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News for 17 September 2015

All the news for Thursday 17 September 2015

Hockey India League auction sets stage for most exciting season ever

World champions, Olympic gold medallists, hockey heroes, rising stars – they will all be up for auction tomorrow as six franchised teams go head to head as they try to secure the best team for the Hockey India League (HIL) in 2016.

Five-time world hockey player of the year Jamie Dwyer of Australia, Olympic gold medallists Moritz Furste and Tobias Hauke from Germany and India captain Sardar Singh will be among the 276 players who will be part of the HIL players' auction being held in New Delhi, India tomorrow (17 September).

Following three successful seasons, HIL’s fourth season promises to be even more exciting than before, with 135 of the auctioned players coming from India and another 141 will coming from overseas.

In addition to India’s top athletes and rising stars, teams will battle it out to secure players from around the world, from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and USA.

The six teams are limited to a total of 12 Indian players and eight overseas, however, this can depend on which players they retained from the previous season.

The teams taking part include the Jaypee Punjab Warriors; defending champions Ranchi Rays; Kalinga Lancers; Uttar Pradesh Wizards; Dabang Mumbai and the Delhi Waveriders.

Each team has a wage budget cap which will is determined by the amount they currently spend on retained players.

Apart from Australian superstar Jamie Dwyer, Germany’s Olympians and India captain Sardar Singh, other players who should attract a lot of interest are India internationalist Rupinder Pal Singh, South African Lloyd Norris-Jones and Australia’s Kieran Govers.

Many new players will also be available at the auction, giving rising stars the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best players in the world.

The most expensive player in HIL history was Belgium’s Tom Boon who sold for $103,000 USD. This year however, he will remain in Belgium as he looks to continue his preparations ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics in his homeland.

For a full list of which players will be auctioned, visit the Hockey India League website by clicking here.

Keep up to date with all the live action from the Hockey India League Auction via these channels:

Live on DD Sports
Hockey India Website: http://www.hockeyindia.org
Hockey India YouTube: http://bit.ly/1ifFOIh
HIL Twitter: @HockeyIndiaLeag #HILAuction

HIL Mobile Apps
Android: http://bit.ly/1LYVPfg
iOS: http://apple.co/1JYhSSF

FIH site

Kalinga Lancers buys Germany’s Fuerste; Jaypee gets Sardar

Renowned auctioneer Bob Hayton of London, who has 30 years of experience in this profession, conducted the HIL 2015 auction. File photo

Ace German playmaker Moritz Fuerste broke the hundred thousand dollar mark to be sold for $105,000 to Kalinga Lancers at the Hockey India League (HIL) players’ auction at a posh hotel here on Thursday.

The midfielder had a base price of $30,000 and Delhi Waveriders and Uttar Pradesh Wizards were leading the race in securing the two-time Olympic champion.

However, the Lancers entered the race much later, when the bid was in $90,000s, to steal Fuerste for the highest price of the morning which none of the bidders could match.

His compatriot Florian Fuchs was sold for the second highest price of the morning — $96,000 to Dabang Mumbai.

Earlier Lancers, Wizards and Mumbai were in the fight to secure the striker but Lancers soon pulled out, leaving only Wizards and Mumbai in the race. Eventually Dabang beat Mumbai and took the 23-year-old striker.

Earlier, India captain Sardar Singh was sold to Jaypee Punjab Warriors for $58,000. Lancers and Punjab fought for this bid while Australian midfielder Kieran Govers was sold to Mumbai for $36,000.

Govers’ compatriot Flynn Ogilvie was sold for his base price of $10,000 while India’s Vikramjit Singh was sold for his base price of $4,500 to Ranchi Rays.

The Hindu

PAK Players in unwanted list again


A statement that falls within the ambit of indiscretion from Narendra Batra regarding the admission of Pakistani players in the Hockey India League is causing ripples across the hockey community.

The Hockey India President ruled out any chance of Pakistan players as part of the HIL until the Pakistan Hockey Federation expressed an apology for the misdemeanor of its players during the semi final clash in the Champions Trophy at Bhubaneswar last December.

Touched to the quick as it were by the Batra’s observation, the former Pakistani coach, Sheikh Shanaz expressed surprise for the demand when the players in question were already punished by the Tournament Director weakening the Pakistani team from giving of its best against Germany in the final.

Shahnaz also states that personally he had expressed regret for the events that occurred during the tie putting an end to the ugly episode.

Not accepting anything short of an apology from the PHF, the Hockey India cancelled the agreed series slated at Dubai. HI’s stand continues to be firm even now when the topic of Pakistanis figuring in the HIL surfaced recently.

It is not as if the HI is against the Pakistani players. In fact, around a dozen of the leading stars figured in the inaugural edition of the HIL making themselves an attraction to the spectators at various centers. Needless to say, the players were generously paid and enjoyed every bit of Indian hospitality.

