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News for 20 July 2015

All the news for Monday 20 July 2015

Canadian quarterfinals set at Pan Am Games

Women face Uruguay Monday; Men take on Trinidad Tuesday

Shaheed Devji

Natalie Sourisseau celebrates during Canada's pool play match against Dominican Republic. Photo: Yan Huckendubler

After their preliminary rounds went almost exactly as predicted, both the Canadian men's and women's field hockey teams are on to the quarterfinals at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

The women's quarterfinal will be played Monday at 7:30pm/ET when Canada takes on Uruguay, while the men hit the field on Tuesday at 7:30pm/ET against Trinidad and Tobago.

After three matches each in pool play, both Canadian teams finished in the upper echelon of their respective pools.

The women, with a record of two wins and one loss, finished second in Pool A after Argentina and the men, who were undefeated, finished at the top of Pool B.

The placing means the Canadians will face lower ranked teams in the crossover quarterfinals. But don't let the ranking fool you; the tournament gets tougher from here.


In the Uruguayans, the Canadian women, who are ranked twentieth in the world and third at the Pan Am Games, faced the twenty-ninth ranked team in the world and the fifth ranked team in the tournament.

Uruguay won once and lost twice during pool play. It's win, 3-2 over Cuba, came against the tournaments second last ranked team. While its two losses came at the hands of the United States (5-0) and Chile (3-0).

Canada and Uruguay have a certain level familiarity with each other, having recently faced-off at the World League Semifina in Valencia, Spain.

The tournament's ninth and tenth ranked teams respectively, the Canadians and Uruguayans met in the ninth place match at World League, with Canada coming out on top by a score of 2-0.

The teams had previously met twice before since 2008. Canada won 1-0 at 2012's World Laague Round 1 and 5-0 in an Olympic qualifier in 2008. Both matches were round-robin matches.

The winner of the Canada-Uruguay quarterfinal will face the winner of

KEY STATS: Canada's Kate Gillis, Karli Johansen, and Stephanie Norlander each have three goals and are tried for third in Pan American Games scoring.

Adam Froese celebrates a goal in Pan Am Games pool play. Photo: Yan Huckendubler


On the men's side, Canada faces a Trinidadian side which is ranked fifth in the tournament, comapred to Canada's second place ranking.

The two teams have played each other three times in the last two years, most recently at World Leaugue Round 2 in San Diego in March, when the Canadians earned a 3-0 win.

The two times prior were also Canadian wins, 3-1 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and a 3-1 win at the Pan American Cup in 2013. All three previous matches were round robin contests.

In the Trinidadians, Canada get a hard working and experienced team, which as an average age of 27. Trinidad, however, is missing one of it's key players, Kwan Browne, due to a knee injury.

Canada is coming off an explosive 8-1 win over Mexico in its final pool match. But what is even more impressive than its 18 goals for in three games is the fact that it has surrendered only two goals again. Argentina, Canada's fiercest competition at the Pan Ams has scored 22 and let in four.

The winner of the Canada-Trinidad and Tobago quarterfinal will face the winner of the United States and Brazil match.

STATS: Gabriel Ho-Garcia leads the Canadians with 5 goals scored in three goals. He is two behind Argentinian Gonzalo Peillat, who has scored each of his seven goals on the penalty corner

Field Hockey Canada media release

Scotland left Pole-axed by last gasp winning goal

by Craig Madden, Photo Credits Petr Toman

Poland captain Pawel Bratkowski celebrates his winning goal on the full-time hooter to leave Scotland devastated

Scotland were on the verge of a well-earned 1-1 draw with tournament favourites Poland in the opening pool match at the European Nations Championships II in Prague today, but with two seconds left they conceded a penalty corner goal to suffer a cruel defeat.

The reversal leaves Scotland`s promotion aspirations in the balance, they must now beat both Croatia tomorrow and Ukraine on Wednesday to reach the semi-final stages and keep alive their hopes of a place in Europe`s top flight in two years time.

The latter encounter might not be an easy affair, Ukraine thumped the Croats 10-5 in a goal feast in the other pool match following this morning's early encounter.

"It was very disappointing to lose in such a manner, we paid the price of not putting our chances away when we had them.   We then allowed the Poles back into the game and gave away two soft goals," said a gutted Derek Forsyth.

Scotland Head Coach Derek Forsyth rues missed chances from his side

The Scots took the game to the talented Poles in the early exchanges and both Alan Forsyth and Dan Coultas at a penalty corner, and Wei Adams, all had chances to take the lead.

The best chance of half was created by a great run by Kenny Bain but his cross left Chris Grassick with perhaps too much time and the Scotland captain`s great opportunity to open the scoring vanished.

Scotland's Wei Adams is denied by a good save.

Then a brilliant long ball by Coultas found Bain alone in the Polish circle but his deflection was directed straight at the goalkeeper.

Jamie Cachia in the Scotland goal had yet to touch the ball but just before the interval his clean sheet was only preserved by a brilliant goal line save by Forsyth at the first Poland penalty corner.

Two minutes into the second half Alan Forsyth made and scored Scotland`s opener, he waltzed along the bye-line and in the resulting scramble the Surbiton striker retained possession of the ball and slipped it under the Polish goalkeeper.

Although a further couple of scoring chances fell to Bain, it was clear that the reversal had stimulated the Poles into action.

Scotland marksman Kenny Bain in action against Poland

There was a clear let-off for the Scots at a Polish set piece, Ross Stott saved on the line only for the rebound to be sent into the net the rebound fortunately the umpire had already blown.

There was a further scare, at the next Polish penalty corner the shot was blocked by runner Nicky Parkes, in the action he sustained a kne injury but was still able to walk off the pitch.

At the other end teenager Hamish Imrie had a clear opening but perhaps made the wrong decision by shooting at the Polish goalkeeper when a pass to the unmarked Adams was the better option.

The Scots defence, which had hitherto dealt perfectly with the Polish strikeforce, was finally caught napping and Krystian Makowski took full advantage to level from close range.

The Poles were now closing in for the winner and with seconds left they were awarded their sixth penalty corner and Pawel Bratkowski stepped up to launch his drag flick into the roof of the net past an outstretched Cachia for the cruel winner.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Green Army through to semi's with 3-0 victory over Ukraine

Photo Credit: Eurohockey

Ireland have booked themselves a semi final spot in the Eurohockey Championships II with one pool game still in hand. The Green Army beat the Ukraine 3-0, leaving them sitting top of Pool A.

The Ukrainians had the first real chance of the game that drew a simple save from McFerran but it was the Irish who looked the more threatening for the bulk of the first half. Both teams struggled to find their rhythm and settle into the game, drawing mistakes from each other. But it was Yvonne O’Byrne who broke the deadlock as she deflected a PC shot into the roof of the net.

The second half began much like the first with the Ukrainians drawing another save from McFerran and applying consistent pressure to the Irish defence. Naomi Carroll gave Ireland a bit of breathing space when she fired home in the 48th minute to make it 2-0.  Shots from Duke, Pinder, Mullan and Daly all went wide in what could have been a more impressive victory, but credit must go to the Ukrainian defence who remained steadfast throughout. The final action of the match saw the Green Army win a PC and 9 outfield players lined the circle. Chloe Brown stepped up and expertly dragged the ball into the top left corner to make the final score 3-0.

Reflecting on the game, Coach Graham Shaw said “ We’re happy with a 3-0 score line. We know that it wasn’t the performance that we are looking for but we’re in the semi finals which is most important. I though Ukraine worked very hard and made it very difficult for us. But we’ll review the video and look forward to the next match on Tuesday”.

