipoh," said Nur Azmi.

The other teams who will be in Ipoh are world no 1 Australia, South Koreas, Canada, New Zealand and India.

The WL Semi-finals are Malaysia's last chance to play in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and Beng Hai's charges are in Group B with Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland and China. In Group A are Australia, India, Pakistan, Poland and France.

"We need to show results in Ipoh, as the possible knock-out stage opponents in Belgium could turn out to be Australia or India," said Nur Azmi.

In the last edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia were whacked 8-3 by Australia in the final.

On Sunday, Faizal was invited to give away The Most Promising Players (Boys and Girls) awards to National Under-16 players at Bukit Jalil.

Naturally, the recipients Mohamed Izham of Pahang and  Selangor's  Siti Nur Akiah were in awe with his presence. But its time Faizal sheds his cry-baby attitude and fight like a man when problems come crashing on his shoulders.. for, good or bad, he is a role model for youth.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Faizal to feature in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

By Aftar Singh

Faizal Saari (left) was fitter than most strikers in the national team despite staying away from the team for more than a month. - filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Faizal Saari, who only started training a week ago, has been given the green light to play in the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from April 5-12.

National team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said that Faizal’s fitness level is even better than most of the strikers who have been training with the national team since last month.

“We need his services for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as we could not lose a player of his calibre. He played exceptionally well to help Malaysia win the World League Second Round in Singapore in January,” said Nur Azmi.

Malaysia will head to the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium in June.

The World League is the qualifying tournament for next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 24-year-old Terengganu lad won two awards in the tournament as the best player and also the top scorer with 12 goals.

The national team had been training since Feb 6 but Faizal did not attend.

“We will bring 20 players to Ipoh on Wednesday (tomorrow) and will drop two after the friendly match,” said Nur Azmi.

Nur Azmi however added that Faizal has to play in more international matches if he wants to feature in the World League Semi-finals.

The Star of Malaysia

Injured Razie a worry for coach Beng Hai

By S. Ramaguru

Skipper Mohamed Razie (left) injured his thumb in training on Sunday and will be racing for fitness for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh which starts this Sunday.

KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey coach Tai Beng Hai is keeping his fingers crossed that skipper Mohamed Razie Rahim will be fit to play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Razie injured his thumb during training on Sunday and is undergoing treatment over the next two days before his fate is known.

The defender is vital to the team as he is the main penalty corner flicker.

Beng Hai said the injury is not serious but there is a chance Razie may aggravate it at the tournament which starts in Ipoh on Sunday.

“We would rather wait and see what the doctors say before including him,” said Beng Hai.

“I feel he should be okay but there is a couple of days left before the final 18 is named. The players are on a two-day break and that should give them some much-needed rest.”

The team will leave for Ipoh on Wednesday and will play a friendly against New Zealand on Thursday before the final 18 are named.

“During the tournament the boys will play six tough matches against the top teams and that is why we want to have the best players so that they will gain from the experience,” he added.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is part of the team’s preparations for the World Hockey League Round Three in June. The other teams for the Ipoh meet are world champions Australia, India, South Korea, New Zealand and Canada.

Malaysians were finalists in the last two editions and they lost to Australia on both occasions.

The Aussies are gunning for a record third successive title. They have already won eight titles in the series.

Malaysia will open their campaign against New Zealand on April 5 followed by matches against title-holders Australia (April 6), India (April 8), South Korea (April 9) and Canada (April 11).

The final is slated on April 12.

All the participating teams will also be taking part in the World Hockey League Round Three.

Australia and India are in the same tournament as Malaysia and will play in Belgium while South Korea, Canada and New Zealand will compete in Argentina.

The Star of Malaysia

Sardar charged up to face Australia in hockey meet

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey team captain Sardar Singh on Monday said the team is looking forward to meeting world champions Australia in the 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 5 to 12.