But there has been drastic deterioration of relations between the countries at various levels, including the question mark over reviving the bi-lateral cricket series even in a neutral venue.

For quite some time now, the top rated Pakistani cricketers are out of the auction scene in the popular Indian Premier League (IPL).

Batra’s statement probably reflects the mood in the country for engaging the Pakistanis even in areas of sport. Assuming the HI opens the window, it is debatable how many franchises will be willing to lay the bet.

True, there are a handful of highly talented stars like Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Bhat, Imran Muhammad, and Waseem Ahmed, good enough to be part of the HIL, but providing them security will be an area of concern especially in the current scenario. The franchises may have to think twice before accepting such a huge responsibility and guaranteeing the safety of the players. Even a small incident might prompt a conflagration.

Though Shahnaz accuses Batra of creating an excuse to keep the Pakistani players out of the HIL ambit for the next season, he must realize that entertaining Pakistani players whatever their number in the current dispensation takes the shape of more than mere sporting exercise. The Pakistanis are well advised to wait for things to cool down before making their claims to be part of an event, which is seen as a money-spinner for the hockey fraternity across the continents.

Admittedly, the HIL has overtaken all forms of the league competitions conducted in the European centers like Holland, Germany and Britain in terms of financial rewards.

It is no exaggeration to say that best players in the game are eagerly looking forward to win the attention of the franchises year after year. The event itself is growing in stature with the FIH according it the top priority as everyone, players, umpires, officials and the FIH obtain some benefit out this competition.

Viewed from the perspective of security and smooth conduct of the event at various centers, it is prudent to keep the Pakistanis away from the scene even if the reason touted by Batra may not convince everyone.

It is really a pity that a large number of players from Pakistan are languishing for want of opportunities, but the blame squarely lies with the Pakistan Hockey Federation and a few of its temperamental players whose passion to beat India crosses all borders of decency and sporting spirit.

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PHF rejects India’s demand for hockey apology, asks FIH to take action

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the demand of Hockey India President Narender Batra for an apology, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Wednesday asked the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to take stern action against their counterpart’s harsh statement.

Batra, in a press statement, had said that he would love to have Pakistani players in the Hockey India League (HIL) but not with the kind of behaviour they displayed in the Champions Trophy (CT) held last year in India.

Following the final hooter at the CT, Pakistani players made gestures towards the Indian fans at the Kalinga Stadium. But chief coach Shahnaz Sheikh later apologised for the incident. However, on Tuesday Batra asked for an apology by the PHF and made it clear that India won’t play Pakistan in a friendly series or IHL.

Talking to APP, newly-elected PHF Secretary Shahbaz Senior said on Wednesday that absolutely no apology would be given to Batra. “If they have an issue with PHF they should have sent it in writing, but this kind of conduct is totally intolerable.”

Shahbaz, who led his team to the 1994 Hockey World Cup victory, said Batra’s statement was completely against the spirit of sports and the FIH and AHF should take serious notice of it. “Sports are something in which players and athletes make friends all over and the country’s politics should be kept aside from this,” he said.

He further added that it looked very strange that Batra was demanding an apology now while the CT was held several months ago. “It is really disappointing and awkward,” said Shahbaz.

Shahbaz, who was also nicknamed as the Maradona of hockey during his playing days, said the PHF won’t give any in to India’s absurd demands as Shahnaz Sheikh has already apologized for the incident. “The PHF won’t go down for India,” he said.

Speaking about the internal hockey affairs, Shahbaz said, “We have requested the government for grant and hopefully will get it next week. We have sent the details to the government of the expenditures that will be needed for participation in different tournaments.”


Who bullies hockey India League?

K Arumugam

Has global’s hot hockey property ‘Hockey India League’ ever been sought to be bullied not by the National Sports Federations but by some crook minded clubs in their over-enthusiasm to short cut route to ‘profit’ from ‘rich’ Hockey India?

The answer definitely points to a definitive YES.

On the eve of second player auction – a phenomenon new to the so-called amateur sport field hockey – this site has learnt painfully that in the run up process to last Hero Hockey India League when after everyone concerned gave wholehearted consent to part players for the FIH Window enabled event, some clubs have invented new treasure in their players’ and started demanding their flesh.

Agreed an influential official: “Yes. We face no problem from any National Federation, but here and there one or two Clubs made things difficult for us. We somehow sorted out this last time, we compromised, and now once for all we are free of this unreasonable demand. Because, we showed firmness not to yield”.

Said another source close to powers: “Many thought that the League may not prosper, and did not view it as a long term property. They thought of making quick bucks. But now the League on firm footing. Hockey India has signed a contract with Australian Federation for not only parting players but also to have a simultaneous test series.