Ireland have one more pool match against Czech Republic on Tuesday at 16:45 (Irish time) before their semi final match on Thursday (time tbc).

Eurohockey Championships II, Prague

Ireland 3 (O’Byrne, Carroll , Brown)
Ukraine 0

Team: McFerran, Brown, Mullan, McCay, Frazer (C), Carroll, Pinder, Watkins, Daly, Matthews, Sargent

Subs: Davis, O’Byrne, Lloyd, Duke, McDonald, Meeke, Beatty.

U16's & U18's Results

The junior teams are also in European action and all continued to put in promising performances against high quality opposition.

U18 Boys- Ireland 1 vs 5 Netherlands
U16 Boys- Ireland 0 vs 2 Germany
U16 Girls- Ireland 1 vs 2 Germany

Irish Hockey Association media release

Oltmans takes charge in van Ass’ absence

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

High performance director Roelant Oltmans has been handed the charge in the absence of chief coach Paul van Ass, as the national hockey squad gathered in Shilaroo, near Shimla, for a training camp.

Dutchman van Ass - who had a run in with Hockey India president Narinder Batra during the recent World League semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium - has been unavailable for comment and neither HI nor the Sports Authority of India have information on his arrival.

Oltmans, it is learnt, will be asked to coach the team till the 2016 Rio Olympics if van Ass decides not to return. The 62-year-old Oltmans held a closed door meeting with the players on the day, and told them that he would step in as a coach until further notice.

Said a player, "There is a lot of uncertainty. We have begun training under Roelant, since there is no word on Paul. Oltmans said things would be clear in a few days’ time and he will be the incharge until then."

In a chat with this newspaper three days ago, van Ass had said that he was "not sure" of his return and all queries needed to be directed to either HI or Oltmans.
van Ass - known for taking bold decisions and having a final say in team matters - was involved in an argument with Batra on the field, immediately after India’s 2-1 win over Malaysia in Belgium.

Batra, it is learnt, was not pleased with the team’s performance and asked for a better show ahead, evoking a strong response from the coach.

Says a source, "Batra was unhappy with how the team were performing and had called for an improved show. He even linked the team’s poor performance to lack of sponsors in the Hockey India League and that is when the coach intervened."

Besides, HI’s last-minute cancellation of the India vs Holland test series led to further problems with both van Ass and Oltmans unhappy with the decision.
Batra, on his part, said a final decision will be taken soon. "We do no rely on a single person to run Indian hockey," the HI head said.

"If the coach does not even bother to inform when the national camp has started, it is uncalled for. From what I gather, he is a good manager and not a good coach. The committee will meet soon and take a call."

Sources suggest that efforts were on to reach a compromise with the HI special committee set to meet here on July 24 to assess the team’s performance and even look for a new coach, should a need arise.

The Asian Age

Indian junior hockey team outplays New Zealand 3-0

BREDA (The Netherlands): Harmanpreet Singh converted two penalty corners as India outplayed New Zealand 3-0 to post their second consecutive victory in the Volvo International Under-21 hockey tournament on Sunday.

Apart from drag-flicker Harmanpreet (6th and 41st minutes), Simranjeet Singh (29th) also scored for India.

The first half started with intense battle between both the teams as they fought hard to keep the pressure on their opponents. The Indian colts continued their strategy of quick counter-attacks, which kept the Black Sticks busy in their half.

After continuous attacks, Harmanpreet managed to convert a penalty corner into a spectacular goal to make it 1-0 for India in the sixth minute.

The lead was extended to 2-0 by forward Simranjeet in the 29th minute through a brilliant field goal as they continued their dominance at the end of the first half.

In the second half, both the teams stepped onto the field with more aggression and kept on the struggle to score goals. Harendra Singh-coached India managed to keep the ball possession.

India earned a penalty corner in the 41st minute and drag-flicker Harmanpreet again successfully converted it to make it 3-0.

The Times of India

Indian women lose 0-1 to The Netherlands in Volvo Invitational

BREDA: The Indian women's hockey team went down to The Netherlands 0-1 at the Volvo Invitational U-21 Tournament on Sunday.

Carmen Wijsman broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute through a brilliant field goal, which did not give the Indian goalkeeper any chance.

The Indians maintained pressure on the hosts with their strikers often finding space. The defenders also kept the opponents attackers at bay.

Thanks to Wijsman's strike, The Netherlands led 1-0 at half time.

The second half saw a similar story as both teams continued to put pressure on each other.

While The Netherlands were looking to consolidate, the Indian eves were aiming at an equaliser, which never happened.

The Times of India

Future Black Sticks Women draw with England

The Future Black Sticks Women have drawn 2-2 against England in their first game of the Volvo International Tournament in Breda.

"It was a positive first match, where we showed plenty of fight. It was disappointing to have two goals scored against us from penalty corners, we need to keep working and improving in this area. It was pleasing that our attack created some good opportunities through aggressive pressing," said coach Sean Dancer.

New Zealand got off to a good start, forcing a few penalty corners through good aggressive pressing but couldn't get the ball across the line. One of the best chances came when New Zealand broke through the English defence, but Kelsey Smith's attempt hit the post.

In the 18th minute the Kiwis got what they were after, thanks to a great dive from Amy Robinson who picked up a rebound in the seven yard zone to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead.

England had limited chances in the first half, with a quick attacking free hit their best attempt but goalkeeper Brooke Roberts and the other Kiwi defenders were there to clear the ball.

In the second half, England played well and the equaliser came seven minutes into the half thanks to a well-worked penalty corner deflection.

From there, the game became more open with both teams having chances and England making the most of theirs, scoring off a direct hit on a penalty corner in the 55th minute.

The Kiwis became more aggressive with their pressing and did well to pull the score back to 2-2 with a well taken penalty corner rebound with five minutes remaining.

The Future Black Sticks Women now play China in their second game on Wednesday at 5am (NZ time).

It was a tough game for the Future Black Sticks Men who lost 0-3 to a strong Indian side, in their second match of the tournament.

It was intense hockey for the first half with both sides fighting hard and attacking well.

After continuous attacks from India, Harmanpreet Singh managed to score from a penalty corner and give his side a 1-0 lead. In the 29th minute, Singh scored again through a great field goal giving the Indians a 2-0 lead at half time.

In the second half, both sides played with more aggression and the Kiwis altered their game plan to try and break through the Indian defence.

The Indians earned a penalty corner in the 41st minute and Singh got a hat-trick and despite the Kiwis working hard in the final stages of the game, they couldn't get on the scoreboard.

The Future Black Sticks Men now face Germany, who India beat 3-0 in their first game, at 11pm tomorrow night (NZ time).

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Tinning and Jopp set for tournament opener

The Future Black Sticks Men Women are set for their opening game against England at the Volvo Invitational Tournament in Breda, Netherlands.

It’s a tournament which will see some of the world’s best Under 21 age group players against each other from 18-25 July.

We caught up with Catherine Tinning and Tessa Jopp, to ask them five quick fire questions.

You must be getting excited about getting started at the tournament, what has your experience been like over there so far?

Catherine: Yes definitely, we are all getting extremely excited. We have had a really good start to the tour, having had the chance to play a few practice games against Belgium, Netherlands and India which has allowed us to get to know each other and how we play. Although the girls are enjoying the hot weather off the field, we are definitely still trying to adjust to playing in these conditions.

Tessa: It has been really enjoyable so far. We have had three warm up matches which have been really challenging but have set the tempo for the rest of the tournament.

What are you looking forward to most?

Catherine: Gaining some great international experience and having the opportunity to play against some of the best teams in the world, pushing our boundaries and developing our game.