India had a fruitful 2014 when they won the Asian Games gold after 16 years. The Sardar-led side also defeated the Netherlands after 18 years in the Champions Trophy and also overcame World No.4 Belgium. They gave a tough fight to Australia as well to finish a creditable fourth in the tournament.

Now, the team is gearing up under new chief coach Paul van Ass to take on Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Malaysia and Canada for the title in Ipoh.

"The team is motivated post the Champions Trophy 2014, where we beat the top teams that are ranked higher than us. While we stood fourth in the tournament, there were stronger teams that finished lower in the tournament," Sardar said in a release.

"The upcoming tour will be tough but the boys are confident enough and we are looking forward to meeting Australia in the final."

It will be the first assignment for Dutchman van Ass, who takes over the reins of the eight-time Olympic champions from Australian Terry Walsh.

Van Ass has recalled young strikers Mandeep Singh and Satbir Singh in the 18-member squad for the forthcoming event. Manipuri attacking midfielder Chinglensana Singh replaces Danish Mujtaba.

Sardar felt the team has received a big boost after the trio's inclusion.

"With Satbir and Mandeep in the team, our attack gets a good boost and with Chinglensana in addition will help strengthen our midfield," the centre-half said.

India will play their first match against South Korea on Saturday.

The Times of India

Sardar, Saba receive Padma Shri Award

President Pranab Mukherjee presents Padma Shri award to Sardar Singh in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune Photo

NEW DELHI: Indian men's hockey team captain Sardar Singh and former skipper of the national women's side Saba Anjum were on Monday conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri Award by President Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Both Sardar as well as Saba received the Arjuna Award in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

The 28-year-old Sardar made his debut for the senior team against Pakistan in 2006 and since then he has played more than 200 international matches and has successfully contributed towards Indian hockey.

Sardar is also the most sought-after player in the prestigious Hockey India League.

Saba, on the other hand, was one of the most prominent forwards and represented India in the 2002 Asian Games, 2004 Asia Cup, Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2006 and Junior World Cup in 2001.

Congratulating the duo on the honour, Hockey India president Narinder Batra siad: "Hockey India is delighted and proud of both Sardar Singh and Saba Anjum for being conferred with the Padma Shri Award today. Sardar has been contributing selflessly to the national team and Indian hockey since he started playing for the country and under his leadership India won the gold at the Asian Games last year.

"Hockey India also congratulates Saba, who was one of the most prominent forwards of India and the world. Hockey India takes pride in congratulating both of them on this auspicious day."

A delighted and proud Sardar Singh said: "It is a great honour for me and I would take this opportunity to thank Hockey India for giving me the support which boosted my morale. Also, I must give credit of my success to the coaches, who have guided me and tirelessly worked with me during my journey in hockey."

Saba added: "I am honoured to receive this prestigious award from the President of India. I take this opportunity to thank Hockey India and the Government of India for recognizing my efforts and hard work. I would like to thank my coaches, teammates and my family for my success and achievements in my journey."

The Times of India

KO16 ready to rock in Bloemendaal

The eighth season of the Euro Hockey League comes to a fascinating crescendo this week at HC Bloemendaal with a spectacular double event with the best 16 clubs in Europe battling it out for the fabled Alain Danet trophy.

That journey begins with the KO16 on Wednesday 1 April and Thursday 2 April with eight knock-out battles, leading into Saturday’s quarter-finals and the FINAL4 on Sunday and Easter Monday.

Here, we give a breakdown on the runners and riders for this year’s thrilling final phases.

Wednesday 1 April (KO16)

Match 1 - 11.00h Saint Germain HC (FRA) – Club Egara (ESP)

A 2008 KO8 tussle which the Spaniards won 4-0 en route to a best ever fourth place finish, this is a battle between two of the sides who played in the inaugural EHL. That year, was also St Germain’s furthest run in the tournament.

Egara, in their famous blue and white shirts, could be without the vastly experienced Edi Tubau due to family reasons but have plenty of experience, notably in goalkeeper Quico Cortes while Waterloo Ducks Alex de Paeuw is a key addition.