This property is spin off of the Indian gift to the world, HIL”.

Hockey India is therefore likely to sign MoU kind of things with many other countries to put HIL on firm footing and also to avoid third parties from ‘poking nose’.

We had just a dozen countries taking part in the HIL last year, now players from 20 countries opted to come under the hammer. If one or two countries opt out of HIL, it is now sure its their loss not Hockey India Leagues’, said the same source.

As chronicler this writer is at pains to understand such a situation has risen in the past that the promoter of the world’s costliest and most popular league had to almost bend backwards with Clubs to get players who were either in the list of auction or sold but were unable to take part in the league.

Hockey India League has created tens of over-night hockey millionaires with the likes of Tuen de Nooijer, Jaap Stockmann, Ashley Jackson, Tom Boon getting astronomical sums for the HIL sojourn.

Underlining the significance of HIL, the global body of hockey sport, Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) provides a Window to facilitate mobility of players across the globe. Yet it is observed some countries cold-shoulder.

In the early 90s, when the likes of Saharas came to hockey and offered luxury cars and television sets for players to give under various labels (Best Player, best goalie etc), its conservative and vision-less FIH officials who scuttled the offer and denied players their rightful rewards. They asked the sponsor to take out their cars out of the stadium!

Now some countries try to do the same, ‘give to us not to players’ kind of approach which cannot stand nowadays.

Is not better for the world to rally behind the Hockey India League and make it successful so that the sport scale next height?

Is not because of this, FIH president Leondro Negre said on the eve of first Hockey India League: ‘World hockey history will henceforth be written as Pre Hockey India League and Post Hockey India League’ This is a question that every hockey playing has to ponder over while taking the lesson that Hockey India will never yield to them henceforth.

Player auction for the fourth Hockey India League will be held tomorrow (the 17th September). FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather has specifically flown to India to witness the Franchise-Auction on Thursday. The whole day auction will be telecast by DD Sports, live-streaming available in the HI official website.


Shahbaz Ahmed invites Batra for discussion

PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed.   

The secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Shahbaz Ahmed has invited Hockey India to hold talks to resolve any grievances or misunderstandings they might have about Pakistan hockey.

“I don’t think by giving strong statements any issue can be resolved. It is best the two federations sit down and have talks and try to resolve any issues,” the former Pakistan captain told PTI on Wednesday.

Hockey India president Narinder Batra issued a statement on Monday saying: “I would love to have Pakistan players but not with the kind of behaviour they displayed in the Champions Trophy. And they have shown no regret of that incident in writing or otherwise. I don’t want to politicize the issue but that kind of behaviour was unacceptable. Least we need an apology from them.”

Batra’s statement came after it was confirmed that no Pakistani player would feature in the lucrative Hockey India League (HIL) this year.

Batra was referring to the incident that occurred after the semifinal of the last Champions Trophy in December when soon after their 4-3 win, Pakistani players started celebrating their victory in a wild fashion and removed their shirts and some of them making obscene gestures towards the crowd and media, prompting their coach Shahnaz Sheikh to come into action and take away his players.

“There is no doubt that it is a setback for our players as they can not only improve their game but also earn well if allowed to play in the Hockey India League. I think Pakistan and India need to improve their hockey ties by holding talks. We would welcome any move by Hockey India to discuss any issues with us,” Shahbaz said.

He pointed out that the Junior World Cup is also due to be held in India next year and he would like to see Pakistan do well in the event.

“My view is clear Pakistan and India need to play bilateral matches as this will not only boost the sport in both countries but also produce brand names in hockey which is way behind when it comes to sponsorships and earnings for players when compared to other sports like cricket in the subcontinent,” he added.

Meanwhile the captain of the Pakistan team, Muhammad Imran has said that India was trying to create an issue out of a non-issue.

“Their demand for an apology is childish. Because when the incident happened soon afterwards the FIH banned two of our players and rebuked Shafqat Rasool. It also accepted our stance so the matter was over then why dig it up now,” he questioned.

The Hindu

Auckland Men lock up top spot in Round 6

Photo: www.photosport.co.nz

The Auckland Men have locked up top spot on the table with one round still to play ahead of Saturday’s semi-finals at the Ford National Hockey League.

Auckland, who are on the hunt for a fifth consecutive Challenge Shield title, continued their undefeated streak with a narrow 2-1 win over the Capital Cobras in Round 6.

The blue and whites scored a goal in each half through Jared Panchia and Kim Kingstone, while Jacob Smith pulled one back for Capital just one minute from fulltime.