Tessa: I'm really looking forward to playing so many different teams as usually we only get to experience a select few with the series we are involved in. It is really cool that we are able to test our skills against some of the best teams in the world in our age group. Holland is also an awesome country so it will be fun to explore in our down time.

Have you had the chance to check out the turf yet? What's it like?

Catherine: The turfs are awesome, it's a great facility and it's very exciting to be one of the first teams to play on the brand new turf. I have never seen so many turfs in one facility, it just goes to show that the hockey culture is really big over here.

Tessa: Yes, we have been able to play a few matches on it and I've found it very different to New Zealand turfs but I like playing on it. It's quite bouncy so was hard to get use too initially but the team enjoyed it.

What are your thoughts on your team?

Catherine: It's a great bunch of girls, there is a really good vibe throughout the team.  Although we unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to play together before the tournament we are really starting to gel as a group as we progress through the practice games.

Tessa: Such a great team culture and we have huge potential to do really well. There is a good mix of young players along with experienced so that provides a good platform for us to build on.

Who do you expect to be your toughest competition?

Catherine: We have played a warm up game against Netherlands and they proved to be an extremely well connected and physical side. Although the Dutch seem to be the team to look out for we feel all teams will all be a tough competition.

Tessa: Holland will be a quality side and no doubt will follow suit from their national side. They have good structure and work together well, always knowing where everyone is on the field. Hopefully if we can shut them down early then we will be able to stay competitive and work towards winning the match.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Nail-biting defeat for England U23 Men

England Under-23 Men suffered a nail-biting 2-3 defeat to Germany in the Six Nations Tournament at Breda, the Netherlands, on Sunday evening.

A strong first 20-minute period saw England march into a two-nil lead with Luke Taylor scoring their first goal after 10 minutes from a penalty corner.

A great piece of individual skill from Will Calnan doubled England’s lead, as he picked the ball up, beat two defenders and rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into an empty net on 21 minutes.

But their dominance was short-lived as Germany threw themselves a lifeline with Grunenwald scoring on 31 minutes, and Nguyen Luong pulling them level from a 34th minute penalty corner.

Shortly after play resumed, Godau scored from open play, and despite England battling in search of an equaliser they couldn’t hit back.

Afterwards, Assistant Coach Ben Marsden said: “ We had some brilliant chances throughout the game which we didn’t take and it was a very close finish.

“With two minutes to play we took off the goalkeeper and we had two very good chances in the last five minutes with Ed Horler hitting the cross bar with two minutes to go and Rob Farrington having a good opportunity to equalise.

“It’s disappointing to lose the match but it was a very strong finish and we’re positive about many aspects of our play looking forward to Holland.”

After a rest day on Monday, England Under-23 Men resume their Six Nations Tournament with a match against the Netherlands on Tuesday (2pm GMT).

England (2) 2
Luke Taylor 10 (PC)
Will Calnan 21 (FG)

Germany (2) 3
Grunenwald 31 (FG)
Nguyen Luong 34 (PC)
Godau 37 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

England U23 Women draw 2-2 with New Zealand

England Under-23 Women had to settle for 2-2 draw with New Zealand in their opening match of a Six Nations Tournament in Breda, The Netherlands, after conceding a late goal on Sunday afternoon.

Victory had looked on the cards for the England outfit after they had battled back from a goal down to lead 2-1. But a goal from a penalty corner four minutes from the end ensured New Zealand took a share of the spoils.

Amy Robinson had given the Kiwis the lead after 15 minutes, but on 41 minutes England levelled with Hannah Martin scoring with a deflection at the right hand side at a penalty corner.

Rebecca Van Berkel gave England the lead from a penalty corner, shooting straight from the top of the D into the bottom left corner after 57 minutes.

But nine minutes later New Zealand scored through Kelsey Smith, leaving England with little time to re-take the lead.

“After an indifferent start we grew into the game by creating a number of good opportunities,” said Head Coach Craig Keegan. “After having gone down to an early goal it was pleasing to see the amount of character this team showed to come back and lead the game 2-1.

“It was a see-saw game, momentum swinging both ways and unfortunately we conceded late on to a corner breakdown.”

After a rest day on Monday, England will take on The Netherlands on Tuesday evening in their second match.

England (0) 2
Hannah Martin 41 (PC)
Rebecca Van Berkel 57 (PC)

New Zealand (1) 2
Amy Robinson 15 (FG)
Kelsey Smith 66 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

Emphatic win over Russia for Under-18 Boys

England Under-18 Boys made an emphatic start to the EuroHockey Youth Championships in Santander, Spain, with an 8-1 drubbing of Russia in their opening match on Sunday.

A hat-trick from Jack Waller plus two from Euan Gilmour underpinned the victory which drew praise from their Head Coach Jody Paul, but he also warned of tougher times ahead.

“We played an unknown quantity in Russia, and we went out and did the job we had to do,” he said. “But there will be far tougher matches ahead of us against Spain and Belgium.

“Some of our play was good in terms of attacking build up, defensively we were reasonably sound but as always there are some things to learn.

“I’m very pleased that we converted eight times. Jack Waller was picked as the man of the match by the officials. Defensively we only conceded one penalty corner in the 20th minute and Toby Reynolds-Cotterill in goal made two good saves in the first half, but was really untroubled in the match apart from the breakaway goal which he had little chance with.”

Gilmour scored from open play in the seventh minute, and Waller scored on the rebound at a penalty corner just ten minutes into the match.

Laurie Bowden scored from a penalty corner on 23 minutes, shooting to the goalkeeper’s right, and just two minutes later England were four-nil ahead with Tom Crowson scoring from open play after a good attack move from the half way line.

Russia pulled back a goal on the break six minutes after play resumed, but there was no derailing England, and Eddie Way bagged a goal on 53 minutes with a rebound at a penalty corner.

Gilmour’s second goal came on 58 minutes from open play, his quick hands in the circle helping him tip the ball over the goalkeeper, and Waller added late goals on 61 and 64 minutes to complete a great win for England.

England (4) 8
Euan Gilmour 7 58 (FG, FG)
Jack Waller 10 61 64 (PC, PC, FG)
Laurie Bowden 23 (PC)
Tom Crowson 25 (FG)
Eddie Way 53 (PC)

Russia (0) 1
- 41 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

U18 sides taste opening day defeats in Santander

Scotland's U18 sides both tasted defeat on the opening day of the EuroHockey U18 Championships in Santander, Spain.

Scotland U18 Women were narrowly beaten by France, Gabrielle Verrier's shot from the right of the circle into the net five minutes from half-time the only goal in what was a close contest.

The Scots face Belgium tomorrow at 12.15 BST, who were on the receiving end of a comprehensive 9-2 loss from tournament favourites Netherlands.

Scotland U18 Men found the going tough against Germany in their first match of the competition, losing 7-0. Tomorrow they face Ireland in the second match at 16.45 BST.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

England U18 Girls hold hosts Spain

ENGLAND Under-18 Girls secured a well-deserved point from a thrilling 1-1 draw with hosts Spain in their opening match of the EuroHockey Youth Championships in Santander on Sunday evening.

With both goals coming in the first half, the game was on a knife-edge as both sides went looking for the crucial breakthrough goal. But although neither side added further to their score, they treated the crowd to a thrilling half of hockey which proved to be open and competitive.

Stourport’s Georgina Bathurst gave England the lead on 24 minutes. Erica Sanders had broken away down the right hand side and slotted the ball back for Bathurst to score from the left of the penalty spot.

But their lead lasted just seven minutes before Spain pulled one back on the counter-attack, and the two sides remained closely matched for long periods.