St Germain are playing in the EHL for a sixth time but will hope to improve on last year’s tame exit at the hands of another Spanish side, Club de Campo.

M2 13.15h Dinamo Kazan (RUS) – UHC Hamburg (GER)

After a two-year absence, the Euro Hockey League's most successful side - UHC Hamburg - returns to the competition looking for their fourth success.

Moritz Fuerste says he is thrilled to be back in the competition. “We love the EHL,” he said. “Most of our best hockey memories go back to Holland and the EHL tournaments. We have played four finals in six years and we want to go there again!”

He is wary of the Russian champions, Dinamo Kazan, having lost to them when wearing a Club de Campo shirt. Kazan are one of just two clubs to have played in every edition of the EHL and bring a healthy sprinkling of Pakistani flair to an experienced core of Russian internationals.

M3 15.30h Harvestehuder THC (GER) – KHC Dragons (BEL)

Reigning champions Harvestehuder THC meet KHC Dragons, medal winners in each of the last three seasons, in what looks set to be one of the ties of the KO16. The German side has a panel of immense talent with Tobias Hauke and Benjamin Stanzl making them tick while Michael Korper is a huge threat from corners.

Dragons have always brought their best to the competition and are powered by the likes of Felix Denayer and Florent van Aubel while Shane O’Donoghue and Jeffrey Thys are strong additions but Loick Luypaert and Manu Leroy’s departure to Kampong has been keenly felt.

Van Aubel knows the danger HTHC pose but is not giving away any secrets: “I know from last year that they have a very strong side and have one of the best players in the world. Unfortunately for you I won’t give away our tactics to counter them!”

M4 17.45h KS Pomorzanin Torun (POL) – HC Bloemendaal (NED)

Two time winners HC Bloemendaal return to the competition for a seventh time hoping to thrill their colourful crowd on home turf. They have a number of changes from last season with the retirements of Nick Meijer, Ronald Brouwer and Eby Kessing but they still have lots of quality in the form of Jaap Stockmann, Rogier Hofman and Belgian pair Tom Boon and Simon Gougnard.

For Pomorzanin Torun, this is their first time in the KO16 in their third EHL campaign. Michal Raciniewski says the side is in “optimum shape” after six weeks focussed training but a 5-2 loss in their domestic league to WKS Grunwald Poznan suggests they will find things tough.

Thursday 2 April (KO16)

M5 11.00h Real Club de Polo (ESP) – Rot Weiss Koln (GER)

Polo star Xavi Lleonart reckons this could be the “most even tie of the KO16” and it is difficult to argue with him with potential fireworks in store. He is one of several Spanish internationals in the Barcelona side’s line-up along with Roger Padros, Alex Casasayas, Manel Terraza, Ramon and David Alegre.

Rot-Weiss – fourth place finishers in 2013 – are always a tough opponent, especially when Zeller brothers Christopher and Philipp are available. Moritz Trompertz, Mats Grambusch and Benjamin Wess provide strength through each line while Marco Miltkau is another star to watch out for.

M6 13.15h Beeston (ENG) – Royal Daring (BEL)

Another evenly matched tie on paper, Beeston meet Royal Daring who will be playing their first KO16 tie – one of three newcomers to this phase of the EHL. The Bees have reached the English playoffs in spite of a wealth of injury problems this season but Ollie Willars says they are at full strength now and ready to go.

Internationals Harry Martin, Tim Whiteman and Ollie Willars form the backbone of the team along with the versatile Adam Dixon and David Ames.

Daring, though, showed they are a dangerous opposition in Round 1 with strong wins over Racing Club de France and Monkstown. The vastly experienced Spaniard Sergi Enrique is their defensive controller, Manu Brunet their midfield enforcer while Jof and Tanguy Cosyns provide the attacking inspiration.

M7 15.30h MHC Oranje Zwart (NED) – SV Arminen (AUT)

The fairytale story of Round 1, SV Arminen became the first Austrian side to win an EHL game as well as reach the KO16. Ten of their team were part of the Austrian side to win silver at the World League Round 2 in San Diego and their level has been on the rise for a number of years.