Auckland’s result sees them top the points table on 24 points, 10 points clear of second placed Capital. It also assures top seed for Saturday’s semi-final where they will face the team ranked fourth at the conclusion of round robin play tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Canterbury Cats jumped to the top of the table on 17 points after a 2-1 win over hosts Northland. The Cats leapfrogged Northland, who had been the table toppers, thanks to a double from striker Sophie Cocks who netted twice in the second half. Hannah Haughn scored for Northland six minutes out from fulltime, but the hosts couldn’t find an equaliser.

In other men’s games, the Southern Dogs were on fine form with a crushing 7-3 victory over the Central Mavericks, highlighted by a double from Black Sticks striker Hugo Inglis. With the score level 1-1 at the end of the first quarter, the Dogs caught fire with five unanswered goals to put the game beyond doubt.

The Canterbury Cavaliers kept their top four hopes alive with a dominant 6-1 result against Northland with captain Nick Haig the man of the moment scoring four goals. Dominic Newman and Cam Hayde also netted for the Cavaliers.

Midlands pulled off an important 2-0 win over North Harbour, with goals from Leo Mitai-Wells and Zac Woods propelling the men in orange from sixth place on the table up into the top four.

On the women’s side of the draw the Central Mysticks stayed in the hunt with a 5-0 win over Southern Storm thanks to a double from Michaela Curtis and other goals from Kayla Whitelock, Pippa Norman and Rebecca Herbert.

Midlands took a 5-4 shoot-out win over North Harbour after the game was tied 2-2 at fulltime. Harbour had gone up 2-1 late in the game before Alia Jacques scored in the 57th minute to force a shoot-out.

Already out of finals contention, Capital pushed Auckland to a 2-2 draw at fulltime before Auckland came through to win the shoot-out 3-1. Capital had been in front for much of the game before Charlotte Harrison scored a 45th minute equaliser.

Round 7 fires up at 12:30pm tomorrow with Capital vs Midlands opening the day’s play for the women, before the Southern Dogs take on Auckland on the men’s draw at 1:00pm.

The Ford National Hockey League is proudly supported by the Whangarei District Council and Trillian Trust.

CLICK HERE for more on the 2015 Ford NHL



Auckland vs Capital Cobras
Auckland won 2-1
Auckland: Jared Panchia, Kim Kingstone
Capital: Jacob Smith

Southern Dogs vs Central Mavericks
Southern won 7-3
Southern: Hugo Inglis 2, Kirk Shimmins,
Jeremy Morris, Richmond Lum, Callum Bailey, Kane Russell
Central: Nick Wilson, Nitin Ahuja, Steve Davison

Northland vs Canterbury Cavaliers
Canterbury won 6-1
Canterbury: Nick Haig 4, Dominic Newman,
Cam Hayde
Northland: Andrew Scanlon

North Harbour vs Midlands
Midlands won 2-0
Midlands: Leo Mitai-Wells, Zac Woods

Southern Storm vs Central Mysticks
Central won 5-0
Central: Michaela Curtis 2, Pippa Norman,
Kayla Whitelock, Rebecca Herbert

North Harbour vs Midlands
Match drawn 2-2 at fulltime
Midlands won shoot-out 5-4

North Harbour: Kirsten Pearce, Petrea Webster
Midlands: Kate Kernaghan, Alia Jaques

Auckland vs Capital
Match drawn 2-2 at fulltime
Auckland won shoot-out 3-1

Auckland: Nicola McDonnell, Charlotte Harrison
Capital: Anita Punt, Katarina O’Callaghan

Northland vs Canterbury Cats
Canterbury won 2-1
Canterbury: Sophie Cocks 2
Northland: Hannah Haughn

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Semi-finalists locked in at Ford NHL

Photo: Planet Hockey

The men’s and women’s semi-finalists have been decided following Round 7 of the Ford National Hockey League in Whangarei.

In the men’s semi-finals this Saturday, Auckland will face the Capital Cobras at 12:00pm before Southern Dogs go up against Midlands at 2:00pm for a spot in the final to contest the Challenge Shield.

The women’s semi-finals will see the Canterbury Cats go head to head with hosts Northland at 10:30am before Midlands battle Auckland at 12:30pm for a chance to play in the final for the K Cup.

In men’s Round 7 games, the Southern Dogs booked their place in the top four with a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten Auckland. Kane Russell and Jeremy Morris both scored for the Dogs, while Dwayne Rowsell converted a penalty corner flick right on fulltime.

Midlands ensured they will feature in the semi-finals thanks to an impressive 5-1 result against the Capital Cobras. Zac Woods scored a double for Midlands along with goals from Matt Rees-Gibbs, James Linehan and Des Abbott.

With a chance to grab fourth place, North Harbour and the Canterbury Cavaliers battled out a 2-2 draw. Dominic Newman and Trevor Garrett scored for the Cavaliers while Cory Bennett and Steve Edwards netted for Harbour, who won the shoot-out 3-1. The two points was not enough to knock Capital out of the semi-finals.