“Playing against the home side in our first game was always going to be exciting and tough,” said Head Coach Sarah Kelleher. “We’re happy enough with a draw in the end, although we fought right to the end. We played some good attacking hockey throughout and defended well and stopped the Spanish flow.

We’ve shown we have great potential as a group and we’re looking forward to the rest of this competition now.”

England (1) 1
Georgina Bathurst 24 (FG)

Spain (1) 1
- 31 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

Improvements from England U16 Boys, but they lose to Belgium

England Under-16 Boys turned in an improved performance against Belgium in the Six Nations Tournament at Breda in the Netherlands on Sunday, but were still beaten 5-1.

They enjoyed some long periods of sustained pressure and were patient in their build-up play in the final third, but had just one goal to show for their efforts when it could easily have been more.

Belgium took an early lead with a goal from open play after four minutes from Anthony Lecles, and Emil Devis doubled their lead on 18 minutes in similar fashion.

William Ghislain scored just before half time to give Belgium a three-nil lead at the break, but England hit back on 46 minutes while Belgium were down to ten men with Taunton Vale ace Ben Stevenson scoring with a low drag flick to the goalkeeper’s right.

It was one of several good chances England had during a period of pressure, but they couldn’t capitalise more, and instead Belgium went on to score twice more.

Maxim Derks made it 4-1 after 55 minutes, and Michiel Luyten added another at a 64th minute penalty corner.

“I’m obviously disappointed with the result, but it was certainly an improved performance in terms of our execution and intensity,” said Head Coach Jerome Goudie.

“Our marking probably cost us a couple of goals today, showing just how important it is at this level to mark tightly. But our development from yesterday gave us confidence that we will be able to improve and get something from one of the remaining games.”

The Under-16 boys continue their Six Nations Tournament on Tuesday, 21 July 2015, when they face the Netherlands at 12:15 (GMT).

England (0) 1
Ben Stevenson 46 (PC)

Belgium (3) 5
Anthony Lecles 4 (FG)
Emil Devis 18 (FG)
William Ghislain 31 (FG)
Maxim Derks 55 (FG)
Michiel Luyten 64 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

Howard on target in Dutch defeat

A late goal from Cambridge City’s Tess Howard was not enough for England Under-16 Girls who lost out 5-1 to the Netherlands in the second match of the Six Nations Tournament in Bremen, Germany, on Sunday.

The Dutch proved too strong for England on this occasion, but Head Coach Marc Bourhill took some encouragement from his side’s performance.

“We started well and missed an early chance in the first few minutes. They worked very hard and defended from the front for long periods,” said Bourhill. “But the two penalty corners the Dutch converted were really impressive. For the last few minutes we had the majority of the possession and were justly rewarded with a goal.”

The Netherlands had in their armoury a penalty corner specialist Yibbi Jansen, who blasted home two goals in confident style on 15 and 54 minutes, with open play goals coming on 13, 38 and 57 minutes before England managed to find a way through.

Howard’s goal came with just three minutes remaining, and she struck it home from the top of the circle low into the side board of the goal.

After a rest day on Monday, England Under-16 Girls face Ireland on Tuesday, starting at 4pm GMT.

England (0) 1
Tess Howard 67 (FG)

Netherlands (2) 5
- 13 (FG)
Yibbi Jansen 15 54 (PC, PC)
- 38 (FG)
- 57 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

Victoria crowned U21 champions

Victoria’s men and women named 2015 Australian Champions

Victoria’s men and women have been crowned 2015 Australian Champions after defeating New South Wales’ [women] and Western Australia’s [men] in the Hobart and Canberra finals Sunday afternoon.

In the men’s gold medal clash, a double from Victorian Andrew Scanlon in the 33rd and 49th minutes helped Victoria to a close 2-1 victory over Western Australia. Western Australia’s captain Frazer Gerrard’s goal at the 45th minute mark wasn’t enough to deadlock the score before the final siren.

The bronze medal final had New South Wales finish atop of Queensland 6-3, after Brandan Horner [2], Timothy Brand, Shayne Smith, Nick Hill and Jack Elliot hit target with five field goals and one penalty corner.

Victoria beat New South Wales 3-2 in the women’s gold medal final, thanks to goals from Aisling Utri, Meg Pearce and Madi Ratcliffe.

Queensland also claimed the bronze medal against Western Australia with a 4-1 victory. Queensland's firepower Stephanie Kershaw, Renee Taylor, Aleesa Ferguson and Ambrosia Malone successfully hit the back of the net.

Final Standings – U21 Men [Canberra]
1. Victoria (Champions)
2. Western Australia (Silver)
3. New South Wales (Bronze)
4. Queensland
5. Tasmania
6. South Australia
7. Australian Capital Territory
8. Northern Territory

Finals Standings – U21 Women [Hobart]
1. Victoria (Champions)
2. New South Wales (Silver)
3. Queensland (Bronze)
4. Western Australia
5. South Australia           
6. New South Wales AAP
7. Australian Capital Territory
8. Tasmania

Hockey Australia media release

Cape Town’s Badgers win Greenfields Elite Club Challenge

JONATHAN COOK at Riverside

Skipper Andrew Cronje (third from right) is congratulated by Lloyd Norris-Jones after scoring the opening goal in Western Province Cricket Club Badgers' 3-0 win over Kearsney HC in the final of the Greenfields Elite Club Challenge at Riverside Sports in Durban Sunday. PHOTO GREG LABUSCAGNE

Defending champions Western Province Cricket Club Badgers overcame the threat of underdogs Kearsney Hockey Club to win the Greenfields Elite Club Challenge final 3-0 after leading 1-0 at half-time at Riverside Sports in Durban North Sunday.

The Badgers’ trio of superbly taken goals from field play went to captain Andrew Cronje in the second minute, Matthew McConkey in the 48th and Ryan Crowe in the 52nd.

An action-packed 12 matches in 42 hours came to a fitting close and the Badgers deservedly collected the R25 000 winners’ cheque.

Throughout this outstanding event, the Badgers were compact in defence, inventive in midfield and composed in front of goal. The Cape Town side were also indebted to goalkeeper and player of the tournament Mark Turner, who made a number of breath-taking saves at vital moments in his team’s four matches.

The impressive Kearsney outfit made the Badgers work hard for the victory, yet the goalscoring opportunities they created didn’t translate into dividends.

In the playoff for third and fourth places, host club Riverside beat Johannesburg’s Wanderers Jockeys 6-3 after leading a comfortable 4-1 at the changeover.

Six Riverside players got on the scoresheet, which was a mark of their cohesion and support play. The strikes were shared between Terence Kidd, Taine Paton and Karl Oftebro from penalty corners, plus field goals by Chicken Price, Mike Wiggett and Steve Wiggett.

The Jockeys, who hinted at a comeback when they narrowed the goal-deficit from 0-4 to 3-5 with 11 minutes left, scored through a Stu Ledeboer field goal, captain Stuart Spooner’s penalty stroke and Mike Heyink via a penalty corner.

In the playoff for fifth and sixth places, Johannesburg’s Old Edwardians shaded Malik Old Albanians of Pretoria 2-1, their goals from field play going to Luke Sanan and Tyron Martin. Old Albanians had led 1-0 at half-time thanks to vice-captain Malcolm Ratz’s 13th minute strike.


Friday - Western Province CC Badgers 3 Old Edwardians 2; Kearsney HC 2 Malik Old Albanians 1; Wanderers Jockeys 1 Riverside HC 0.

Saturday - Riverside HC 5 Malik Old Albanians 1; Kearsney HC 7 Old Edwardians 1; WP CC Badgers 3 Wanderers Jockeys 0; Old Edwardians 2 Malik Old Albanians 0; Wanderers Jockeys 5 Kearsney HC 2; WP CC Badgers 2 Riverside 0.

