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News for 15 March 2016

All the news for Tuesday 15 March 2016

PHF shortlists players for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has named 33 players for the final phase of an ongoing training camp to prepare a strong outfit for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be played next month in Ipoh, Malaysia. “The national selection committee has short-listed the players from the ongoing camp based on the performance of the players,” said a spokesman for the PHF here on Monday. He said the camp would continue functioning at the National Hockey Stadium till the departure of the team.

List of players:

Goalkeepers: Imran Butt, Amjad Ali and Mazhar Abbas.

Full-backs: Syed Kashif Shah, Mohammad Aleem Bilal, Asad Aziz, Muhammad Irfan and Niwaz Ishfaq.

Halves: Mohammad Rizwan Junior, Muhammad Toseeq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Tasawar Abbas, Faisal Qadir, Ali Hussain, Saleem Nazim, Kashif Javed and Ammad Butt.

Forwards: Mohammad Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Irfan Junior, Arslan Qadir, Ali Shan, Rizwan Senior, Ijaz Ahmad, Rizwan Ali, Abdul Haseem Khan, Karim Khan, Awais-ur-Rehman, Fiaz Yaqoob, Jamil Bostan, Hamid Ullah Khan, Awais Khan and Taimoor Malik.

The Daily Times

Mixed reaction of ex-Olympians over PHF’s decision of quitting HCT

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Olympians Islahuddin Siddiqui, Samiullah and Shakeel Abbasi have showed mixed reaction over Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF)’s decision of quitting the highly prestigious Hockey Champions Trophy (HCT).

It is pertinent to mention here that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) had sent PHF wildcard to play in the elite event, in which top six hockey super powers of the world have to clash for the top honours and interestingly, green shirts finished second in the last time’s Champions Trophy held in India in 2014 and gave Germany a real run for their money before going down 2-0 fighting in the final.

Sharing his views, former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui, who had honour of winning the inaugural edition of the Champions Trophy way back in 1978 as a skipper in Lahore and also held the unique record of winning three titles in same year, termed the move a wrong decision by the PHF as it would deny players with an opportunity to play in such a high-profile event and especially when international teams are not coming to play in Pakistan. “If green shirts miss these golden opportunities, which come their way like a lottery, as only top six teams of the world are eligible to play the HCT, then it will be too tough for them to regain lost hockey glory.”

He said Pakistan was at number 11 and even if they finished bottom among the six-nations, it wouldn’t affect their ranking rather if they managed to score win against giant strides, they could get improvement in their rankings. “Pakistan hockey team should avail all available options if it wants to excel and want to win big events.”

“At one end, the PHF official say, they need time for long planning but on the other hand, they have been missing the opportunity of providing best international exposure to their players where they can learn a lot from the top hockey teams of the world. But the PHF is playing safe game as they have been sending their team for Azlan Shah Cup, where they have to face relatively weaker opponents which will help them avoid severe criticism.

“When two teams are playing, one has to win and other has to lose. I was the chef-de-mission at 12th South Asian Games, where green shirts managed to beat Indian hockey team twice and that too at their own backyard, their morals are sky high, so at this moment, skipping Champions Trophy like event will dent their ambitions and will be not good for the players’ mentality. I hope the PHF will take concrete steps and ensure hockey back on same old golden days in short span of time,” he concluded.

Sharing his views, Olympian Samiullah, who is also known as flying horse, said: “I will take the decision of quitting Champions Trophy in two ways. Firstly, it is good, as if they are planning for next year and taking solid steps towards providing players opportunities and secondly, it is a very childish decision, considering the fact that after Junior Hockey World Cup, in case Pakistan team fails to finish in top 4, juniors will be deprived of much-needed international exposure of playing alongside seniors.”

He said that the test case of the PHF new management would be witnessed in the Azlan Shah Cup. “If the team plays well and never minds losing, it can gain morale boosting and encouragement to register big wins. We are always on back providing all-out support to the PHF and players, but if the team plays badly and fails to achieve desired results, then we will surely criticize them. “The PHF must understand that we are not against anybody. We want to see Pakistan hockey flourish with each passing day, but one thing is quite sure, no one can expect positive results with fear factor and skipping the event just because of fear of losing. The PHF must come up with rock solid plans, in my opinion, they have not done anything in last several months, so they should have given a clear cut plan and majority of the targets should have been achieved,” Sami concluded. Sharing his views, former captain Shakeel Abbasi backed the PHF for declining to play in the Champions Trophy. “Majority of the junior players were invited in the training camp while seniors were not included, which could have hampered Pakistan team’s chances, while the FIH should have extended invitation some time back so we could have given ample time to prepare the team.”