The Central Mavericks pulled off a 7-4 win against Northland, despite both teams already out of finals contention.

In women’s games, Midlands sealed their place in the semis with an emphatic 7-1 demolition of Capital. Midlands led from the opening whistle with Gemma Flynn scoring a double along with goals from Shiloh Gloyn, Kayla Wilson, Kim Tanner, Nicky O’Donnell and Arnica Palmer.

Auckland grabbed their spot in the top four thanks to a straightforward 5-0 performance against the Southern Storm. A double from Danielle Sutherland and other goals from Katie Glynn, Charlotte Harrison and Krystal Forgesson boosted Auckland up to 18 points on the table.

The Central Mysticks missed out on a semi-finals berth following a goalless draw with hosts Northland. Central went on to win the shoot-out 1-0 but the two points not enough to propel them into the top four.

North Harbour played out an exciting 3-3 draw with the Canterbury Cats with the score see-sawing for much of the game. After a first half double from Harbour’s Kirsten Pearce, the Cats went on to score three unanswered goals through a Sian Fremaux brace and another from Georgie Blackwood. But Tenille Burnside delivered the equaliser five minutes from fulltime before Canterbury went on to win the shoot-out 3-2.

Tomorrow is a rest day at the Ford NHL, before semi-finals day gets into action from 10:00am on Saturday with the 5th-8th classification playoffs.

The Women’s K Cup Final and Men’s Challenge Shield Final, along with the respective third and fourth place playoffs, will be broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport on Sunday 20 September.

The Ford National Hockey League is proudly supported by the Whangarei District Council and Trillian Trust.

CLICK HERE for more on the 2015 Ford NHL



Auckland vs Southern Dogs
Southern won 2-1
Southern: Kane Russell, Jeremy Morris
Auckland: Dwayne Rowsell

Capital Cobras vs Midlands
Midlands won 5-1
Midlands: Zac Woods 2, James Linehan,
Matt Rees-Gibbs, Des Abbott
Capital: Ollie Logan

North Harbour vs Canterbury Cavaliers

Drawn 2-2 at fulltime
North Harbour won shoot-out 3-1

Canterbury: Dominic Newman, Trevor Garrett
North Harbour: Cory Bennett, Steve Edwards

Northland vs Central Mavericks
Central won 7-4
Central: Steve Davison 2, Martin Atkinson 2,
Matt Young 2, Sam Jimmieson
Northland: Isaac Staples 2, Lloyd Gurr, Dion Watts

Capital vs Midlands
Midlands won 7-1
Midlands: Gemma Flynn 2, Shiloh Gloyn,
Kayla Wilson, Kim Tanner, Nicky O’Donnell,
Arnica Palmer
Capital: Freya Hawes

Auckland vs Southern Storm
Auckland won 5-0
Auckland: Danielle Sutherland 2, Katie Glynn,
Charlotte Harrison, Krystal Forgesson

Northland vs Central Mysticks
Drawn 0-0 at fulltime
Central won shoot-out 1-0

North Harbour vs Canterbury Cats
Drawn 3-3 at fulltime
Canterbury won shoot-out 3-2

Canterbury: Sian Fremaux 2,
Georgie Blackwood
North Harbour: Kirsten Pearce 2,
Tenille Burnside

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Close contests leave NHL wide open

By David Leggat

Black Stick Nick Haig scored four of Canterbury's six goals against bottom side Northland. Photo / Alan Gibson

Those who like their competitions nice and tight could not complain at events in the national league going into tomorrow's final block of round robin games in Whangarei.

In the late game in the women's K Cup tonight, hosts Northland were beaten 2-1 by Canterbury. The upshot is that six teams are covered by four points, and will vie for semifinal spots tomorrow.

Northland, without injured Black Sticks midfielder Stacey Michelsen, suffered their first loss of the week, two goals to fellow international Sophie Cocks enough to get Canterbury to the top of the standings.

There was no shortage of drama elsewhere with two other games decided on penalty shootouts.

Auckland won their shootout 3-1 against Capital, after the scores were locked 2-2. Of the semifinal hopefuls, the defending champions have the easiest game tomorrow, against bottom side Southern.

Midlands squeezed past North Harbour 5-4 in another shootout, after the scores were level 2-2 at fulltime.

Black Stick Sam Charlton scored the decisive goal in the shootout.

It was so nearly North Harbour's win in normal time, with the equalizer for Midlands coming through Alia Jaques in the final minute.

The men's Challenge Shield is a squash too. Defending champions Auckland remain comfortably clear after a 2-1 win over Capital, with goals from Jared Panchia and Kim Kingstone, to a last-minute consolation effort from Jacob Smith.

Midlands' win over North Harbour in the final men's match means five teams are covered by just two points in the battle for the other three semifinal spots.

