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News for 16 May 2015

All the news for Saturday 16 May 2015

Great Britain and Argentina series finishes all square

George Pinner faces a penalty corner for GB 2015

Great Britain and Argentina could not be separated for the second day in a row as the two teams played out a 0-0 draw. In a game that marked a 50th international cap for Reading’s Dan Shingles and the 150th for Holcombe’s Nick Catlin the two defences came out on top as neither side could find a way through.

Argentina started with a much more attacking approach compared to yesterday’s game and George Pinner had to be alert from the start, beating away a fierce backhand strike from Agustin Mazilli in the opening minutes. The Holcombe No1 did even better seconds later. Matias Paredes was all alone inside the circle, but Pinner advanced quickly and made a splendid block to deny Los Leones’ Captain. Argentina then forced the first penalty corner but Mark Gleghorne did well to charge down Gonzalo Peillat’s effort. At the other end Catlin burst into the circle but Juan Vivaldi smothered at close range.

Great Britain spent the second quarter on the front foot but the game became frenetic with both sides conceding possession in what was becoming a scrappy affair with few clear chances.

In the third quarter Tim Whiteman showed good skills along the baseline in the circle but he couldn’t quite force the ball home from a tight angle and then Ashley Jackson’s low penalty corner was saved by Joaquin Berthold, the half time substitute goalkeeper.

Peillat had another penalty corner chance in the fourth quarter but once again Pinner reacted well to glove the ball clear and then with time running out, Great Britain had arguably the best chance of the match. David Ames showed terrific skill to find space to feed David Condon, whose through pass sent Barry Middleton clear but Berthold was up to the job, sliding out to block the Great Britain captain’s shot, ensuring it ended goalless.

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley

On the performance: “There were good passages and we created some chances but our play on the ball wasn’t as good as yesterday. We turned possession over too often, which allowed them into the game and made it a bit scrappy. It was difficult to create consistent pressure as a result.”

On Argentina: “They were better today which I expected but they still aimed to play on the break trying to cause us problems that way. Some of our defending was very good but overall I’m a bit disappointed. That said they are a good team so it’s not as though we expected to win comfortably.”

On the depth in the squad: “Over the two games a few people have really put their hands up and made it difficult to select a squad for the World League. We knew we had that depth and to see it in a game is very pleasing. We need options within the 18 that travel as well as outside it to push them. The group looks very promising right now.”



For squad information including starting lineups and caps, click here.

Bobby Crutchley’s Great Britain side will return to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to face World Champions Australia on 13 June. This one-off international is the last chance to see Great Britain men on home soil this summer. Tickets are still available, for further information click here.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Aitken Trophy quarter-finals serve up a tasty dish of contrasts


The Osaka Vibe Unit has been creating a lively atmosphere at the Randburg Stadium. If you would like to have the Osaka Vibe Unit at your South African Hockey event, contact us here.

The big games in the U18 elite A Section Aitken Trophy Saturday morning are of course the quarter-finals on the Randburg Hockey Stadium pitch and they look like this:

08h00 Pool A winners St Davids vs Pool B runners up St Johns
09h05 Pool D winners St Benedicts vs Pool C runners up Beaulieu
10h10 Pool B winners St Stithians vs Pool A runners up KES
11h15 Pool C winners Jeppe vs Pool D runners up Parktown

There are the eight teams still in the hunt for Aitken Trophy glory and that precious silverware, but first there is the considerable challenge of overcoming the hugely daunting quarter-final hurdle in order to secure a slot in Saturday afternoon’s semi-final showdowns.

Of course I am sticking my neck out here on the basis of very little evidence other than what I saw yesterday, while fans who have been at myriad matches in the Southerns region will probably laugh heartily at some of my assumptions, but, hey, who cares much for a man who sits on the fence?

So here goes!

The 8am QF1 clash sees St Davids as the clear favourites in this writer’s opinion against St Johns but playoff/knockout matches call them what you will have the effect of bringing that old saying cometh the hour cometh the man to the fore and who plays the big moments best is key.

If anything, St Davids have the variety of game and skill set to seemingly create goal shot opportunities at will and the St Johns defensive structure needs to be at its very best to counter this massive attacking weapon. However, and there is always a however, when one brings up the name of one Robin van Ginkel.

In all the right ways – and having spent considerable time on overseas senior national team  tours with “Pam” as Rob van Ginkel is affectionately known I can surely attest to this - the St Johns mentor is a very proud man, hugely competitive and passionate beyond passion when it comes to the beautiful game that is hockey.

One thing is absolutely certain: Pam will have a plan to topple St Davids. Whether it comes off, of course right now we don’t know. But where Robin van Ginkel is concerned you can always be sure to expect the unexpected.

This St Davids/St Johns QF has the makings of an absolute classic. St Johns have won Aitken four times, one-time winners St Davids are the reigning champions; St David’s v St Johns is a remake of the 2014 Aitken Trophy final. Get to Randburg early, gentlemen and good ladies, this is one you definitely do not want to miss.

The second QF at 9.05am is Beaulieu’s to lose I fancy, simply because I think they have the game-breakers, match-winners in sufficient number and variety to offer a solid St Benedicts side too many areas to counter.

My feeling was that Pool D was probably the easier of the four Pools to negotiate but St Benedicts have reached the final before, albeit back in 2010, and no doubt the Class of 2015 would dearly love to go one further this year.

For Beaulieu the prospect of having a crack at the semi-finals should they negotiate the St Benedicts hurdle must be a deeply held feeling and they certainly have the chance to make history should they eventually earn the right to contest Sunday afternoon’s 14h45 Aitken Trophy final. But hugely experienced Beaulieu coach Ally Fredericks will be the first man to tell his lads not to get ahead of themselves.