Shakeel lauded Hanif Khan’s appointment and described him his mentor and highly successful coach. “Hanif Khan will definitely help green shirts in best possible fashion, as he groomed me and made me better player. I am 100 percent fit and always ready to serve Pakistan hockey, whenever the PHF gives me a chance, I will certainly try my best to prove my selection right,” Shakeel concluded.

The Nation

Decision to skip Champions Trophy mind boggling: Islahuddin

Shazia Hasan

KARACHI: Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui on Monday said that he was really taken aback on hearing Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) decision of not sending the Pakistan hockey team to England in June to feature in the Champions Trophy even after getting lucky following the Dutch team’s withdrawal from the tournament.

“When Holland withdrew, paving way for Pakistan to play in the six-team event, it was like winning a lottery for us. We were not even entering through a wildcard; we just got in because we were the next team on the waiting list after the top six. How could we just throw away this opportunity?” Pakistan’s most successful hockey captain wondered aloud.

“Playing in the Champions Trophy would have been morale-boosting for our boys after winning the hockey competition in the South Asian Games, beating India,” the chief-de-mission of that tour pointed out.

“As it is, due to security reasons, no big team is touring Pakistan for a series. It would have been a good opportunity for our team to rub shoulders with bigger and better teams. Yes, I admit that we are not a big team anymore. Yes, we may not win any matches there, but think about the benefits of just featuring in such a big event which was started by Pakistan itself in 1978,” said the winning captain of that inaugural Champions Trophy edition in Lahore along with World Cup and the Asian Games.

“I hear the decision of not sending the team is to allow them to concentrate on the World Cup. But they can think of playing in the Champions Trophy for great practice. And then, it is so strange to send the boys to Malaysia for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which is to be played before the Champions Trophy. Won’t going there disturb the players’ concentration and preparation for the World Cup? It is mind boggling really,” said Islah.

“Also, Champions Trophy is a ranking tournament, Azlan Shah isn’t! Playing and gaining points in the Champions Trophy could help Pakistan improve in world rankings,” he said.

“If the PHF is afraid of seeing the team end up sixth in the Champions Trophy, they should not forget that the team has done even worse by coming 12th out of 12 teams. Winning and losing is all part of the game. Losing after all makes way for winning. Bringing the Green Shirts up from rock bottom is a process and confidence-building is an important part of that.

“We last won the Champions Trophy 22 years ago, in 1994, the same year we also won the World Cup. Besides, is there any guarantee that we will win the Azlan Shah Cup? If you ask me, there are more gains than losses in sending the Pakistan team to England for Champions Trophy,” Islah concluded.


‘Champions Trophy would’ve given players much-needed exposure’

Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE: Terming Pakistan Hockey Federation’s decision to skip this year’s Champions Trophy as utterly negative, retired Col Mudassar Asghar insists no country looking to raise a strong team can afford to miss such a high-profile international contest.

London is scheduled to host the 2016 Champions Trophy, featuring six nations, from June 10 to 17.

“It is very unfortunate that the PHF [by deciding to skip the Champions Trophy] has deprived our players of one of the toughest events, which could help them gain useful experience of top-level hockey. The decision has been taken out of fear of defeat, and this is very surprising,” Mudassar said while talking to Dawn here on Monday.

In an amazing move recently, the PHF decided not to participate in the Champions Trophy, arguing it wants to focus on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Mudassar however did not agree to the logic behind the PHF move.

“Look, you can hone your skills only by featuring in high-profile international contests such as the Champions Trophy, Olympics and World Cup. Whereas the PHF has opted for a relatively lower-level event like the Azlan Shah Cup [to be staged in Ipoh in April], while skipping a top-class competition like the Champions Trophy,” Mudassar regretted.