Nick Haig scored four of Canterbury's six goals against bottom side Northland to sit top on the individual scorers' list with seven.

In tomorrow's final round robin matches, in both competitions, Auckland face Southern, North Harbour play Canterbury, Northland meet Central and Capital play Midlands.

The New Zealand Herald

Will it be lesson learnt for Maybank in return leg?

By Aftar Singh

Maybank's Hafifihafiz Hanafi taking a shot in the TNB Cup semi-final first leg match against Terengganu on Tuesday. - BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank had better heed the lessons from last season if they want to make the final for the overall title – the TNB Cup – in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The Tigers stunned defending champions Terengganu 5-3 in the first leg of the semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday, but they know from experience that the tie’s far from over.

Last year, Maybank went to Kuala Terengganu and eked out a 3-2 win over Terengganu in the first leg of the semi-finals. Then, in the return leg, Terengganu thumped the Tigers 6-1 to make the final with an 8-4 aggregate win.

No wonder Maybank coach S. Velappan is not jumping for joy despite his team’s two-goal advantage this time.

“It happened last year ... it can happen again. The two-goal cushion is nothing as Terengganu are a formidable side. They will come at us from the first whistle tomorrow (today),” said Velappan, who was the assistant to the Tigers’ coach Wallace Tan last year.

Velappan expects a “very physical game” in the second leg on Thursday and has warned his men to be wary of Terengganu’s 15-goal hitman Faizal Saari, who also netted two in the first leg on Tuesday.

Maybank have one major doubt going into the return leg, with forward Amerullah Abdul Aziz down with a hamstring injury.

Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh remembers very well their return-leg fightback last season and is confident his men can do the same again.

“I am annoyed with my team’s performance in the first leg, but I have faith in them ... that they will not let me down again,” said the former national coach.

League runners-up Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) go into their return-leg tie against Sapura knowing very well that only a catastrophic meltdown will stop them from marching into the final.

KLHC outplayed Sapura 6-0 in the first leg.

The Star of Malaysia

Ipoh City Hall win fiery first leg tie of President’s Cup

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: One red card, three sent to the sin bin.

And when the dust settled, Ipoh City Hall (MBI) had scored a stunning 3-2 win over Division One League champions Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) in a tense semi-final, first-leg tie for the overall title – President’s Cup – at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.

UiTM took the lead in the 10th minute through Abdul Rauf Mohd Nazri but MBI hit back through Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin in the 25th minute and Arshad Repikhali eight minutes later.

But the match exploded in the 54th minute when MBI’s Mohd Haris Fadila Zulkifli hit UiTM’s Mohd Zulhaziq Hashim on the head with the hockey stick. Haris was shown the red card and will miss the return leg on Friday.

The sending-off did not affect MBI’s game and they scored a third goal through Mohd Azrin Anuar in the 60th minute.

Mohd Fitri Ismail threw UiTM a lifeline by scoring a second goal in the 70th minute.

The match also saw three UiTM players – Abdul Rauf Mohd Nazri, Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid and Razalee Yahya – sent to the sin bin for rough play.

While that match is still finely poised, TNB-Thunderbolt virtually sealed their place in the President’s Cup final with a convincing 4-1 win over ATM Airod.

Mohd Zulhamizan Awang Abas was the toast for Thunderbolt, netting a brace in the 20th and 28th minutes before Mohd Hanif Azemi (45th) and Mohd Fakrul Rozi Rahmat (70th) completed the win.

Airod replied through Mohd Norhafizie Jamil Azomi in the 23rd minute.

The semi-finals, return-leg matches will be held at the same venue on Friday.

The Star of Malaysia

USMNT Combines Training with Argentina

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Argentina National Team has currently joined the U.S. Men's National Team on the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center turf in California to train with the centralized training program from September 10-22.

"The afforded opportunity to train with and against an opponent does not happen often," said Chris Clements, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach. "It is an initiative that I feel will benefit our players greatly. Training is about getting better by competing against your team mates and yourself. Without setting a competitive environment or standards within training, we cannot improve. Our players have been raising their levels of individual and team efficiencies in all areas and their specific individual developmental plans. Having the opportunity to challenge that in a game is the ultimate test, but the ability to have multiple reps, learn and mimic others and to engage with players who have other skill sets and abilities will test and extend our players yet again."

The USMNT has had a number of combined trainings with a variety of different objectives and outcomes ultimately making all involved better players. Clements and the team are thankful for Argentina coming to the United States to make this opportunity possible.

"The joined training with Argentina will be a very new experience," said Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Calif.), U.S. Men's National Team Athlete. "It's not everyday that you get the chance to train with a team that you usually face as an opponent on the international stage. I don't really know what to expect but I'm excited about the opportunity to train with them. We will be getting a new perspective of hockey style and will be improving during the process."