The 10.10am quarter-final three bust-up is remarkable for many reasons, not least the distinguished (probably that is too mild an adjective certainly in the case of KES) hockey record of one King Edward VII School and their opponent St Stithians Boys College.

George Aitken, the father of Trevor Aitken, one of Saints’ multitude of gifted sportsmen over the years, started this Aitken Trophy to celebrate the priceless values of sportsmanship and fair play in an intensely competitive arena and Saints have a touch surprisingly only won Aitken Trophy once, in 1975, and were finalists on just one other occasion, in 1979.

Saints coach Mark Sanders is a former KES boy and the former coach at one point, I think, so there is that little cameo, while Mr Sanders is as competitive as they come and would love for the St Stithians name in the winners’ enclosure this year. KES have been hurting a little of late, but command massive respect in SA hockey history and have won Aitken 11 times, a remarkable achievement. Never, ever, discount a KES boy who has the underdog tag cast his way.

QF4 at 11.15am sees Pool C winners Jeppe out-and-out favourites to topple the challenge of Parktown. Jeppe simply have too many game-changers, match-winners and plain old opposition heart-breakers in their midst but Parktown have won this event 11 times to Jeppe’s 13 triumphs and you can never say never against a school boasting the proud Aitken record that Parktown has.

Once the dust settles we will see what’s in store in the Saturday afternoon semis.

On the top Randburg field, of course, the Aitken playoff matches for positions nine to 16 take place Saturday morning.

Aitken Tournament media release

Hockey squad off to Korea

LAHORE: Pakistan national hockey squad left here on Friday for South Korea to play a series of four Test matches there. The squad will play the matches on May 18, 20, 22 and 23 before returning home on May 25.

Talking to media before the team’s departure, captain Mohammad Im­r­an said that matches against South Korea would be very close. “However, after having beaten South Korea in the [recently held] four-nation tournament in Australia our team’s morale is high,” the skipper added.

“I hope the team will deliver a better game in Korea, we would try to implement the experience we gained in the Australia four-nation event,” he added. “The Korea tour will benefit our team in the Olympic qualifying round [to be held later this year].”


Mohammad Imran (captain), Imran Butt, Mohammad Irfan, Tasawwar Abbas, Zohaib Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan Jr, Mohammad Tauseeq, Ahmad Shakeel Butt, Faisal Qadir, Mohammad Waqas Sharif, Arsalan Qadir, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Dilber, Ali Shan, Mazhar Abbas, Mohammad Kashif Ali, Nawaz Ashfaq.

Team management:

Shahnaz Sheikh (head coach), Nasir Ali (assistant coach).


Shahnaz vows good show in Korea

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team head coach and manager Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh looks quite satisfied with his meetings with Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General prior to departure to Korea for four-match test series.

Talking to The Nation, Shahnaz said: “I met with both gentlemen and request them to release special grant for Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) as players are suffering for the last one year or so and it will be almost impossible for the federation and coaches to take performances from players without paying them anything. It has already very negative impact not only on players, coaches, selectors but also on the country’s reputation. The PHF has already borrowed a whopping Rs 20 million and we will need at least Rs 40 million just to participate in the Olympic qualifiers next month in Belgium.”

Despite repeated promises, the federation has yet to receive grant recommended by the IPC minister and the file is now lying on the PM’s table for the last several months. “I must admit I had great meeting with the IPC secretary as he has promised me that the funds will be issued very soon.

“I also requested the PSB DG to at least clear Asian Games and Champions Trophy incentives as per rules of business, on which he promised the amount would be released very soon. I am quite hopeful when they return from Korea, there will be finally a great news for the players and they will get the dues,” he added.

Shahnaz said: “The 18-meber team excluding Rizwan Ali, who was denied visa by Korean embassy along with three officials Nasir Ali, Dr Asad Abbas and me will travel with the team. We have made three changes in the squad, which represented the country in the Australian four-nation event. It was a great learning experience for not only boys but also for the coaches, as prior to that, we had played only at Asian Games and Champions Trophy. Now we have met with top teams of Europe in Hobart and chalked out a comprehensive plan and masses would notice positive results in the Korean series.”

He added: “We wanted to play five-match test series, but now we are playing only four matches. We have selected Mazhar Abbas as goalkeeper, Army's M Kashif who is a center forward and can also play as left in replaces left in Rizwan Ali, while full back Kashif is replaced by Muhamamd Nawaz.”

Pakistan will play first match on May 18, second on May 20, third on May 22 and fourth on May 23. We have extra day to prepare and train before the first test. We will conduct short training camp before departure to Belgium for the Olympics qualifier,” Shahnaz concluded.

Sharing his views, PHF secretary Olympian Rana Mujahid said: “The federation is under enormous financial crunch. We already owe Rs 20 million and we need another at least 40 million to play in the Olympics qualifiers. We have borrowed huge amount in the hope the government would soon release special grant and most importantly. We didn't want to spoil all the good work done by the coaches and boys during the long training camps. We wanted to give them exposure and much-needed match practice prior to the Olympics qualifiers.”

“I once again request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also PHF patron, to have mercy on players and hockey and order release of long overdue funds, so that we may focus on implementing our future plans, rather than running from post to pillar to arrange funds. I hope the PM will not disappoint the heroes of the country and grant will be issued before the team arrives from Korea,” Rana concluded.

The Nation

Indian team's camp to kick off tomorrow in Delhi

New Delhi - The Preparatory Camp of the Indian Men Core Probable’s team commences at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi on 16th May and will continue till 9th June 2015. The camp is the groundwork for the upcoming FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium from 20 June to 5 July 2015.