“No hockey fan in Pakistan can feel satisfied by this negative decision, which has been taken at a stage when our national team needs to participate in more such events to shape up for the on-field challenges ahead,” he insisted.

“One can’t understand why the present PHF regime, which will have completed approximately one year when the Champions Trophy is held in June, has not been able to prepare a strong squad for such a major tournament,” Mudassar emphasised.

“Furthermore, the PHF should also clarify whether the decision [to avoid the Champions Trophy] was made individually by secretary Shahbaz Senior or president Khalid Sajjad Khokhar.”

After having failed to qualify for mega contests like the 2014 World Cup and Rio Olympics, Mudassar underlined, participation in the 2016 Champions Trophy would have been a good chance to provide the players with much needed exposure but was wasted by the PHF.

At the 1986 World Cup, he recalled, Pakistan finished a miserable 11th in the 12-team contest. However, they made a noteworthy turnaround in the 1988 Champions Trophy and reached the final.

Similarly, Mudassar added, a gloomy picture emerged before the 1994 World Cup but Pakistan team regathered themselves and played magnificent hockey to regain the world title. “All this shows that no country can afford to miss such high-profile international events, particularly when it is seeking to raise a strong team.”

Furthermore, Mudassar noted, the status of the Champions Trophy was special for Pakistan as the PHF under the dynamic leadership of late Air Marshal Nur Khan introduced the prestigious event.

Meanwhile, when the question regarding the Champions Trophy was forwarded to newly appointed head coach Khawaja Junaid, he backed the PHF decision.

“It is a right decision as we want to concentrate to qualify for the 2018 World Cup,” Junaid said on the first day of the national training camp set up at the National Hockey Stadium for the Azlan Shah Cup.

“Instead we will prefer to play Test matches against Australia and the European teams to prepare ourselves for the 2018 World Cup qualifying round,” the head coach added.

When reminded that the European and Australian teams might not prefer to play Pakistan in Test series because of its current poor standing in world hockey while the Champions Trophy offered Pakistan an automatic opportunity to face top teams, Junaid insisted on playing the Test series.

Meanwhile, when asked seniors like captain Mohammad Imran, Waqas Sharif and several others had not been called up for the camp, Junaid said if needed the PHF would also call them.

Probables attending the camp for Azlan Shah Cup:

Goalkeepers: Imran Butt, Amjad Ali, Mazhar Abbas.

Full-backs: Syed Kashif Shah, Mohammad Aleem Bilal, Asad Aziz, Mohammad Irfan, Nawaz Ishfaq.

Halves: M. Rizwan Junior, Mohammad Toseeq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Tasawar Abbas, Faisal Qadir, Ali Hussain, Saleem Nazim, Kashif Javed, Ammad Butt.

Forwards: Mohammad Umar Bhutta, M. Irfan Junior, Arslan Qadir, Ali Shan, Rizwan Senior, Ijaz Ahmed, Rizwan Ali, Abdul Haseem Khan, Karim Khan, Awais-ur-Rehman, Fiaz Yaqoob, Jamil Bostan, Hamidullah Khan, Awais Khan, Taimoor Malik.


Junior team camp from tomorrow

LAHORE: The national junior hockey training camp begins at the Johar Town Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday in order to prepare the team for test matches against the senior team and the Dinamo Field Hockey Club of Russia.


Goalkeepers: Roman (KP),Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Hafiz Ali Umair (SSGC), M. Farooq (Army), ADIL RAO – (Punjab), Usman Malik, Ali Raza (NBP), Usman Ghani (Railways).

Full-backs: Zahidullah (PAF), Atif Mushtaq (NBP), Hassan Anwar, Faisal Shah (SSGC), Ahad (Customs), Abid Bhatti (NBP) and Amjad Khan (KP).

Halves: Abubakar Mahmood, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Junaid Kamal, Faizan (NBP), Tanzeemul Hassan (Railways), Mohammad Ali (SSGC), M Usman (Railways), Ali Raza (SSGC), M Adnan (SSGC), Mohammad Qasim (Wapda), Ghazanfar Ali (Wapda), Sohail Sheraz (KP) and Sikandar Mustafa (NBP).