Whether it is high enough to challenge Dutch Hoofdklasse champions Oranje Zwart remains to be seen but coach Dariusz Rachwalski says: “We want to play against top teams and Orajne Zwart is definitely one of them. We're looking forward for that challenge.”

He is aware of the challenge posed by Robert van der Horst, livewire forward Thomas Briels and corner expert Mink van der Weerden in the OZ all-star line-up.

M8 17.45h Waterloo Ducks (BEL) – SV Kampong (NED)

The KO16 closes with a bang as Belgian champions, the Waterloo Ducks, meet SV Kampong. The Ducks saw a big turnover in players from last season’s roster with Vincent Vanasch moving to Oranje Zwart and Alex de Paeuw switching to Egara while three other players retired.

It ups the importance of players like John-John Dohmen, Gauthier Boccard and French midfielder Charles Masson.

Kampong showed their grit to beat East Grinstead in Round 1 in Barcelona, coming from a goal down late in the game to win 3-2 and always have a threat with Mr Backhand Robbert Kemperman and Constantijn Jonker in their line-up. Add in David Harte, Sander de Wijn, Martijn Havenga and Thierry Brinkman and you have a quality line-up.

** Join us throughout the week on the website where we will have live streaming of all the KO16 games along with match reports, highlight reels and all the other sights and sounds of the best way hockey has ever been presented.

Travel by bike or public transport to Bloemendaal

Throughout the Euro Hockey League in Bloemendaal, we are encouraging as many people as possible to come to the venue by bike or public transport.

Those travelling by bike can avail of special parking spots for bikes and scooters at the venue.

For those wishing to travel by car, in order to have a smooth flow of cars to the venue, we request that patrons have cash to hand to cover the parking permit price of €10 for day.

This permit can only be bought at the entrance to the parking lot.

Euro Hockey League media release

Bann end long wait for Irish Senior Cup title

A Jamie Wright goal two minutes into silver goal extra time saw Banbridge end a 29-year wait for the Irish Senior Cup title, making them one of Ireland’s two representatives for the 2015/15 European club season.

He made it 2-1 to beat Cork C of I in Dublin on Sunday, thrashing home from mid-circle to give his club a chance at playing in the Euro Hockey League next season.

How many places Ireland have in the competition remains to be seen and depends on how another former EHL side, Three Rock Rovers, does when hosting the Club Champions Trophy in late May.

Bann were good value for this result but were made to wait for the win as Cork goalkeeper Billy Lynch produced a superb display while John Jermyn – Ireland’s leading goalscorer – had a huge game, taking two drag-flicks off the line.

Stephen Dowds had given Bann a lead inside three minutes from a corner but they could not build further on that and C of I levelled on 30 minutes via Stephen Sweetnam’s low push.

From there, Eugene Magee and his younger brother Owen kept driving Banbridge forward but no further goals would come until extra time when Wright got the eventual winner.

Bann’s next challenge is the Irish Hockey League finals weekend on April 11 and 12. There, they play in a semi-final against Pembroke while Monkstown and Three Rock Rovers are in the other game in the final four to be national champion.

Euro Hockey League media release

Leuven a point away from return to the EHL

Leuven all but assured themselves of top spot in the Belgian Audi Hockey League  regular season season with a narrow 3-2 win over second placed Waterloo Ducks.

The result lifts them nine points clear of their rivals with three rounds of matches to go as they came from 2-0 down inside six minutes to land their 15th win of the campaign.

Gauthier Boccard and Gilles Jacob had given the Ducks the dream start but Guillermo Garcia and Frenchman Guillaume Deront tied things up.

And, with Arnaud Massaert in the sin-bin, Garcia popped up with the winner in the closing phases of the tie.

Dragons kept up their challenge for a playoff place when they beat third place Daring 4-3. Florent van Aubel and Kyle Good gave them a quick 2-0 lead before Geoffroy Cosyns scored twice to level.