Forty-Eight players will be part of the initial camp starting 16th May 2015, wherein they will be gauged on their skills and how they play under pressure. Post a week training session of the camp, the top 33 core probable’s will be identified along with the team for the Indian squad to play for the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final in Belgium.

The 48 players are part of the initial camp will see players getting picked up from the recently culminated National Championship and include names like Akash Chikte who is a promising goalkeeper and was declared the one of the Upcoming Players of the Tournament for the Senior Men National Championship 2015. Besides him, goalkeeper Arpit Chaudhary and Abhinav Pandey have even made it to the 48 core probables.

Within the Defenders, Sunil Yadav and Midfielders Vikas Sharma and Imran Khan will feature in the camp. From the Forwards names like PR Ayiapa, Harasahib Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Vineet Kamble and Amir Khan get a chance to showcase their play under Indian Men Chief Coach Paul van Ass.

The Indian Men Team has gained a significant experience from the recently concluded India-Japan Test Series in Bhubaneswar where they won the series by 3-0. The Indian team experimented with new strategies and team combinations, which yielded them positive results.

Commenting on the new faces who will be part of the camp, Roelant Oltmans, Director High Performance, Hockey India said, “It is nice to see new boys getting a chance to prove their worth and potential. Each new player identified on the probable’s list is from their performance during the Hockey India National Championships and their future potential to be part of the Indian squad. Their play was the key for us to select them for the camp and give them a chance to further refine their skills and experience.”

The FIH Hockey World League Semi Final will be held in Antwerp, Belgium from 20 June to 05 July 2015.

The List of 48 Senior Men Players


1 Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh
2 Harjot Singh
3 Arpit Chaudhary
4 Akash Chikte
5 Jaswant Singh
6 Abhinav Pandey
7 Sushant Tirkey


8 Gurbaj Singh
9 Rupinder Pal Singh
10 Raghunath Vokkalinga Ramachandra
11 Birendra Lakra
12 Kothjit Singh Khadangbam
13 Gurjinder Singh
14 Gurmail Singh
15 Sunil Yadav
16 Pradeep Mor
17 Amit Rohidas
18 Surinder Kumar


19 Manpreet Singh
20 S. K. Uthappa
21 Dharamvir Singh
22 Sardar Singh
23 Danish Mujtaba
24 Satbir Singh
25 Chinglensana Singh
26 Vikas Sharma
27 Imran Khan
28 M B Aiyappa


29 Nikkin Thimmaiah
30 S.V. Sunil
31 Mandeep Singh
32 Akashdeep Singh
33 Ramandeep Singh
34 Lalit Upadhyay
35 Affan Yousuf
36 Yuvraj Walmiki
37 PR Ayiapa
38 Harsahib Singh
39 Jaskaran Singh
40 Vineet Kamble
41 Malak Singh
42 Mandeep Antil
43 Amir Khan
44 Prabhdeep Sing
45 Jasjit Singh Kular
46 Devinder Sunil Walmiki
47 Talwinder Singh
48 Nithin Thimmaiah


Hockey camp to begin from Saturday

The men’s hockey preparatory camp, comprising 48 probables, for the forthcoming FIH Hockey World League Semifinal will begin from Saturday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The camp will run till June 9 ahead of the World League, scheduled from June 20 to 5 July, at Antwerp, Belgium. The list of probables, which includes young faces like goalkeeper Akash Chikte and Arpit Chaudhary, will be pruned down to 33 after a week’s training.

“It is nice to see new boys getting a chance to prove their worth and potential. Each new player identified on the list has been picked up because of their performance during the Hockey India National Championship and given a chance to further refine their skills and experience,” said Hockey India's High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans.

The team recently won the four-match series against Japan 3-0 in Bhubaneshwar.

Probables: Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Harjot Singh, Arpit Chaudhary, Akash Chikte, Jaswant Singh, Abhinav Pandey, Sushant Tirkey; Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, V R Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Gurmail Singh, Sunil Yadav, Pradeep Mor, Amit Rohidas, Surinder Kumar; Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, S K Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Sardar Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Satbir Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Vikas Sharma, Imran Khan, M B Aiyappa; Forwards: Nikkin Thimmaiah, S V Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Affan Yousuf, Yuvraj Walmiki, PR Ayiapa, Harsahib Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Vineet Kamble, Malak Singh, Mandeep Antil, Amir Khan, Prabhdeep Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular, Devinder Suni l Walmiki, Talwinder Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah.

Deccan Herald

Hockey core probables camp to begin on Saturday

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final, a preparatory camp for the Indian men's core probables will commence at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Saturday and will continue till June 9.

Forty-Eight players will be part of the initial camp, wherein they will be gauged on their skills and how they play under pressure. Following a week training session of the camp, the top 33 core probables will be identified along with the team for the Indian squad to play in the FIH HWL Semi-Final to be held in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20 to July 5.

The 48 players are part of the initial camp will also see players getting picked up from the recently culminated national championship and include names like Akash Chikte who is a promising goalkeeper and was declared the one of the upcoming players of the senior national championship.

Besides him, goalkeeper Arpit Chaudhary and Abhinav Pandey have even made it to the core probables.

Talented defender Sunil Yadav and midfielders Vikas Sharma and Imran Khan will also feature in the camp. Young strikers P.R. Ayiapa, Harasahib Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Vineet Kamble and Amir Khan will get a chance to impress chief coach Paul van Ass.

Prior to the camp, the Indian team also played in a Test series against Japan at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. India won the series 3-0. The Indian team experimented with new strategies and team combinations, which yielded them positive results.