Forwards: Khairullah (KP), Fahadullah (PAF), Shan Irshad, M Azfar Yaqoob, M Dilber (NBP), M Atiq, Bilal Qadir, Amir Ali (NBP), M Shaharyar (Railways), Arslan (Sindh), M Asif (Navy), Shajee (Police), Samiullah (PAF), Mohsin Sabir (Navy), Zeeshan Bukhari, Rana Sohail, M Rizwan, (SSGC), Umar Hamdi, Junaid Manzoor, Bilal Mahmood, Sohail Anjum (Wapda), Muhammad Naveed (NBP), Muneeb (Customs), Khushal Khan (Fata), Saran bin Qamar (Railways), Waseem Akram (Railways), Muhammad Munaf (Fata), Naveed Alam (SSGC), Saeedullah (KPK) and Mohaiz Malik (Fata).


Arif the hero as BJSS-Thunderbolt win sixth title

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Arif Sabron single-handedly took Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS)-Thunderbolt to their sixth overall title in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League.

Arif Sabron, who bagged the top scorer award with 20 goals, scored all four goals in the 4-3 win over Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

BJSS coach K. Rajan had promised to stop the juggernaut SSTMI in their track.

“I’m very proud of my players as they showed great fighting spirit. I don’t think anybody would have given us a chance when we were two goals down at one stage. This is a tremendous result for the school,” he said.

The first half was evenly matched as both teams had a couple of early chances.

But just as the first half was about to end SSTMI struck. Mohamed Akhimullah Annuar Essok broke through and scored from a field attempt in the 34th minute.

Forward Mohamed Hafizhudin Zaidi’s absence was a telling factor for BJSS as they missed a potent finisher upfront.

The game came alive in the second half as both sides went all out to get the goals.

In the 43rd minute, Mohamed Luqman Hakim increased the lead for the defending champions. But BJSS reduced the deficit a minute later through Arif.

But SSTMI came charging back two minutes later and scored their third goal through Mohamed Ariff Syafie.

BJSS refused to throw in the towel. Arif Sabron was again in the thick of the action when he scored from a penalty corner set-piece move to give his team a lifeline in the 53rd minute.

Arif Sabron then turned the match on its head when he scored the equaliser in the 62nd minutes. Seven minutes later, Arif Sabron capped a memorable outing with the winner.

The Star of Malaysia

MJHL: Season of promise

by Jugjet Singh

File Pic: BJSS' Arif Sabron attempt to score a goal as he is challenged by Olak's Mohamad Amirul Akmal in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League match at Tun Razak.

THIS season's Junior Hockey League (JHL) showed promise, as there were six quality teams, and the quarter-finals onwards showcased quality matches.

And the domination of teams under the Tenaga Nasional Thunderbolts programme saw a meteoric rise in certain teams, especially TNB Cup champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).

BJSS was the team to beat in the early 2000s, as collected an impressive seven League titles (2003, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08 and '09) and five Overall titles (2004, '05, '07, '08, '09) but after that, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) took over the reins.

For the record, SSTMI won six League (2011, '12, '13, '14, '15, '16) and four Overall titles (2012, '13, '14, '15).

BJSS were the whipping boys of the JHL when SSTMI took over, but just four months under the Thunderbolts programme run by ex-internationals employed by Tenaga Nasional, the sports school beat SSTMI 4-3 to lift a long-awaited TNB Cup title.

And the fact that BJSS were down 1-3, and rose to the challenge to lift the title, shows the boys have character.

Toast of the final was Arif Sabron, who scored four goals for BJSS, a historic feat which was a first by any player in a JHL final since its inception in 1995.

Arif had 16 goals to his name before the start of the final, and the top-scorer at the moment was Hafiizhuddin Zaidi on 19 goals. But Arif's four saw him leapfrog to the top.

The six teams which had quality players were SSTMI Thunderbolts, BJSS Thunderbolts, SSP-MSP Thunderbolts, Anderson Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns and Perlis Young Lions.

Perlis and Anderson are from Division Two, but will play in the higher division next season.

Anderson can also be consider at the fairy-tale of the season, as they topped Group B, then won the Division Two play-off to qualify for Division One next year, and then became the first Division Two team in the JHL to advance to the semi-finals of the TNB Cup.