Sunday - 5th / 6th place playoff: Old Edwardians 2 Malik Old Albanians 1; 3rd / 4th place playoff Riverside 6 Wanderers Jockeys 3; Final: WPCC Badgers 3 Kearsney HC 0.

SA Hockey Association media release

Punjab & Sind Bank holds Army XI

IOB blanks SAIL to secure its first win

K. Keerthivasan

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Vinod Rayer (right) of IOB scores his third goal in the match against SAIL on Sunday.- Photo: M. Vedhan

The match between Army XI and Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) was the pick of the lot in the All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on Sunday.

The Army team was tested to the core by PSB in the tussle that ended in a 2-2 draw and could have gone either way.

With two back-to-back wins, Army XI was considered the superior team, but PSB showed why it is such a tough nut to crack.

With the draw, the battle for the top slot in Pool B has intensified.

It was PSB which took the lead through a wonderful backhander by Pabhdeep Singh that went past the outstretched legs of goalkeeper P.T. Rao.

Not to be cowed down, Army made several counterattacks and the equaliser came off a fierce shot by Rajinesh Salaria just as rain started pouring. Soon after, Siraju increased the lead for Army off a penalty corner.

PSB equalised thanks to a great effort from Ramandeep Singh, who had to dive in front to deflect a drive from Sukjit Singh.
Hat-trick by Rayer

Earlier, a hat-trick by Vinod Rayer and a brace from Hasan Basha helped IOB script a facile 5-0 win over SAIL.

If the first half was any indication, nobody would have thought IOB would go on to win despite the bankmen having a one-goal cushion.

The forwards were a tad slow in converting even the best of chances they were offered with. And the way the penalty corners were taken gave the impression that IOB would once again end up losing.

However, it was a rejuvenated IOB one witnessed in the second session. Raids from the right came like waves, and SAIL found it tough to stem the onslaught.

Rayer was in the thick of things as he scored two more goals — both in partnership with Rafeeq.

Basha, who was uninspiring for most part of the first session, found his touch towards the end of the second.

His second goal and the team’s last was a fine effort by Basha where he slided off the turf to tap it home off a cross from the right.

First win for CAG

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) scripted its first win in two matches in Pool A with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat of Karnataka.

If CAG was held to a draw in the final minutes by Mumbai the other day, today it was CAG which turned the tables on Karnataka with hardly a fraction of a second remaining for the hooter.

Karnataka had barely finished celebrating its second goal in the dying minutes when CAG scored the winner. A drive from 25-yards was wonderfully deflected by Navneet Swarnkar into the net.

The results:

Pool A: CAG 3 (Chandan Singh 20, Md. Naemuddin 53, Navneet Swarnkar 70) bt Karnataka 2 (Mohan Muthanna 44, P.N. Thimanna 69).

Pool B: Army XI 2 (Rajinesh Salaria 29, A.P. Siraju 42) drew with PSB 2 (Pabhdeep Singh 22, Ramandeep Singh 50); IOB 5 (Vinod Rayer 28, 46 & 51, Hasan Basha 53, 55) bt SAIL 0.

The Hindu

CAG Hockey Team Overcomes Karnataka

CHENNAI: After drawing their opening two games, Karnataka Hockey slid to a 2-3 defeat against CAG in a pool A match of the 89th MCC-Murugrappa Cup All-India hockey tournament here on Sunday.

Mohan Muthanna and P.N. Thimanna scored for Karnataka who did well to draw level after trailing 1-2. But CAG struck in the last minute through Navneet Swarnkar for the match-winner after Chandan Singh and Md Naeemuddin had put them in front.

Later, in two pool B matches, local challengers Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) opened their account with a 5-0 win over SAIL while Army XI drew 2-2 with Punjab and Sind.

Three goals by Vinod Rayer featured IOB's easy win while Hasan Basha added two more to the tally as the bankmen recorded their first success.

Trailing 1-2, PNB did well to to split points with Army XI for whom Rajnish Salaria and Siraju scored. PNB's response came from Pabhdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh.

New Indian Express

Federal, Tasman edge Arotea Kiwi to claim top of the south hockey titles

Arotea Kiwi's Yvonne Boyd, right, against Federal's Jay Sigley in the Top of the South final in Blenheim on Saturday. RICKY WILSON

Federal and Tasman reinforced their status as the top hockey teams in the top of the south, both pipping Arotea Kiwi in Saturday's finals.

The Federal women have won the top of the south title every year for the past five years and despite going into their final in Blenheim on Saturday as the underdog, their championship experience and exciting youth helped steer them to a 2-1 win.

Federal opened the scoring midway through the first half after a goalmouth scramble where the ball found its way past a number of players from both sides before being tapped in by Lilli Wilkinson. Arotea forward Emma Mills levelled the scores soon after halftime, from a penalty corner strike, but 10 minutes later Federal's young gun Chevy Walker notched the match winner, again from a goalmouth melee, and the home side were left playing catch-up hockey.

Arotea Kiwi threw everything at Federal in the closing minutes but goalkeeper Louise Bradley was having the game of her life, stopping shot after shot, while Emma Nicholson and Diane Webb defended admirably to ensure the trophy would remain in Nelson for another 12 months.

Federal coach Craig Brett lauded his team's effort against the top qualifiers.

"Arotea Kiwi have some class players in their ranks but Federal just battled it out and played really well. Louise Bradley had a blinder and to have your goalie have a really good game is what you really need in a final," Brett said.

Federal are currently going through a rebuilding phase with seven players departing after last season, but the performances of their youngest players proved that there is a bright future for the club.

"The goals weren't scored by the senior players, it was all the juniors which was really cool to see."

Walker, who plays alongside her sister Ayla, is just 14 years-old and continues to show real potential in her first season in the top division.

"She's got some pretty brilliant talent and she's very, very fast, and I think that's what Federal has over a few of the others teams -- a fast forward line.

"All Chevy, Lilli and Ayla are incredibly quick and that makes a huge difference to any side."

Arotea Kiwi spokeswoman Denise Lloyd described the match as frustrating, lamenting the fact her side created numerous chances but could only get the ball in the goal once. "We could have won, should have won, but didn't," said Lloyd.

"We certainly weren't outplayed, we just couldn't put the goals in … when you don't take your opportunities you can't win, simple as that. I thought there were four goals that went begging. On any other given day [the goals] would have gone in.

"But good on [Federal], they got them in and we didn't."

The story was much the same for the Kiwi men's side in the men's final against Tasman at Saxton Turf on Saturday. After going in to the break trailing 3-2 they conceded a fourth goal soon after through Pat O'Connor then, despite dominating the second stanza, could only pull one back.

Jack Boon struck twice from the field for Arotea in the first half, which went goal for goal until Tasman's Scott Green deflected the ball into goal a minute before the break.

Tasman's earlier goals were scored by Alex Davies and Dean Hawley.

The home side grabbed their fourth through a well-executed drag flick from a penalty corner to give them a two goal buffer, before fullback Matt Brydon narrowed the gap from a penalty corner.

Davies was shown a yellow card for a reckless challenge in the second half and spent five minutes on the sidelines but the visitors were unable to make the most of the numerical advantage and, despite pushing hard for an equaliser, they could not make their opportunities count on the scoresheet.

Tasman fullback Brad Smith and striker Tom Froeling were standouts in the final.

Federal and Tasman will now move on to their Nelson division one duties, with the finals set to be played in a month's time.

The women's division is only contested by Federal and Tasman so both teams are guaranteed to make the final.