"It is nice to see new boys getting a chance to prove their worth and potential. Each new player identified on the probables list is from their performance during the national championships and their future potential to be part of the Indian squad," high performance director Roelant Oltmans said in a release.

"Their performance was the key for us to select them for the camp and give them a chance to further refine their skills and experience."

The Times of India

Balbir Singh Sr calls upon youth to focus on sports and studies

FATEHGARH SAHIB: Emphasizing on the importance of sports, hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior on Friday gave a call to the youth to focus both on study and sports to succeed in life.

Addressing the seminar on 'Career in sports' organized by Sports Department Punjab and Australian Trade Commission here on Friday, the Olympian gave whole credit of his success to his teachers, coaches and parents.

He said that it was their teachings and blessings that he represented Indian hockey team which won gold medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Olympics.

The nonagenarian proudly shared that in the 1952 Olympics final he shot record five goals which is still a record.

Balbir wished to witness his record breaking by a hockey player from Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion, MLA Jalandhar Cantonment and former captain of Indian hockey team Pargat Singh said that any target could be achieved with positive thinking and dedication.

He expressed hope that Indian hockey's golden days would return soon as our team was showing good results.

Prominent Australian cricketer Melanie Jones encouraged girls to opt sports as career.

She said that self confidence plays important role in sports and budding players should not compare themselves with established ones.

The Times of India

USA eyes top spot, while Browne has hopes for last Hurrah

Sarah Juggins, for PAHF

Kwan Browne (Trinidad & Tobago) and Katie O’Donnell (USA)   

Katie O’Donnell is fast turning into one of the most feared strikers on the women’s hockey scene. Nicknamed ‘the Burglar’ by other nations, the USA athlete pops up to slot the ball home with unerring regularity and, most recently, was on target again as her team beat Pan American rivals Argentina in a convincing 3-0 win at the Hawkes Bay Eight Nations hockey tournament in New Zealand.

The victory over Argentina is good timing for the USA team as it is extremely likely to meet Argentina twice in as many months – firstly at the Hockey World League Semi Finals and then in the Pan American Games. This victory will give the team great confidence going into these important encounters.

Like all the athletes currently playing for Team USA, O’Donnell, or “O’D” as she is commonly known within the squad, talks of the strong team bond that the players have and, while other sides may talk glowingly about their team work and the strong friendships within their squad, with the USA, you get the feeling that this is the very core of their ethos. Talk to any USA athlete about why the team has progressed in the past few years and the answer is unequivocal – it’s down to the collective strength and hard work of the squad.

One man who knows just how important it is for a team to work together is Trinidad and Tobago’s Kwan Browne. Unlike Team USA, who train together every day, Browne and his team are spread all over the world and can only get together for intensive training periods every so often. But Browne, who has played more than 300 times for Trinidad and Tobago, is ever optimistic about his team’s chances in the Pan Am Games and, with his own hockey pedigree and coaching excellence having a huge influence on his team, there is no doubt that Trinidad and Tobago will be mixing it with the bigger teams right to the final whistle.

Despite Trinidad and Tobago’s relatively lowly position as 29th ranked team in the world, Browne himself is a living legend in hockey circles. In the UK, he is the England U21 Assistant Coach and head coach for National League premier division side, Canterbury and in 2012/13 he won the award for England Hockey High Performance Coach of the Season.

Browne has been the mainstay of the national team for more than 18 years, playing in four Commonwealth Games as well as four Pan American Games and three Pan American Cup competitions. This year’s Pan American Games will be his last, and also his last chance to help his team secure that most treasured of things, a place at the 2016 Olympics.

He talks of how hockey in Trinidad and Tobago has developed over the past two decades. “I was the first male player to leave the country on a scholarship to play and study in England. I had a successful first year coaching my university side and playing in the England Premier League,” he says.

“As a result, the university offered a scholarship to another Trinidad and Tobago player, which was also successful. The following year, three scholarships were offered. This meant that from the time I got my first cap to just five years later, Trinidad and Tobago had seven players studying and playing at a very high level in England. This transformed the level of the national side as we all learnt a lot and were able to bring new ideas back home. We then qualified for the Indoor World Cup in Vienna and were able to attract some of the top Dutch national coaches. The knowledge these coaches imparted meant that we developed technically, tactically and mentally.”

As hockey knowledge flowed into the country, so the players began to flow out. As well as England, Browne’s national team mates were now playing in Spain and Germany and other parts of Europe. However, the growth in the sport also attracted the attention of the Trinidad and Tobago government who invested money into hockey, meaning the national squad was able to come together more frequently for training and travel the world to play against some of the best countries.

Browne’s coaching commitments in the UK has meant he needs to plan his time carefully. “Because our international tournaments are normally in the summer, it doesn't regularly affect my club commitments. However, the last year has been challenging as I have been working as the assistant coach for England U21 Men and the England Senior Men Development squad and we have quite a few camps and tournaments during the year. Early planning has been crucial so I will arrange to go back to Trinidad and Tobago where possible and do intensive camps over 10 days.”

The fact that Browne is working with another national team has had added benefits for the Trinidad and Tobago team as Browne explains: “I am able to keep up to date with the new developments and when we have the intensive camps I am able to pass on the things I have learnt. Occasionally the Trinidad and Tobago national coach will come over to England for three to four months and spend time looking at the Premier League and gathering information from some of the coaches.”