Others before this could not clear the quarter-finals stage.

Interestingly, only three Anderson players will be overage next season, and the Ipoh school will be among the teams to be watched.

The most disappointing team of the season title went to UniKL Young Guns, who were just floating along, and even though they finished third in Division One, were bundled out of the TNB Cup quarter-finals by Division Two's Anderson.

And with the Thunderbolts programme in the picture, regular JHL teams like UniKL, Petaling Jaya City Council and Old La Sallians Association of Klang are expected to face a troubled season next year, because they lack funding and expert coaches to rise to the Tenaga Nasional challenge.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Win over SSTMI could mark BJSS' revival in MJHL

by S. Ramaguru

Arif (right) was the top scorer in the competition with 20 goals. - GLENN GUAN / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Six years they waited. And finally, thanks to four-goal hero Arif Sabron, the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS)-Thunderbolt have wrested the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) overall title from Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt.

SSTMI have reigned supreme for the last six years. So, could the 4-3 defeat on Sunday mark the end of SSTMI’s dominance in the MJHL?

BJSS coach K. Rajan certainly thinks so.

“I’d like to think that BJSS have finally got it right ... we have the players to stay at the top,” he said.

“More than that, this (win over SSTMI) will give the other teams the belief that they too can match SSTMI.

“SSTMI have totally dominated the MJHL since 2010 ... credit to them for that.

“But, for the MJHL to be relevant, it’s time the others take up the fight. This may see the beginning of a new era.”

There is no doubt that this year’s MJHL has been a big success.

If there’s any complaint, if you can call it that, is Tenaga Nasional’s rising influence – through their Thunderbolt programme – on the MJHL.

Under the programme, Tenaga provide teams with technical assistance – through their former national players – and sometimes with financial aid as well.

It’s a noble effort and one that has proven successful, as can be seen by the semi-final appearance of all four Thunderbolt teams – SSTMI, Pahang Sports School (SSP)-MSP, Anderson and BJSS.

SSTMI won the MJHL Division One title; BJSS the MJHL overall crown; and Anderson the Division Two title.

Some, however, feel that the domination of Thunderbolt-linked teams could be unhealthy and turn the MJHL into a “family affair”.

They know that they do not have the financial clout to match teams under the Thunderbolt programme.

Well, they may be right.

After all, SSTMI became champions after joining the Thunderbolt programme. Anderson are on the rise and BJSS are back as champions. The Pahang Sports School are also making their presence felt.

So, is the Thunderbolt programme really bad for the game? The jury is out, for now.

The Star of Malaysia

Penang beat defending champs Pahang to advance in 1MAS hockey tourney

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Penang have booked their place in the second round of the 1MAS-Milo Under-16 hockey championships.

The Islanders checked in after defeating defending champions Pahang 2-1 in their boys’ Group A match at the KL Hockey Stadium on Monday.

Goals from Mohd Amirul Hamizan (fifth minute, 22nd) gave Penang their second win in the group, having romped past Kedah 5-0 in their opening match on Saturday.

Pahang replied through Mohd Arif Syafie (45th).

In the other Group A match, Sabah thrashed Kedah 9-0, with Mujahir Abdul Rauf notching four goals, Mohd Saifuddin Aazli bagging a hat-trick and Morris Ramilan and Mohd Haziq Asyraaf adding one apiece.

Penang, who will wrap up their group fixtures against Sabah today, top Group A with six points.

Pahang and Sabah, who have three points each, will battle it out for the second spot in the group.

Pahang play Kedah while Sabah face Penang on Tuesday.

Pahang coach Mohamed Sofian blamed his players complacency for the defeat by Penang.

“We had chances to score, but Penang’s early goal affected us. Our players missed so many chances. The result has put us in a difficult position. We need to beat Kedah by a big margin. If Penang beat Sabah, then all we need is a draw. But we’re not going to take any chances ... we’ll go for a big win against Kedah,” he said.

In Group B, Terengganu and Malacca qualified for the second round after notching their second win in the group.

Terengganu defeated former champions Kuala Lumpur 2-1 while last year’s runners-up Malacca beat Perlis 2-0.