Felix Denayer restored the one-goal advantage from a corner before Tanguy Cosyns made it equal once again but van Aubel and Arthur van Doren combined for Dragons to snatch victory.

It makes things exceptionally close in the playoff places with Daring in third on 36 points while Dragons and Leopold – 6-2 winners over Beerschot – are on 35 in fourth and fifth.

They are well clear of Braxgata and Racing in sixth and seventh whose challenge for an EHL spot is all but over in spite of wins over Wellington (5-4) and Antwerp (5-2), respectively.

Euro Hockey League media release

Hockey World League Semi-Finals: dare to dream

With a place at Rio 2016 at stake, the HWL Semi-Finals promises thrilling encounters, and possible upset…

(Photo: FIH)

Semi-finals? They are the round of play before the grand finals aren’t they? Well, yes, in many competitions that is exactly what a semi-final is, but for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals (HWL SF), these could be one of the most important competitions that a national team plays in.

This is because the HWL SF events offer one of the routes to Olympic qualification, with the top placed teams in this year’s four HWL SFs (two men’s and two women’s) all guaranteed a place at Rio 2016.

A total of 40 teams will be contesting HWL SF events at Antwerp and Buenos Aires in the men’s events and Valencia and Antwerp in the women’s events, knowing that this is one of their best opportunities to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.  The HWL SFs are a structured and clear way for teams to qualify, over a two-year cycle – for either the Olympics or the World Cup, which is why the HWL is a pathway along which heroics can happen.

More than 60 nations took part in Round 1 of the HWL and the opportunity to open potential Olympic qualification to this many nations, is one of the main reasons of the specific structure of the HWL. The teams entering HWL Round 1 are the teams with a World Ranking of 20 or below. These are the teams that rarely get the chance to play on the big stage and, for many of them, hockey is still very much in developmental stages. But, with the introduction of the HWL, these teams get exposure to more international competition and, importantly, a chance to progress.

Take the HWL SF in Valencia this year, for example, Ireland, Canada and Uruguay have all qualified via Round 2 and Canada qualified for Round 2 from Round 1. While these lower ranked teams – 14, 20 and 29 respectively – may be expected to struggle against the likes of Germany, Great Britain and Argentina, until the final whistle blows then their Olympic dreams remain very much alive.

The HWL Finals, which take place at the end of the year in India and Argentina (men’s and women’s events respectively) are the show-stopper finale to the HWL series. Eight top teams emerging from the Semi-Finals will compete against each other for the title.

Talking about the culmination of the HWL, FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather says: “The Finals are the last major event of 2015 and will mark the end of a journey that began in June 2014.  As well as the valuable ranking points on offer, the winning teams will be rewarded with places at the elite 2016 FIH Champions Trophy tournaments.  It is also an opportunity to play in a blue riband event before the Olympics.  This is the showcase event of 2015.”

FIH site

Poor state of NBHS astro-turf upsets Hanif Abbasi

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Poor condition of astro-turf here at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium (NBHS) upset former MNA Hanif Abbasi when he visited the Pakistan hockey team camp at the venue on Monday.

Talking to The Nation, Abbasi, who is termed as godfather of Rawalpindi for constructing a number of international cricket, hockey and football stadiums, basketball courts, swimming pool and women cricket stadium with fold lights at Viqar-un-Nisa Girls College, said: “I am very upset with the poor state of astro-turf. These are our national heroes and hockey is the national game but with such poor facilities, how can we expect from our players to perform extraordinarily against the players of Netherlands, Germany and other top hockey playing nations. Seeing such rash treatment to the national players, it hurts a lot. I will not keep quiet and watch players not getting best facilities.”

He said: “I am working hard on starting work of laying down astro-turf at Shahnaz Sheikh hockey stadium, but tender were twice cancelled. Soon after tender is approved, the work will start soon. We have sufficient amount of funds available and will provide the best available facilities to hockey players. They performed exceptionally despite lack of facilities and without much financial support in the recent events, I am quite sure they will give better results in the upcoming events.”