The biggest hurdle that Trinidad and Tobago faces is the inconsistency of government funding, which makes it difficult to do any long term planning. “When we had consistent funding our ranking jumped to 18th, we were doing really well and were hoping to get into the top 15. With funding, players can receive a stipend and have some of their travelling expenses covered. While the players did not earn money, this was enough to play and train hard,” says Browne.

“However, now that the funding is a bit ad hoc, players are forced to get full time jobs, so getting time off is a massive problem. We haven't got thousands of players to choose from, so if a few key players are missing from a tournament it has a massive impact on our quality. The Pan Am Games in July will be the first time in about eight years we will have all our players available, so we are all quite excited.”

Team USA are in a very different position to Trinidad and Tobago. The team trains together just about every day, and the squad members are full-time athletes. Speaking after the USA’s trip to New Zealand, O’Donnell explained why she feels the USA is now in a position to challenge any of the top teams in the world, starting with its Pan Am rivals. “Over the past 10 years, I have seen this team grow so much. We are continuously competing against the top ranked teams in the world, including our Pan American rival, Argentina.  Over the past year we have tied them four times, lost once, and won twice. That record over the past year speaks for itself. We are striving to be number one on the American Continent.”

The USA has two chances to qualify for the 2016 Olympics this year. Firstly at the Hockey World League Semi Finals in Valencia, then at the Pan Am Games. “I wish I was a fortune teller so I could predict the outcome of these tournaments”, says O’Donnell, “But we are training our tails off so that we can be peaking at our two qualifying tournaments. And I prefer my seat where we have the ability to make our dreams come true.”

So what is it that has made the USA shoot up the world rankings from 11th in June 2014 to its current position of fifth in the world?

“Honestly I attribute all our strengths to a well-rounded group. We have some players who are crazy fast, seriously skilled, great communicators, and also players who can run for days. When you put us together we ultimately bring our personal strength, then feed off our teammates’ strengths. Because we train against each other every single day, you need to give every effort to match your teammates’ strengths, or you will struggle to succeed in training.”

When it comes to personal strengths, O’Donnell says she has developed tactically and technically in the past two years to the point where she now feels she is a senior player within the squad. “I feel my best strength is my pressing. We are an attacking team and if I can have a little part in helping us get the ball in order to attack I feel I am contributing to this team’s success.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Women’s National Team roster named for Ireland series in Toronto

Four game test series begins May 23rd at new Pan Am Fields

Shaheed Devji

The Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team has named its roster for the upcoming four-game test series against the Irish Women’s National Team, which will be held in Toronto, Ontario from May 23rd-27th, 2015.

Twenty athletes will be travelling to the new Pan-Am/Para Pan-Am Fields at the University of Toronto, the site of field hockey for this summer’s Pan American Games.

Among those named to the team are a handful of athletes from Ontario including team captain Kate Gillis (Kingston, ON), sisters Brienne and Tegan Stairs (Kitchener, ON), and midfielder Amanda Woodcroft (Waterloo, ON).

Additionally, three athletes – Alex Thicke (Vancouver, BC), Woodcroft, and Kaelan Watson (Richmond, BC) – represented the University of Toronto Varsity Blues during their Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) careers.

In addition to being an opportunity to test out the Pan American Games venue, the team will be using the Ireland series as preparation to compete in the World League Semifinals – a 2016 Olympic qualifier – in Valencia, Spain from June 10th-21st.

Eighteen athletes will be named to the touring roster that will represent Canada in Spain. The top three of that tournament earn a spot to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

The Toronto Series with Ireland consists of four matches to be played May 23rd and 24th (3:00pm), and May 26th and 27th (6:00pm). A team of Canadian officials consisting Denise Pelletier, Megan Robertson, Ozias D’Souza, Trevor Martin, and Wendy Stewart will be overseeing the tournament.

Schedules, news, and results can be found here.

Women’s National Team Touring Roster – May 2015 Ireland Series




Senior Caps

Abigail Raye


Kelowna, BC


Alex Thicke


Vancouver, BC


Amanda Woodcroft


Waterloo, ON


Beckett Frisch


Calgary, AB


Brienne Stairs


Kitchener, ON


Danielle Hennig (VC)*


Kelowna, BC


Hannah Haughn


North Vancouver, BC


Kaelan Watson


Richmond, BC


Kaitlyn Williams


White Rock, BC


Karli Johansen


North Vancouver, BC


Kate Gillis (C)**


Kingston, ON


Maddie Secco


Victoria, BC


Natalie Sourisseau


Kelowna, BC


Priya Randhawa


Surrey, BC


Rosie Beale


Victoria, BC


Sara McManus


Tsawwassen, BC


Shanlee Johnston


Vancouver, BC


Stephanie Norlander


North Vancouver, BC


Tegan Stairs


Kitchener, ON


Thea Culley (VC)*


Rossland, BC




Women’s National Team Touring Staff – May 2015 Ireland Series

Head Coach – Ian Rutledge

Assistant Coach – Stephanie Andrews

Team Manager – Diane Gillis

Video Analyst – Stefanie Sloboda

Athletic Therapist – Michelle Meckling

High Performance Manager – Lisa Northrup

Officials – May 2015 Ireland Series 

Technical Director(s) – Ozias D’Souza, Trevor Martin

Umpire(s) – Denise Pelletier, Megan Robertson

Umpire(s) Manager – Wendy Stewart

Field Hockey Canada media release

New Irish Coach to Lead Womens Hockey Programme

Darren Smith has announced he will step down as Irish senior women’s coach at the end of World League Round 3 in Valencia in June, the key qualifier for the Olympic Games, to return to his native New Zealand to be with his family.

His assistant, Graham Shaw, will take on the head coach role with the rest of the current management and coaching team continuing in their respective positions.