Hockey player with neck injury waits 45 minutes for ambulance


The National Hockey Stadium, where all games had to be delayed on Sunday because of a 45-minute wait for an ambulance to arrive to treat an injured player. FAIRFAX NZ

A Wellington hockey player with a neck injury waited 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Wellington Free Ambulance has defended the wait, saying the man's injury was not life-threatening and, at the time, it had other potentially fatal incidents to attend.

The man, who was playing hockey at the National Hockey Stadium in Berhampore, suffered a neck injury about 11.20am on Sunday. A staff member phoned for an ambulance shortly afterwards.

The same staff member made the call not to move the injured player, and called off the game. All other games were delayed as a result.

Wellington Hockey chief executive officer Trafford Wilson said it expected an ambulance crew to show up promptly.

"They were called straight away, so I'm not sure why they were delayed. They took a long time to get there."

By the time an ambulance arrived, the player was able to get up and walk to the vehicle to be treated, Wilson said.

"The player was treated on site, discharged on site and given the all clear.

"We would have been concerned if people who weren't qualified started treating the player. It's just a shame they were a bit late."

Wellington Free Ambulance, which is based at Wellington Railway Station, confirmed there was a 45-minute delay in getting to the stadium.

Spokesman Sean Kearns said people at the scene were correct to call the ambulance. "A neck injury has the potential to be serious so it's important that a proper assessment is carried out.

"Our 111 call takers are trained to make an initial assessment using the information from the caller, and an internationally proven questioning tool.

"Their assessment showed that the player's injury wasn't life-threatening, and importantly, we knew that he had good people around him doing all the right things.

"At that time we had several life-threatening jobs on the go around the city, including a seizure and someone with breathing problems.

"We care very much about every patient, and have to prioritise to make sure we get to people with the most life threatening needs first."

In response to Kearns' statement, Trafford said he understood the need to attend more life-threatening callouts.

"I don't think they deliberately not show up, or be late, and I understand they have other callouts to go to. They had good reasons why they came late."

Former Wellington Hockey community hockey manager Niniwa Roberts said injuries during hockey games were common and happened at almost every game. Serious injuries, which needed ambulance assistance, happened about once every three weeks.

"Like any sport, injures can happen at any time. For serious injuries, we either call the ambulance or take them down to A&E."

An ambulance spokeswoman said if a person was in a serious but not life-threatening condition, a "first responder" would be sent. That person could be a firefighter or or ambulance volunteer, all of whom were trained in basic healthcare. They would stay until ambulance crews arrived.


Polk moves from HTHC to UHC

Moritz Polk has made the move from Harvestehuder to UHC Hamburg for next season in a strong addition to Kais al-Saadi’s side.

Speaking about the new arrival, al-Saadi, said he is pleased with the new signing: "I know Moritz already he was a boy with his home club Limburger HC.

“At the time I met him, he was a very dynamic, creative and tricky player. These qualities - combined with his superb team spirit - he has been able to reach the highest level. We are delighted that Mopo has decided to join the UHC. He will enrich us.”

From Limburger, Polk moved to Uhlenhorst Mülheim and then on to HTHC for the past four seasons, winning the EHL with the club.

The now 25-year-old has played with all of Germany’s underage teams and has been part of Markus Weise’s extended national panel since 2013, earning 32 caps.

Speaking about the move, Polk said: "I am very grateful to HTHC for four great years, a truly memorable experience. But now I am looking forward to the new challenge at UHC."

Euro Hockey League media release

KLHC want one back

by Jugjet Singh

DOUBLE bridesmaid Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) will open their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) campaign against nemesis Terengganu Hockey Team in the Charity Shield on Aug 2.

And KLHA coach K. Dharmaraj is looking for at least one title, but its not the Charity Shield.

"We have yet to train as a complete team but with help from five Pakistan and a German, I believe my outfit is ready to wrestle back at least one title from THT this season," said Dharmaraj.

The Pakistani players are midfielders Waseem Ahmad and Fareed Ahmad and forwards Muhammad Umar Bhutta and Ali Shan. German forward Philipp Stahr, who played for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) the last two years, will turn out for KLHA this season.

"Muhammad Rizwan Senior was also initially slated to play for us, but he picked up an injury and will be replaced by another Pakistan player soon."

On the local front KLHA have No 1 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim.

"Since I have the best penalty corner flicker in the country I decided not to sign a foreign flicker as Razie did a good job last season. Only that we were unlucky against THT," said Dharmaraj.

In last season's League title decider, KLHC beat Terengganu 2-1 at Bukit jalil, but lost the away game 1-6 in Kuala Terengganu.

And in the Overall  title final, after a 3-3 draw, THT won the shoot-out 2-1.

"And since Terengganu still have the best locals again in their outfit, they will start as the favourites but we will not make it easy for them," said Dharmaraj.

The other notable locals in KLHC are goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, defender Shukri Mutalib and midfielder Nabil Fiqri.

As for THT, they have until June 26 to sign their six foreign players, and coach Sarjit Singh is still keeping the cards close to his chest and said: "I can't release their names yet".

THT's seven national players are goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman, defender Azlan Misron, midfielders Shahrun Nabil and Fitri Saari and forwards Faizal Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Firhan Ashaari.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Beng Hai placed in a grey spot

by Jugjet Singh

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai is still unsure of coaching Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) side Sapura this season.

His contract with the national team expires end of July, while the MHL starts on Aug 1, but he is unsure if he will be allowed to coach a club side, if his contract with the national team is extended.

"I am still not sure about my contract with the national team, and if it is extended, will I be allowed to coach a club side? Many questions have to be answered before I can comment on Sapura," said Beng Hai.

In the meantime, Sapura are being handled by former national player Nishel Kumar.

"Sapura and two other teams had wanted to secure Korean players for the MHL, but after Korea failed to qualify for the Olympics, almost half the team have been called up for national duty, and it looks like many teams will be playing with local players in the MHL this season," said Beng Hai.

On the pros and cons of national coaches coaching club sides, Beng Hai said: "If national coaches are not allowed to coach clubs due to clauses in their contracts, can the other coaches continue with the same system because all the national players play in the MHL.

"There should be continuity in the coaching system, and having said that, the Premier Division is only for six weeks and personally I feel we should be allowed to handle clubs.

"I will wait for news on my contract, and the clause in it before I can decide on coaching Sapura."

Beng Hai coached Sapura last season, but then, he was not the national seniors coach.

National juniors coach Arul Selvaraj does not have a similar problem, because his contract allows him to coach a club side. Arul has been coaching UniKL as well as the juniors.

The MHL will have six teams this season, with double champions Terengganu Hockey Team the team to beat, while the other's are Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL and Tenaga Nasional.

THT coach Sarjit Singh said he is trying to secure five top foreign players: "Since the closing date to sign foreign players is July 26, I'm still negotiating with five top players and it looks promising. I can't reveal their nationality, sufficient to say they are calibre players and will help THT defend their double."

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Hockeyroo Anna Flanagan out sprints James May in Clarkson, Hammond and May Live in Perth

Great to see Waspies very own Anna Flanagan race against James May in his over powered Datsun tonight, Anna defeated James for the second night in a row!!

Wasp HC Facebook page

From The Australian

Australia women’s hockey player Anna Flanagan made a surprise appearance at the show.

She took part in a “running race” against James May.

Flanagan won, despite the fact May was driving a car.

Aaron Sher, former Honorary General secretary of the PAHF, retires after decades of service

Aaron awarded PAHF Order of Merit by PAHF President Coco Budeisky Rebecca Kanter   

One of Aaron’s wise adages is that a small stadium is always a full stadium. Yet, sometimes what is small, in this case a small sample size of one person is not merely an illusion for entertainment value. Many of you reading this article know Aaron Sher personally or professionally or a combination thereof, but those who do not have likely benefited from Mr. Sher’s immense passion for the sport.