The Star of Malaysia

Nat U-16: KL Girls' check into Round Two

by Jugjet Singh

KUALA Lumpur Girls' became the first team from Group B to qualify for Round Two of the 1Mas-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament.

The KL Girls play Negri Sembilan Tuesday, and its Negri's golden chance to advance as well, because if they can't win, all they need to do is keep the losing score low.

Yesterday, KL beat Terengganu 3-1, while Negri Sembilan hammered Kelantan 8-1.

KL have six points from two matches, while Negri have a draw and a win to be placed second in Group B. Terengganu, one point, and Kelantan, 0 points, are the other teams in the group.

RESULTS: BOYS': Group A: Sabah 9 Kedah 0, Penang 2 Pahang 1; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 1 Terengganu 2, Perlis 0 Malacca 2; Group C: Negri 1 Kelantan 5, Perak 3 Johor 0.

GIRLS': Group A: Malacca 2 Selangor 4, Johor 6 Perlis 0; Group B: Kelantan 1 Negri 8, Terengganu 1 Kuala Lumpur 3; Group C: Kedah 6 Pahang 1, Perak 0 Sabah 3.

TUESDAY: BOYS' Group A: Pahang v Kedah (MOE, 3pm), Sabah v Penang (KLHA, 3pm); Malacca v Terengganu (MOE, 4.15pm), Kuala Lumpur v Perlis (KLHA, 4.15pm); Group C: Selangor v Johor (MOE, 5.30pm), Negri v Perak (KLHA, 5.30pm).

GIRLS' Group A: Johor v Malacca (MOE, 8.45am), Selangor v Perlis (KLHA, 8.45am); Group B: Kelantan v Terengganu (MOE, 10am), Kuala Lumpur v Negri (KLHA, 10am); Group C: Pahang v Penang (KLHA, 7.30am), Sabah v Kedah (KLHA, 7.30am).

WEDNESDAY: Boys' Group C: Kelantan v Perak (MOE, 4pm), Selangor v Negri (KLHA, 4pm).

Girls' Group C: Perak v Penang (MOE, 7.30am), Sabah v Pahang (KLHA, 7.30am).

NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup handed huge sponsorship boost

By Prashant Kharbanda

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This year’s edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has received a financial backing of up to RM2.13 million, the highest ever sponsorship in the tournament’s 33-year history.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup organising committee chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff said that the Yayasan Sultan Azlan Shah contributed about 15% of the total sponsorship funds.

“The sponsor for this year’s tournament is the same as the one from last year. The only difference is the amount given has increased (compared to RM1.7 million a year ago),” he said after the cheque handover ceremony yesterday as quoted by Sinar Harian.

Abdul Rahim also announced that the organizers will have a convoy that will bring the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium in Kuala Lumpur to the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on April 4 in conjunction with the 25th consecutive edition of the tournament.

He also expressed his hopes for Malaysia to lift the trophy for the first time.

“Malaysia have never won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. This tournament will also serve as a preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil this August.

“The national squad would want to use this chance to attract the head coach’s interest to get a place in the Rio squad,” Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff added.

The seven teams that will be joining the tournament, which will be held from April 6 to April 16, are Malaysia, Australia, India, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Pakistan.

The national hockey team have ended up as runners-up five times in 1985, 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2014, whereas Australia has won the cup the most times with 8 titles.


Malaysia have a good chance of going all the way in this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. They have an experienced squad with a couple of youngsters impressing head coach Stephen van Huizen over the past few months. They did reasonably well in the recent four Test matches against New Zealand, winning and drawing once and losing twice. Despite the two losses, Malaysia displayed a high level of hockey against the Kiwis with the likes of Joel Samuel van Huizen, Razie Rahim and Fitri Saari being the best-performing payers. They also won their Test match against South Korea yesterday, winning once and drawing once. If former national player Stephen Huizen can continue developing his team to progress to a higher level, they will be one of the teams to look out at the upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Fourth Official

Kimber hat-trick helps relegate Cannock

By Mike Haymonds

SURBITON teenager Evan Kimber bagged a hat-trick in his side’s 6-3 win at Cannock which consolidated their second place and condemned Cannock to automatic relegation. The 17-year-old St Georges College pupil, already an U16 and U18 international, also laid on a goal for Alan Forsyth in his ninth league game this season.