Although the teams won't be contending in regulation matches, the challenge that will come from training with Argentina will provide the USMNT another opportunity to gain something from a squad that obtains a FIH World Ranking of 6th to push themselves to a higher level. Having variety within a training program is critical for development and this for sure will spice things up for both teams.

USFHA media release

National Hockey Festival to Return to Florida in 2016 and 2017

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey has selected Wellington, Fla. and the International Polo Club to host the 2016 and 2017 National Hockey Festival, presented by CranBarry. The longstanding Thanksgiving holiday tournament attracts approximately 7,000 visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean for the four-day recruitment showcase.

"The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is humbled, honored and excited that USA Field Hockey will bring its National Hockey Festival back to the Palm Beaches," said George Linley, Palm Beach County Sports Commission Executive Director. "Very few communities have the privilege to host the National Hockey Festival. We are excited to partner with of one the most prestigious amateur sporting events in the United States and the largest field hockey event in the world."  

After spending two years away from the East Coast, Palm Beach County Sports Commission emerged with the most compelling bid to host in 2016 and 2017 and promises to deliver an incredible experience for all in attendance at the world-class facility. The National Hockey Festival remains the world’s largest amateur field hockey event, enticing athletes and families from around the globe, and continues to grow each year.

“We are delighted to be returning Festival to the International Polo Club in West Palm Beach,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey Executive Director. “Many in the field hockey community have been hoping to see Festival return to Florida and we are thrilled that this opportunity became available. We can all be confident that we will strive to put on the very best Festival for athletes, club and college coaches, umpires, sponsors, volunteers and family members.”

The dates for 2016 National Hockey Festival are set for November 24-27, 2016 and for the 2017 National Hockey Festival for November 23-26, 2017. For 2016, the presenting sponsor is CranBarry and the official licensee is Harrow Sports.

The International Polo Club is a topnotch facility in a convenient location for Festival participants. Affordable airfare, same time zone for many East Coast teams and a quick flight south were a few of the many deciding factors when selecting a new host city. Strong support from Palm Beach County Sports Commission promises that the well-established venue with its immaculate grass fields will have a proper playing surface appropriate for field hockey.

"This beautiful venue will once again provide the playing fields and ample space to host the entire tournament at one location," said Kris Pursell, Palm Beach County Sports Commission Director of Event Operations. "We’ve upped our game, and look forward to the opportunity to bring participants from all over the country to Palm Beach County to experience the best place to play."

Accommodations will be booked through the Stay-to-Play policy by JBS Destination Solutions/Global Housing for their nineteenth consecutive Festival, continuing their long standing relationship with field hockey clubs and families. JBS will be at Festival this year where hotel rooms for 2016 can be booked in advance.

"Field Hockey is a major part of Palm Beach County’s sports identity," added Linley. "The Palm Beaches were home to the National Hockey Festival on nine previous occasions. We are thrilled that the athletes, coaches and spectators of USA Field Hockey will discover the Palm Beaches, which is the best way to experience Florida!"

While Thanksgiving weekend next year seems far off, the planning process begins now. The 2016 and 2017 National Hockey Festival will surely be a paramount event that has the ability to go down in the record books as the largest and most remembered Festival to date

USFHA media release

Women’s National Team excited for next four-year cycle

Shaheed Devji

The summer of 2015 was as eventful as any in recent memory for most of the members of the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team.

The Women’s National Team captured bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario in July, the first time the team has medaled at the Pan Am Games since 1999, when the Games were last held in Canada.

But along with the highs came some lows.

Having not qualified through the World League competition earlier in the year, the women needed to win gold at the Pan American Games to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

After falling short of the ultimate goal, it would be understandable if the prospect of another four-year cycle and the chase for Olympic qualification in 2020 were daunting.

But that’s not how the leaders of the team see things.

“We’re in a really good place,” says team captain Kate Gillis, who is among the veterans on the squad. “This group that we have right now is really young and together we can do great things.”

Gillis and assistant captain Thea Culley are among the longest serving players on the team and are the as excited as anyone at where the program currently stands.

“It’s disappointing to not be going to the Olympics but exciting to know that we’re in a good spot to prepare for the next four-year cycle,” says Culley, who – at 29 – is the oldest and most capped player on the team with 142 senior international matches to her name.

Culley is just as excited now as she has ever been to wear the red-and-white.

“We’ve done a really good job over the last few years of building a culture where people want to be a part of the team and it’s exciting to play for Canada. I still want to do that.”

The Pan Am Games bronze medal is a perfect example of the strides the Women’s National Program has taken in the last two years.

Typically one of the youngest teams in each of the tournaments it competes, the success the team has seen serves not only as a sign of a job well done, but motivation to continue on the same path.