When Aaron first picked up a stick in South Africa at age 14, I am sure that he did not anticipate that he would finish his hockey career as Honorary General Secretary to the Pan American Hockey Federation. A Federation regions away from his native South Africa. Yet, Aaron’s foray into hockey was thanks to cricket! Who knows if people would have had to watch Aaron on TV for days dressed in white, but cricket’s loss was hockey’s gain. Aaron started playing cricket at age 8 and after six years of playing, Aaron was ready to try something new; or perhaps the cricket uniform just wasn’t for him. After three weeks of playing hockey he was put on the first team. Quickly, Aaron and his brother Brian became star South African hockey players and celebrities in the local news media. Surely, Aaron’s media presence at such a young age motivated his interest in building the popularity for our sport even if he didn’t yet realize it.

As a young adult, Aaron entered the army and only was able to achieve the rank of hockey captain. He played for South Africa and when he returned to the army location they put him in charge of watching the grass grow on the fields at the army! Little did Aaron know how much this experience of grass growing would forever change his life.

It is clear that Aaron’s consummate humility and tremendous hard work to give back to the sport emanate from the team spirit that comes from playing hockey. Aaron migrated to the United States in 1977 with an overweight suitcase bulging with hockey passion and some South African grass hockey pitch seeds. Aaron served as the Hockey Competition Director at the 1984 Olympic Games, in which Aaron implemented tournament management standards that are still utilized today, including at the 2015 Pan American Games. Since the 1984 Olympics, Aaron’s commitment and dedication to develop and grow the sport has been truly Olympic in size and scope.

Surely, thousands and many of you have stepped onto the hockey pitch and surrounding grounds in Chula Vista, California, USA where Aaron helped plan and preserve the hockey pitch. One Olympic Training Center pitch, however, was not enough. Aaron must have dreamt hockey pitches for a lot of his life or at least since the South African army made him do it! Aaron planted the seeds for hockey pitches just as the legend Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees. With Aaron’s vision and determination the USA Field Hockey Festival grew over the 1990s to become an international event consisting of many pitches facilitating lots of hockey non-stop for days on end. What a dream for any hockey lover, except for in Aaron’s case his dreams often become reality. Aaron has not only served on the USA Field Hockey’s Board of Directors, but also on the FIH Board as Chair of the Media and Communications Committee; and then with the PAHF in a variety of roles. Aaron was the Chairperson of the PAHF Media & Communications Committee since its creation around 2001 until 2011, when he became Honorary General Secretary in replacement of Sue Neill (who was in the position since 1995). And was a member of the PAHF Board from 2005 to 2007. All the while dispersing ideas that were often realized.

Aaron was instrumental not only to create the PAHF Media and Communications Committee, but also to push for having Communications Officers appointed in the panel of Officials for all PAHF competitions. One to start with, then two for dual competitions and now three at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Yan Huckendubler, Chair of the PAHF Media and Communications Committee states that Aaron: "always had a forward thinking vision for what we should do on the PAHF web site (or during events for communication) that was well ahead of the times. Very often we could not implement his ideas because of their technical complexity or by lack of resources, but they are now routinely done with the advance of technology or to satisfy broadcaster. E.g. tweeting video-clips of scored goals shortly after they were scored; neutralizing time after goals to allow players to celebrate, etc.."

Taken together, Aaron received the FIH’s Order of Merit Award in 2010 for distinguished service, contribution and achievement. For many this might have been the culmination of a career, not to mention a volunteer one, but not for Aaron. Since 2010, Aaron has been the PAHF representative on the FIH committee of regional secretaries; became the PAHF Honorary General Secretary at the 2011 Congress in Guadalajara; and orchestrated the PAHF Brand Manual. Under Aaron’s leadership the PAHF was restructured from its operational staff through to its committees that will have a long-lasting impact on how the PAHF is run. Yet as much as Aaron challenged PAHF to constantly be better, the PAHF also provided Aaron with a unique challenge he has yet to fully overcome. Long ago, Aaron bought Spanish for Dummies because he always wanted to know what was being said at the PAHF meetings. His wife even tried to help teach him, but she recalls spending with Aaron nearly four hours on the days of the week for him only to remember one or two of them! Yet as we all know the only language Aaron has needed to speak over the years and for PAHF is: hockey. A language Aaron has clearly mastered.

Yet, while we have now learned about Aaron’s myriad accolades, it is so often that the greatest impact one makes cannot be represented through numbers. Thus, here are some quotes from PAHF that illustrate what Aaron has meant to the PAHF over the years:

“I remember many times when we were together at different events/tournaments/meetings, sharing joys and worries. He is very strict about the observance of the rules and regulations, that each time, with my Latin blood running in my veins, I had wanted to make an exception or wanted to be more lenient,  he would be upset, or asked me not to allow exceptions. I think he is an honest, capable and hardworking person. And I hope that in future times, in some way, he shall still be involved with PAHF.” –Coco Budeisky, PAHF President

“I am very proud to say that Aaron Sher was my boss in PAHF. I am very thankful that Aaron coached me in the last 4 years and that I had the opportunity to learn from a master like him. He does not know this, but in my personal circle of friends and family, I refer to him as "Mr. Jaca". The Jaca (jackfruit) is a big fruit, with a thick skin, but soft and sweet inside. This is just like Aaron for me. Those who don't know him, looking at his "outside", may think he is too hard (and he can be harsh sometimes - not without a valid reason!), but the fact is that his humanity and principles are far beyond any criticism. His dedication, commitment and results orientation certainly will be missed and have set a good example for those influenced by him. In the real world, like he says, being a Jaca is a good thing, as the core is well protected and the surface repels weak intruders. I wish him all the best on his retirement and hope that his good heart can keep him as an advisor for those who can (or could) reach it.” –Julio Neves, PAHF Managing Director

“Aaron is a very resilient committed individual. He has ‎given unreservedly to Hockey regionally and internationally.” -Maureen Craig-Rousseau, PAHF Vice President

“The best part about Aaron is that behind his big personality, he tries to get to know people and make them feel comfortable.  He leans on their strengths and brings them in to help make the game successful while others try to continue to think small.  His vision of the game is greater than most others can conceptualize. The push for more technology and more stats and more stories to continue to build the history of the game to sell it, even to the IOC, is Aaron's legacy.” - Gus Soteriades, former FIH Media and Communications member

And lastly from Aaron’s wife Barbara who has had to gracefully permit Aaron to travel near and far to diffuse his leadership, laughter, and immense passion for the sport says that Aaron’s involvement with the sport for many decades is “Very noble because he gave so much time and effort.” Unlike many of us, Barbara does not often witness that Aaron is a huge hockey nerd who also needs to attend hockey events to keep up to date on his hockey nerd knowledge; however, Barbara can infer this from Aaron’s fashion sense at non-hockey events. Apparently, Aaron’s tie collection is 99% hockey ties. And if he has to go to a non-hockey event he usually puts on a hockey tie which is not appropriate. But rather than change his tie or argue with his wife, Aaron just always has proceeded to tell Barbara the story of the tie!

His retirement from decades of hockey service is visible from Aaron’s hockey tie shedding. According to his wife, we are to kindly ask Aaron for all his hockey ties because since moving back to Arizona he has not worn any! Upon retirement, Aaron will have loads of extra free time, especially because he will no longer have to spend HOURS in the closet figuring out what he will bring for each hockey trip. While Barbara thinks he will miss the travel, she’s not sure if having him home ALL the time will be a good thing! Yet Barbara is certain that “Aaron will most definitely miss the people he has worked with and known for many years. He has loved doing the work for FIH, PAHF and all the various committees.”