“The Punjab CM has highly lauded the sports infrastructure of Rawalpindi and given directions to adopt Rawalpindi as model and provide same sporting facilities in the entire province. We will soon lay down international standard football pitch at Municipal Stadium ground,” he added.

About hockey players long-awaited meeting with the prime minister, Abbasi promised to arrange it sooner rather than later. “I will take up this issue to highest level and try my best to provide hockey players everything they want.”

Coach Shahnaz Sheikh thanked Hanif Ababsi for sparing his precious time to visit the training camp. “His presence will certainly boost the players morale. I am sure Ababsi will play an important role to not only provide best facilities to hockey players but also to other sports.”

Shahnaz also lauded the facilities and other things being provided to them at the PSB. “Assistant director hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain takes very good care of all the players and provides us all the necessary things well in time while DDG Facilities Agha Amjed Ullah has promised us to update the astro-turf soon.

I am quite sure Agha and his men will soon update the remaining faults and we will assemble again after rest for last one-week training before departure to Australia for four-nation hockey tournament.”

The Nation

Meeting to prove fruitful for Pakistan sports: Manzoor Jr

Sports greats meet President Mamnoon today

LAHORE - Golden hockey player Manzoor Junior has said the meeting of Pakistan sports legends with President Mamnoon Hussain will prove very beneficial for the country’s sports.

Talking to The Nation on Monday, Manzoor, who lead the national team in winning gold medal in Los Angeles Olympics after that the country didn’t win a single gold in Olympics, said: “A wonderful and fruitful meeting will President Manoon Hussain will take place today (Tuesday) at President House. Legends of Pakistan sports including Dr Tariq Aziz (1968 Mexico Olympics gold winner), former hockey Olympians Islahuddin, Sami Ullah, squash greats Jahangir Khan and Janasher Khan, cricket greats Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad and former snooker champ M Yousuf and I are invited by the President to discuss about the country’s sports and device plans to promote it to new heights.”

Manzoor, who also had honour to win 2 gold and 1 silver in World Cups, 2 gold and 1 silver in Champions Trophies, 2 gold in Asian Games, and a gold in Asia Cup, said: “It’s a great initiative and remarkable step taken by the president and I hope by implementing the suggestions that will be given by the sports legends, the country can get the lost glory especially in hockey, squash and snooker. I am looking forward a very fruitful meeting with the president which will certainly help revive Pakistan sports.”

The Nation

Hockeyroos live streamed

All three Hockeyroos v China matches available online

Hockey Australia is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Epicentre.tv to bring hockey fans from around the world live coverage of the Hockeyroos v China International Challenge from Sydney this week.

Gordon Bray, one of Australia’s leading sports commentators with more than 40 years in broadcasting, will lead the call. He has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games throughout his career, as well as extensively covering rugby. In 2014, he commentator for Ten on the hockey competitions at the Commonwealth Games, calling the gold medal victories of the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras.

Sitting alongside Gordon in the commentary box will be former Hockeyroo Lee Capes. Capes, an Olympic gold medallist from Seoul in 1988, played for Australia from 1985 to 1991, scoring in the 1988 Olympic Games final to help secure Australia’s first ever Olympic gold medal in hockey. She’s now a coach in Sydney and her daughter is involved in the junior development pathways.

The live stream coverage will begin 20 minutes before each match and can be found using the links below or by returning to the Watch page.

Match 1 - Thursday 2 April - Online from 6:40pm AEDT / 3:40pm AWST

Match 2 - Saturday 4 April - Online from 2:40pm AEDT / 11:40am AWST

Match 3 - Monday 6 April - Online from 2:40pm AEST / 12:40pm AWST

Tickets for the three matches – 2, 4, 6 April – are still available from Ticketek.com.au and will be available on the gate at Sydney Olympic Park. Gates open one hour before each match.