Surbiton coach Todd Williams said: “This was his breakthrough today. Injuries to senior players during the season have given the opportunity for several youngsters to make their mark at the top level.”

Holcombe had already secured the Premier title, winning them a berth in Europe next season, and their 3-0 win at Hampstead & Westminster completed their unbeaten record for the season.

Reading lost 3-1 at Brooklands MU but held on to third place while Wimbledon finished fourth after a 1-0 win over Canterbury, who face the relegation play-offs.

In next month’s Championship play-offs Holcombe play Wimbledon while Surbiton meet Reading.

Jenna Woolven’s  lone goal clinched the Investec Premier title for Surbiton at Reading and guaranteed their European place next season. It extended their unbeaten league run to 39 games dating back to February 2014. The second and third placed teams – Canterbury and University of Birmingham – both lost but had already sealed their play-off berths where they will meet again.

East Grinstead’s three-goal half-time advantage, through Alice Pyrgos, Sophie Bray and Josephine Blunt, was cut back by a brace from Canterbury’s South African international Dirkie Chamberlain . The Birmingham Students lost 3-1 at Holcombe where the joint leading Premier scorer Erica Sanders’ strike was trumped by goals from Leigh Maasdorp, Emily Maguire and Sarah Jones.

The fourth play-off spot will be decided in Saturday’s final games with Holcombe, who travel to Clifton, lying two points ahead of East Grinstead.

The meeting of the bottom two saw Buckingham beat Bowdon Hightown 2-1 and close to one point behind their opponents. On Saturday Buckingham host East Grinstead while Bowdon travel to Reading.

Daily Express

Mink wary of Leo's inside knowledge

Mink van der Weerden says the balance of inside knowledge goes both ways as the Oranje Zwart man looks forward to meeting former team mates Elliot van Strydonck and Gaby Dabanch.

The duo helped OZ win the Euro Hockey League last Easter before making the move to Royal Leopold in Belgium last summer. As fate would have it, the pair come up against their old club in what promises to be a great KO16 match-up.

Speaking about the scenario, van der Weerden says that while he is certainly not going to “give away any of our tactical gameplan before playing them” he adds that Elliot and Gaby already “know way too much about us”.

But while they have an inside line on the OZ team, the drag-flick expert says that it works both ways.

“Luckily we know these guys as well so we can decide on a good plan to play against them. Elliot is a very good defender but is also able to attack over the left and right hand side, so our strikers will have to be aware where on the pitch Elliot is and they will have to defend very hard.

“Gaby is a skillful forward who is very dangerous inside the circle. He can score from all angles with his powerful backhand shot and is very dangerous on deflections as well. And then there is his penalty corner. Our goalie Vincent Vanasch will have to be in good shape!”

Leo have been in good form in recent weeks, winning 4-1 against Pingouin last weekend following a 1-1 draw with Dragons and a 12-0 win over La Gantoise. Indeed, they are unbeaten in 2016, strengthening their hold on a playoff place.

“Looking at the results in the Belgium league, it seems they are in very strong form. We’ll have to be in top form to be able to beat them. We’ll do everything within the next few weeks to get ourselves in top shape. Let’s hope for a great game!”

OZ, meanwhile, returned to the Hoofdklasse with wins over Den Bosch and Voordaan before falling to a 2-1 defeat to Kampong last Sunday. And van der Weerden says his side need to tidy up a few aspects of their play.

“Our start to 2016 has been alright. We didn’t show any of our best hockey yet. There’s still a bit of work to be done towards the rest of the season. So there’s work to be done but we’re confident we’ll get in top form within a few weeks.”

And, as 2015 shows, Oranje Zwart know how to hit form at the right time, especially in their run to the EHL title.

“Last year’s EHL was awesome. It was incredible to win the title and especially in the way we did it. That shootout series in the final will stay with me for a very long time!

“I think our performance last year came from the fact that we had an insane amount of talent in our team, but we were able to play to our task and every game there was someone else who would make the difference.”