Smith linked up with the Irish senior women’s team in January 2013 and has built a side that has undergone a transformation in recent times, becoming a highly effective attacking unit that looks in great shape to contest for an Olympic berth in Valencia.

In 2014, the national side produced its best performance on the world stage in over a decade when they earned a silver medal at the Champions Challenge in Glasgow, beating world number eight side Korea as well as World Cup-bound South Africa.

Indeed, the side beat four higher ranked nations in 2014, ending the year with a run of seven wins in succession. The momentum carried through to World League Round 2 in March, a key step on the road to Rio de Janeiro, with six wins from six games.

Speaking about Smith’s decision to step down, Hockey Ireland CEO Mike Heskin said: “I have really enjoyed working with Darren over the last two and half years; it has been a very exciting time for Irish hockey.

“The upward trajectory in the performance of the National women's team is plain to see and is a credit to Darren’s coaching skills, work ethic and planning.

“This team has seen success under his stewardship and the plans are in place to ensure this progress will continue. I would like to thank Darren for his services to Irish hockey; we are sorry to lose him but understand his desire to return to his home in New Zealand and be with his young family. I wish Darren and his wife Beth the very best in the future.”

Commenting on his decision Smith stated "we have loved our time in this beautiful country and are disappointed to be leaving. The warmth of the people and particularly the hockey community has made it an extremely enjoyable experience."

"I'm very proud of the work that we have done with the team and am very much looking forward to World League 3 to see us step up to an even higher level. The team is a delight to coach and is filled with talented, committed and intelligent women who are focused on bringing success to Ireland."

"The Green Army is superbly lead by a group of 12 staff from the Irish Sports Institute, Sport Institute Northern Ireland and Hockey Ireland, all of whom I cannot thank enough. Graham Shaw has been a huge support during my time with the team, he is a first class coach and I know he will lead the program to our ultimate goal of performance in our sports pinnacle events, the Olympic Games and World Cup. I wish Graham and the team the very best and will of course be following their success."

Graham Shaw takes on the mantle after a number of years working with Smith in an assistant role since May 2013.

Shaw is one of Ireland's most decorated players, earning 151 caps between 2002 and 2009, before embarking on an already impressive coaching career. In 2010, he carved out a unique piece of history by coaching Loreto to the women’s Irish Senior Cup title before, on the same day, winning the men’s man of the match title in Glenanne’s success.

More recently, he coached Monkstown to their first national title in 99 years with their 2013 Irish Senior Cup. The club have subsequently become the first to win three Irish Hockey League titles in succession under his tutelage.

Shaw was formally added to Darren Smith’s coaching team in May 2013.

Heskin said Hockey Ireland is: “delighted to appoint Graham Shaw to the position of head coach.

“Graham has worked hand in hand with Darren Smith as assistant coach over the last two years, so he is well placed to keep the level of progress moving at pace.

“Graham’s track record within Irish hockey both as a player and a coach has been exceptional. While Graham’s appointment will provide much needed continuity, I am certain he will bring his own brand of exciting hockey to this team.

“He has been a member of the Irish Institute of Sport Podium Programme, which develops high performance coaches to bring our national teams to World and Olympic level so it is very exciting to see hockey now being guided at the highest level by an Irish coach. I wish Graham well in his new and exciting role.”

Speaking about his appointment, Shaw said "I am very proud and honoured to be taking over the role of Head Coach. I am very excited to coach this team of very talented players and really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the coming year"

"I would like to thank Darren for everything he has brought to Irish hockey and on a personal note for all his guidance and support over the past two years. I would like to wish him and his family all the best for the future"

"Coaching your National team is a real privilege and I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead "

Irish Hockey Association media release

USWNT Gives Back with Kindness

LANCASTER, Pa. – Being an international athlete adds up. Calculate the numerous hours spent in the weight room pressing dumbbells. Tally the substantial amount of sprints from baseline to baseline. Subtract excuses. Multiply the intense practices for upcoming tremendous global events. It’s an equation that inspires as well as exhausts. The members of the U.S. Women’s National Team are constantly on the go to continually improve themselves as individuals as well as a team. With the spare amount of time they do have, the athletes are not stagnant but rather have one more important addition to the equation – supporting their local community.

The national team has woven the importance of giving back into their culture by volunteering at events and with organizations in the local Lancaster, Pa. area. On Wednesday, May 13, several athletes visited children at the Pediatric Specialty Care in Lancaster with the intent to create memories and smiles with the patients.

“We are really enthused to be part of all these great events happening in Lancaster,” said Rachel Dawson, U.S. Women’s National Team member. “There is such joy and purpose in this community. It’s inspiring."

Even in the midst of preparing for their series against Ireland next week, the team keeps their community in mind and close to the heart. Tomorrow, May 16, the U.S. Women’s National team will be organizing the warm-up for the Lancaster Girls on the Run Annual 5k event. Along with the stretching, a few members of the team will serve as running buddies and will be teamed up with a girl to run the race. The rest of the team will be cheering on the runners at one of the designated “Happy Zones.”

Team USA will be right back in the community on Sunday, May 17 as they will host a booth at the annual Lancaster Open Streets Event. This event is a project to bring the community together and create excitement around active transportation, specifically biking and walking. It offers a way to support local businesses, provide a space for safe and comfortable exercise and a chance for community members to experience the City of Lancaster in a new and unique way.

On Saturday, May 30, the U.S. Women’s National Team will be attending the Annual Lancaster Special Olympics Family Picnic. At this event they will demonstrate exhibition play for all attendees.