The Hockeyroos v China International Challenge is supported by the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Hockey Australia media release

Australians appointed to FIH panels

Several Australians have been appointed to FIH committees

Three Australians – Professor Kerryn Phelps, Katrina Powell and Ken Read – have been appointed to significant International Hockey Federation (FIH) committees.

Professor Phelps, a Hockey Australia board member and former President of the Australian Medical Association, will take her place on the FIH’s Medical Advisory Panel until 2016. The Medical Advisory Panel ensures that all FIH events uphold the highest safety standards for the athletes and makes recommendations to improve athlete safety based on data and research.

Katrina Powell, a former Hockeyroos double Olympic gold medallist and current Head Coach of the women’s hockey program at the New South Wales Institute of Sport, has been re-appointed to the FIH Rules Committee. The Rules Committee is responsible for maintaining and updating the official international rules of hockey.

Ken Read, the President of Hockey Tasmania and a former board member of Hockey Australia, has been reappointed as Chair of the FIH Competitions Committee. The Competitions Committee is responsible for all logistical items related to FIH events. This can include, but is not limited to, the calendar of events, sanctioning events, discussion of regulations and competition procedures at the top level FIH competitions.

As a leading hockey nation Hockey Australia feels strongly that it has a responsibility to contribute to the strategic direction of the sport. The service of members of the Australian hockey family such as Professor Phelps, Katrina Powell and Ken Read to the FIH committees is one way in which Hockey Australia can play its part in taking the sport forward.

Also joining Ken Read on the Competitions Committee is David Peebles. David is Oceania Hockey Federation's representative. And on the Athletes Committee, recently-retired Kookaburra Liam De Young serves following his election to the committee at the World Cup last year.

Hockey Australia media release

Breaking down barriers

Hockey Victoria host their first hearing impaired interschool competition

On Friday 27 March, Hockey Victoria hosted their first hearing impaired interschool competition between the Victorian College of the Deaf and Furlong Park at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Melbourne.

Hockey Victoria has been conducting hockey clinics in these schools throughout term one. With a lot of hard work, time and dedication, the participants were ready for their next big challenge, to play a modified game of hockey against other children facing the same disability. 

It was a successful result for Hockey Victoria with a total of 50 very excited and eager students ready to hit the hockey field. A day full of smiles, the students proudly left the stadium wearing a well-earned medallion around their neck.

Hockey Victoria hope this event is the beginning of a new and exciting competition for children with a hearing impairment across Australia.

Hockey Australia media release

Keeping up with the Aitkenheads

Hockey Queensland’s search for hockey families

Setting the bar high, Hockey Queensland have launched a ‘get into hockey’ campaign as part of their sign on activities for 2015. Spending considerable time calling every association in Queensland, they managed to source stories of families that have been involved in hockey for generations. 

Hockey Victoria have also been busy searching for Victoria’s number one hockey family with their campaign #TheFamilyGame. The Walters family, announced as Victoria’s number one hockey family, have been involved in hockey for over 30 years with the Geelong, Corio and Saints Hockey Clubs.

After a phenomenal response of committed families across Queensland, we have shared one of Queensland’s biggest hockey family below.

Hockey in Gladstone is certainly a sport for every member of the family, no matter what age, as depicted by the Aitkenhead family.

Family matriarch, Judy Aitkenhead – who began playing hockey aged 17, retired from the sport at the age of 71 at the end of the 2013 season, and is now a Life Member of the Gladstone & District Hockey Association – without a doubt set the tone for her large family’s hockey-loving ways.

Boasting four daughters, two sons, their respective spouses and sixteen grandchildren who play or who have played, coached, umpired or otherwise been involved in hockey in Gladstone and wider Queensland, Judy’s family have the sport firmly embedded in their veins.

And, as the 2015 season approaches, another member of the Aitkenhead clan will prepare to pick up a hockey stick for the first time, with new recruit Sophie Aitkenhead preparing to play with Souths Rookey 7’s this year.

Reckon your family can match it with the Aitkenheads? Let us know, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hockey Australia media release

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