“To finish with a medal at a major games was such a great feeling,” adds Gillis. “I think that really put the spotlight on our team for once. I think people really want to come and be a part of the program.”

With Canada hosting a Women’s World League Round 2 event in 2017, the Women’s World Cup set to take place in London in 2018, the Pan Am Games in 2019, and the Olympics in 2020, the next four years will be as eventful as the ones preceding. And the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team has plans on staying in the spotlight during all the fun.

Currently, the women are training in small group in Vancouver, with their University teams, and club teams around the world. The full squad will re-convene in Vancouver in the New Year for the official start to the next four-year cycle.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Shahbaz out, Qasim inducted into PHF selection committee

LAHORE: In a swift and not too surprising a move, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has inducted former international Qasim Khan into the national selection committee although it did not mention whether he was a replacement for Olympian Shahbaz Junior.

However, the fact is that the PHF has shown Shahbaz the door in a very insulting manner.

Shahbaz was named in the selection committee during a news conference in Islamabad by PHF president Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar earlier this month, but he hasn’t been honoured on any occasion thereafter.

It looks very much a political manoeuvre by the PHF chief to use Shahbaz to get a resignation from former secretary Rana Mujahid last week. But since Rana’s resignation, Shahbaz has been largely ignored as he hasn’t been called up even once to attend the meeting of the national selection committee.

On Tuesday, the PHF announced a selection committee headed by Abdul Rasheed Junior with members Saeed Khan, Farhat Khan and Wasim Feroz will observe the trials to select the national junior team for a tournament to be held in Malaysia next month.

But after Dawn pointed out that Shahbaz’s name was missing from the selection committee, the PHF issued another news release on Wednesday including international Qasim Khan’s name as selector.

“PHF president Brig. (R) Muhammad Khalid S. Khokhar is pleased to appoint Qasim Khan as member of National Selection Committee,” it said. “Now the National Selection Committee consists of the following: Abdul Rasheed Junior (Chairman), Farhat Hassan Khan, Waseem Feroze and Saeed Khan.”


FIH concludes Project HG testing at Loughborough University

FIH concludes testing of new features of short-form version of hockey

Photo: Andy Smith

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has concluded testing around Project HG – the evolution of Hockey5s which is currently being developed following the success of this discipline at recent international events, most notably the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014.

Over the past two days, FIH has been working with experts and athletes from Loughborough University, undertaking various tests based upon the existing rules of Hockey5s.

A number of derivatives to Hockey5s were introduced in game situations in order to test various different rules, formats and equipment. These included trialling different pitch sizes, configurations and markings on the pitch; the duration of matches; rule and regulation amendments; the number of umpires required; umpiring guidance and a review of boundary boards.

The progress of Project HG has accelerated following the growing interest in Hockey5s over the past few years. As recently as this summer, international events have been taking place around the world, including the Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and the Mediterranean Cup in Malta.

This follows an extremely successful Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, 2014 where this discipline received a lot of positive feedback. There, spectators witnessed high energy action on the pitch, which provided 10 goals on average per game throughout the tournament.

Speaking of this testing, FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said: “While 11-a-side hockey remains the pinnacle of our sport, we must continue to look at different ways to inspire the next generation. Smaller sided games and exciting urban events are two elements that can attract and engage new fans of all ages and backgrounds - particularly youths who are the future of our sport.”

He continued: “What we’ve learned from working with our partners at Loughborough University is that Hockey5s is an incubator for new ideas that can be applied to other hockey disciplines in the future. One of these is Project HG, a very exciting concept which aims deliver a dynamic, entertainment-focussed complementary game designed to help our sport reach new markets.”

This is the latest collaboration between FIH and Innovation Partner Loughborough University.

In addition to providing expert staff, Loughborough University’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, several members of the England under-21 teams and three England International Umpires were used throughout the various stages of testing.

Speaking of this latest partnership work with FIH, Loughborough University Executive Director of Sport John Steele commented: “We’re extremely pleased to be working with FIH to develop this new, quick fire version of hockey. The 5-a-side format of the game has already proved a hit with spectators in the tournaments it has been played in so far, and it may well be the perfect tool to ensure hockey appeals to the widest possible audience.”

More information about Project HG will be communicated later this year once all of the testing has been analysed.

FIH site

SA Hockey stalwart Zandra Neuhoff passes on

Zandra Neuhoff, former vice president of the SA Women’s Hockey Association (SAWHA) and an honorary member of the SA Hockey Association (SAHA), passed on Thursday 16 September.

Affectionately known as “Tannie Toeks”, Zandra Neuhoff served hockey as a coach, manager, umpire and committee member at SA level for many years.

The SA Hockey Association extends condolences to Zandra's family and friends.

SA Hockey Association media release

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