“Our team embraces the opportunity to be a part of it, to engage others in our journey while simultaneously giving back to those who make it possible,” said Dawson. “Who doesn’t love being a part of a process way bigger than themselves? In the end isn’t that what being on a team is all about? It’s fun.”

USFHA media release

Excitement Builds as Cal Cup Nears

Teams and umpires from all over USA and the world are now in the final hours of preparation to board on flights to come and participate in the 44th California Cup International Field Hockey Tournament. This event is one of the most important field hockey tournaments in the United States.

The Cal Cup Organizing Committee and more than 40 volunteers run the event during Memorial weekend in four venues with 16 fields and over 150 participating teams. The tournament is ready to stage the opening of the games next week for international and club level competition.

What makes Cal Cup so popular among field hockey players of the world is the fact that the event encompasses all levels of the sport for men and women, with divisions for players under 10 years old to over 50 years old.

For More Information please see:

USFHA media release

Malaysian Juniors' India playing tour a no-go

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Juniors’ proposed five-match tour of India has been called off.

The tour, supposed to be part of their SEA Games preparations, was cancelled due to the high cost involved.

“Initially, we were told that the host would pay for our board and lodging. But now they’ve said no. So, we have decided to skip the tour,” said National Juniors coach A. Arulselvaraj.

“The team will now train at home before leaving for Singapore at the end of the month.”

He also said that they hope to finalise the 18-man squad by next week.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had asked the National Juniors to spearhead the SEA Games challenge as the senior players are involved in the World Hockey League Semi-Finals, which will played in Antwerp, Belgium, next month.

Arulselvaraj confirmed that “I have already finalised 14 names for the SEA Games”.

“But I’ve left four spots vacant so that the players left out of the senior team can be considered.”

There are three Junior players in the senior training squad. They are Mohd Shahril Saabah, Meor Mohd Azzuan and Mohd Haziq Shamsul.

Arulselvaraj said that he will pick the trio for the Games “if they do not make the team for Belgium”.

“That’s why I need to meet the senior team management and discuss their selection plans. Once they’ve confirmed their team, I can finalise mine,” he said.

Defender Mohd Najib Hassan is expected to skipper the SEA Games squad.

Malaysia are expected to bag the gold medal in the four-team SEA Games competition. The other teams are Singapore, Myanmar and Thailand.

But Malaysia had better not be too confident. In 1973, Malaysia failed to grab the gold medal when they fielded a mixed team of juniors and seniors.

The Star of Malaysia

Subahan takes over 1MAS programme

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: New Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal will head the 1MAS programme.

He wil take over from former National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong, who resigned as the 1MAS chairman on Thursday.

Subahan said that the programme was an important part of the MHC’s development project and it would be better for him to head it.

“But I will ask NSC director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail to be co-chairman of the programme. I believe that both parties will be able to work together to further develop the programme,” said Subahan.

Zolkples was appointed chairman by former MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah when the programme was launched in 2010.

Former international Lim Chiow Chuan is the programme director and he oversees the operational aspects.

The 1MAS programme was initiated with funding from the government with the objective of developing talents at the grassroots level in all states.

Subahan said he would meet the 1MAS officials next week “so as to have a better understanding of their tasks and where the programme is heading”.

Subahan, who also chairs the team management committee and the finance committee, is expected to name the other sub-committee chairmen after the MHC’s second executive council meeting on May 30.

He is also expected to announce national team’s coaching structure on Monday.

He will meet the national players and coaches before deciding on the status of Australian Neil Hawgood.

The Star of Malaysia

Coaches hail Varsity Hockey ahead of final

It’s been quite a ride for the University of the Free State (Kovsies) in South Africa's Varsity Sports this year. In April, they claimed their maiden Varsity Cup title and followed it up with the Varsity Sevens title.

Now they are in yet another final with the Kovsies hockey ladies hosting the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in the Varsity Hockey final on Monday.

For some, this would add to the pressure of winning the title, but for Kovsies hockey coach Braam Van Wyk, it simply underscores the team’s goal.

“I don't think there is extra pressure. The only pressure we experience is the pressure of our own goals that we set in the beginning of the year and that is to be the best that we can be,” Van Wyk said.

Kovsies have gone unbeaten through the group and semifinal stages of the competition and hammered UJ 5-1 when the two teams met in the group stages, something Van Wyk thinks will add to the occasion and certainly does not make the hosts favourites.

“On the contrary, I believe the fact that we beat UJ earlier during the competition will serve as extra motivation. Also the fact that we realise that reputations count for nothing. We believe that when we run onto the park, we run onto the park with a 50/50 chance to win. It is the team who wants it the most who will win on the day,” the coach said.

UJ won five of their seven group games, finishing third on the log behind Tuks. They came back strong in the semifinal, beating Tuks 2-0. Coach Robin van Ginkel admits that his side is keen to improve on their previous showing.

“If we look at the tournament, we played Kovsies on day four and had some injuries. We are definitely aiming to win, we've done our prep and will be trying to give them a really great final,” Van Ginkel said.

Varsity Hockey had its inaugural season in 2013 and Kovsies’ coach Van Wyk believes there has been a big improvement since then and that the tournament is an important stepping stone in the careers of many of the players.

“It is always a wonderful experience for hockey players who always have to pay through their ears for everything,” says Van Wyk.

“I also believe that the standard of hockey has improved since the first year as everybody knows what to expect. This tournament is very important. It gives the opportunity to so many younger players to play high quality hockey against top players.

"If you look at the number of players in the SA under-21 squad as well as national players, you will realise why the standard is so high and the tournament is so important,” the coach explains.

UJ’s Van Ginkel concurs. It’s his second tournament, but first as head coach and he believes it’s a great platform for young talent.