So yes, Aaron is only one person and many of his accomplishments can be counted, but the number of people to which he has shared his initiatives, his wise words, generosity, and absolute passion for the sport is something that is neither countable nor an illusion.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

First ever PAHF Athletes Committee election a success

In the very first election of its kind in PAHF, the Athletes Committee went through a process of voting to elect its the newest members.

Through an electronic voting system PAHF was able to give the opportunity to be involved in this democratic process to all countries playing international hockey in the Pan American region.

This election gave the most recently competing international athletes within PAHF an opportunity to vote for the athletes of their choosing. Athletes had to decide of the 4 athletes on the ballot who would be best suited to voice their concerns and make the greatest impact in PAHF. Over 200 athletes from across the Pan Am region took time to decide on which candidates they preferred as votes were cast from July 4-17.

Congratulations to the following athletes that were voted onto the committee:
- Keli Smith-Puzo USA
- Macarena Rodríguez ARG
- Kwandwane Browne TTO
- Yoandy Blanco CUB

The PAHF Athletes Committee deals with issues related to athletes within PAHF with the overarching goal of improving all aspects of the sport. The new members of the committee will look to improve on the voting process as well as tackling many other initiatives in their term which will last four years. The next athlete election is slated for August 2017 during the Pan Am Cup.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Clifton Park's Jen Sykes, Phil Sykes Lead Field Hockey's Surge in Capital

ALBANY — For the “First Couple” of Capital Region field hockey, Sunday was a bit unusual.

ADK Field Hockey, the area’s top club for the sport, had two of its teams play one another in the Wicked Smart Northeast Field Hockey League at the University at Albany. That should have been odd enough, as the U19 game marked the first time the organization had two of its teams play one another in an official game in its six-year existence.

The coaching matchup, though, took the prize for strangest happening of the day: ADK director Jen Sykes coached one team, while Phil Sykes led the other.

Just a standard husband vs. wife coaching matchup.

“This [was] a little different,” said Phil Sykes, who is set to begin his 12th season as the University at Albany field hockey coach this fall.

It is the differences between the two that have helped to shape ADK into a field hockey force that competes — and wins — on the national stage, while helping to produce dozens of players who go on to the NCAA ranks and several who compete for U.S. national squads.

Phil Sykes, 44, competed in the Olympics in the sport before becoming a college coach and transforming UAlbany field hockey into one of the top programs in the America East Conference, where he is a three-time honoree as Coach of the Year. Meanwhile, Jen Sykes, 40, played both field hockey and lacrosse for East Stroudsburg University, a Division II competitor, before coaching lacrosse at both the college and high school levels. The couple lives in Clifton Park, where Jen Sykes coaches and teaches at Shenendehowa.

With help from Michelle Simpson and Andy Thornton, Jen Sykes and Phil Sykes run ADK together — “I basically just tell Phil what to do,” Jen Sykes joked — and use their differing backgrounds to help the 125 players in the program improve and find the college level most appropriate for them.

“They really know how to help all of us,” said Elise Zwicklbauer, a rising senior at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake who will play collegiately for the University of Richmond and is playing this summer for ADK’s top U19 team.

“Together,” Zwicklbauer added, “they are a perfect duo.”

The pair became one about 15 years ago when they started to date after meeting at a wedding, a relationship initially maintained despite him living in California and her in Pennsylvania. They married in 2007, a couple of years after moving to New York.

Field hockey has always been a common link between the two, and they have helped to turn the Capital Region into one of the sport’s emerging hotbeds for talent. Players such as Clifton Park’s Anna Bottino and Niskayuna’s Carrie Hanks are both ADK alums who have gone on to play for U.S. national teams, while current ADK player Emily Fraser has also made a national squad.

Fraser, a rising senior at Shenendehowa, started playing with ADK as a seventh-grader, and said she owes a great deal of her success to the club.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like without ADK, without having that opportunity to play all year against high-level competition,” Fraser said. “It’s really given us all a chance to play at the highest level, and gotten us exposure to colleges.”

Last year, all 27 members of the program’s senior class went on to play in college, and Jen Sykes — who coaches varsity girls’ lacrosse and modified field hockey at Shenendehowa — said all of this year’s senior squad has matched that feat.

Helena Masiello is a member of this year’s small senior class. Masiello graduated in June from Columbia and will head off next month to Georgetown University to start her collegiate field hockey career. She played for her mother, Dottie Masiello, in high school, but Helena Masiello credited Jen Sykes and Phil Sykes for the confidence she has in herself that she is ready to play at the NCAA level.

“They really push you to be better,” Masiello said. “They’re so experienced and they help give you a lot of skills you couldn’t get anywhere else.”

Phil Sykes’ team won Sunday’s game — the “Sykes Showdown” as his wife coined it before it started. The couple bantered a bit during the game, and once came together mid-second half to discuss some of the players’ progress while action continued in front of them. Between the couple, the game did not represent heated competition.

Even so, Phil Sykes had posited before the game that he’d likely spend Sunday night on the couch if his team won.

Jen Sykes said her husband’s take was an optimistic one.

“There’s a tent outside,” she said.

Courtesy of the dailygazette.com

USFHA media release

Vale Ian Pitt

Former Kookaburra Ian Pitt sadly passes away

Hockey Australia was saddened to hear of the passing of former Kookaburras fullback Ian Pitt at the weekend following a period of ill health.

Ian, originally from South Australia, passed away over the weekend in Western Australia where he lived.

Debuting for the Kookaburras in 1966, Ian was also an accredited FIH umpire and umpire manager, as well as one of Australia’s first coaching directors.

He was one of the few people to play, umpire and officiate for Australia and after turning his attention to umpiring, was responsible for developing the careers of many outstanding Australian Umpires, including that of Murray Grime who is currently rated amongst the world's best on the FIH World Panel.

Highly respected by his peers and by those whose games he presided over, Ian was unique in his approach to umpiring, aspiring to 'the intent of the rule', not necessarily the 'black & white'. He had a passion for the game like no other and at 74 was still very much up with the game as it is played today, able to adapt and coach the modern game.
Ian was instrumental in the initiation of the current and very successful Junior Umpires Coaching program in Western Australia known as the 'Pitt Group' being run by Sarah Allanson.
Australian hockey has lost a man with a wealth of hockey knowledge, experience, passion and a very dear friend to us all.

Hockey Australia expresses its condolences to Ian’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Our thanks to Graham Napier, Richard Aggiss and John Sanders for their help in chronicling Ian's outstanding contribution to Australian hockey.

Hockey Australia media release

Murray Grime pays tribute to Ian Pitt

Well, in the early hours of this morning I learnt of the passing of a very special friend / mate to whom I have been fortunate to have known for the last 28 years.

It's not until you reflect the loss and shed many tears, It was very hard to go and umpire a game this afternoon but you would have wanted me too. A minute doesn't pass when I don't think of all the times we shared together at hockey and away as friends. Ian Pitt took me under his wing as naive 17 year old umpire in Canberra. He gave me the chance to learn from the best, After reflecting today of the times we had together and things we achieved as Teacher and student, think I have done you proud of what I have achieved in my umpiring career, without his knowledge and commitment to myself I most likely wouldn't have been to the top of officiating at World Level events. Every game I umpire, you will always be with me mate.

He was a coach, mentor, a great friend and father figure to me. All my achievements in hockey are linked to Ian Pitt and his guidance.

You will always remain very close in my heart for all you have done for me, after seeing you recently in hospital , you are in a better place now RIP mate and you will never be forgotten, Your mate always

Murray Grime's Facebook page

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