“It has been brilliant. It's been a superb tournament. The schedule is tough with eight games in 12 days but from an organisational perspective it's been a great event allowing the students to have the opportunity to compete in a professional event,” Van Ginkel says.

With the prep done off the field, it’s all about who will shine on it and the coaches have picked their players to watch.

From Kovsies, Van Wyk says: “Watch out for Izelle Lategan, Tanya Britz, Line Malan, Nicole Walraven and Cornelle Botha who won three player of the match awards in succession have all been great. And our two key defenders Jonelke Swanepoel and Jacqui Ras.”

UJ’s Van Ginkel picks: ”Lillian du Plessis, she is a very important player with over 80 caps for South Africa, she is very influential. Kalia Flemming also has lots of international experience. Taryn Mallet won the inaugural season with Maties so she is familiar with the system and has played in a final before. Her experience will be valuable.”


Kovsies ready for improved UJ

UFS-Kovsies’ star Nicole Walraven believes UJ will a different team in the Varsity Hockey final than the one they so comprehensively beat in Round Four in this year’s tournament.

The Bloem ladies won that game 5-1 in a one sided affair, but UJ have improved significantly since that outing and will be stiff opposition.

“It is going to be a different game, they have stepped up their game as well especially with Lilian du Plessis back in the striker position. She is going to make it a much tougher and much quicker game,” Walraven told varsitysportssa.com.

“I believe in our team and back my team enough to play our brand of hockey. It is going to be a team effort and not about individuals. If we can play as a team and play our brand then we will definitely pull through in the end.”

Kovsies got past defending champions the Maties in the semifinal in a tough match where they were kept on their toes for the full 60 minutes.

“It was a very tense match. Maties caught us off guard in the beginning, but we played our brand of hockey and we pulled through and we are very excited for the final, especially that it is here in Bloem. We are very excited to have our home crowd supporting us,” said Walraven.

The Maties game was an up and down affair for Walraven, who was both hero and villain after scoring a goal and receiving two yellow cards in the match.

“It was very frustrating getting carded and sitting on the bench for ten minutes, which was almost a whole quarter.

“I am not going to let it get me down. I am better than that and on Monday I will show them what I am made off and hopefully I don’t get another card,” she said.

After eight wins from eight, Kovsies will go into the final as favourites and Walraven says it all down to the hard work each player has put in this season and the fact that some of the team are national players as well.

“We worked really hard to prepare for Varsity Hockey and we know each other’s playing style. We know each other inside and out. We established a good brand of hockey and things have worked out and we are not going stop.

“The fact that there were four of us at that camp in January, I think it could have helped us lift our level of hockey as well. The exposure that we had made us step up our game and pull up our socks to have a higher standard of hockey,” she added.

This year’s Varsity Hockey tournament is midfielder’s second and she has seen first-hand how the level of competition has improved in the last two years.

“It is crazy. This is probably the best tournament I have played in. The standard that we have here compared to two years ago is so much higher and it is so nice to see how the standard has lifted and has improved so much.

“It gives people hope for South African hockey. Especially women’s hockey as well because we don’t really get that much coverage or support. Hopefully people will start noticing us now,” said Walraven.

Varsity Sports media release

Maties going through a phase

Maties captain Erin Hunter believes their loss to UFS-Kovsies in the semifinal of Varsity Hockey is no train smash and that her side are merely in a building phase.

The Stellenbosch side, who were also defending champions after their victory in 2013, put up a brave fight before losing 3-1 to the Bloem ladies in a tense match in Johannesburg

“As we are sports people any loss is a disappointment, but we are in a building phase at Maties,” Hunter told varsitysportssa.com.

“We reached our peak last year and this loss is not the end of the world.”

Hunter said that there was a reversal of roles between themselves and Kovsies, with the Bloem side reaping the rewards after being together for a few years.

“While we are in our building phase, Kovsies have reached their peak as they have been building for the past four years. Their team this year is basically the same they had at the last Varsity Hockey tournament.

“It was expected that they would reach their peak at some point and this year they just happened to do so and that is why they are so dominant,” she said.

The Maties’ captain, who has a goal of playing in the Olympic Games one day, feels that her side was inconsistent in this year’s tournament and it is something they are going to need to work on before the next big tournament.

“In some games we were very good and then in other games we just dropped our standard and we could not match the opposition. Consistency would be the biggest thing we need to achieve,” she explained.

Hunter said the quality of hockey has definitely increased since the last tournament back in 2013 and felt that a number of teams could have made the final.

“The level of competition has increased quite a lot in a sense that there are five or so teams that could have vied equally for the winning spot. With every game you had to go in knowing that this game is going to be tough,” she said.

Hunter also believes the tournaments serves as a launch pad to grow the sport of hockey in South Africa.

“Just by switching on the television and seeing hockey being played is inspiring young kids to get involved. By getting players’ names out there to the population the youngsters become more invested in the players and then therefore become more invested in the sport,” Hunter said.

Varsity Sports media release

HTHC to host club indoor Europeans

Harvestehuder THC will host the EuroHockey Indoor Men’s Club Cup in February 2016 following an announcement by the EHF yesterday.

The German side will be one of four clubs from this season’s Euro Hockey League to play in the competition, joined by Austria’s SV Arminen, England’s East Grinstead and Poland’s WKS Grunwald Poznan.

The German champions are grouped with Sweden’s Partille, Switzerland’s Luzerner and the Czech Republic’s SK Slavia Praha while Spain’s SPV Complutense join their Austrian, English and Polish counterparts.

Euro Hockey League media release

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