Euro Hockey League media release

India, play with Sixth Sense and Seventh Sense, to win hockey gold in Rio

By Shane Sadanand

All hockey matches are intertwined with psychological actions and effects. The result of the game affects player’s emotions, motives, objectives and personal priorities.  It also affects hockey organisations, media, individuals and national interest. Same time it influences the rival country in the opposite way. Most of the matches are winning or losing not in the field but in the mind of the players and coaches. The result of the matches can be known even before the start of the ball rolling. Psychological strategy making is the most important aspect of game planning.

In other terms hockey matches are always psychological wars between two countries. So hockey matches can be considered as an intangible process to control, command and fight to pulverise or annihilate the opposition to upright the national esteem. These operations are planned, coordinated and executed before and after the match. In the team selection process, selectors consider physical fitness, player skill, and player’s chemistry with the team. Psychological fitness should also be criteria for selection process.

For the past thirty years the Indian hockey team played hockey without normal five senses. During this period certain individual players played with sixth sense or creativity. As a collective group creativity (sixth sense) or intuition (seventh sense) was totally alien to them. Sometimes they even have forgotten to play with five senses as well and couldn’t understand success really does smell sweet. Low mental confidence, not physically fit, not fully trained, groups and super ego problems among the stars were the main reason behind the poor show during that period. The real problems were masked by the presence of astro turf.

Creativity is the sixth sense in hockey.

A goal can be scored in n number of ways, provided the forward can think creatively. Most of the goals in hockey have been scored not in logical pattern or copy book fashion but a slightly different way. Modern era forward needs smart weapons and creative responses in the hockey field to survive in the cut - throat competition. In the past, we had some creative eccentrics like Dhanraj Pillay or Rajiv Misra, who had the capacity to shoulder the whole team. Now India has a Rani Rampal who can score creative goals as a habit. Does it mean that you need to score goals with creativity to win gold in Rio? I am an advocate for creative goals. There are some obvious reasons for that.

Recent studies reveal that creative goal scoring can be taught in a training camp. There is no special player who can be described as a “genius”, “gifted“or someone with special genes. What you need is the extra effort or pain and willingness to outsmart your opponents with special “data”. These data can be induced in the player’s brain with special coaching. He will be a genius in the field and can score creative goals.

For a person to be creative, his brain needs to have an extra attribute called originality. Originality can be defined as the ability of brain to come up with different solutions for a single problem. Two minutes remains and you need to maintain one goal advantage. If your mind has this attribute of originality, then you can find an infinite number of solutions. A feature very much needed for coaches and players. Minds need flexibility in finding answers.

A creative player finds fifty solutions for a single problem. Or he can score a goal in fifty different ways when he enters the striking circle. For this to happen, you need to see things from different angles or perspectives. A Coach who stands near the dugout and one who sits in the gallery will have two ‘views’ regarding the same game. Minds should have the ability to see things from slightly different angles. When you acquire this quality you can take the game to a different dimension. To define it simply, a penalty corner specialist has the freedom to do it in fifty different ways to get a goal.

In your college or school examinations the questions and answers are structured. You will have one answer for your mathematics question.  But in the hockey field, problems are totally unstructured. In other words teams will come to a new tournament with different ideas to attack or defend. It will not be a straight question answer method. To tackle unstructured problems you need to have creative solutions.

Creativity in hockey can be applied in, off the ball running, position of players in attack mode, different ways of execution of goals and positioning inside D. It also helps the coach to deploy players in different combinations in the match. Coach should take into consideration of a player’s skill, physical capabilities and mental flexibilities. Any extravagant ideas should be avoided based on player’s ability to take the workload.

You can find two types of hockey coaches in this world.  Most common category of coaches is left brain dominated coaches. And majority belong this class. Second category of coaches is right brain dominated coaches or creative coaches who are a rare breed. If a person watches a hockey match, two parts of his brain “views” the game differently. His observation about the match depends on which side dominates the other. For example if world no.1 team competes with world no 10 team. Based on data recorded in the brain we can arrive at a result of sure defeat for No.10 team. But right part of brain says there is chance for no.10 team.

In first category of coaches who use the left part of the brain. They want a methodical approach to everything. They consider player’s physical performance, previous records, incremental growth in performance and extensive use of video analysis. They want everything to happen in a systematic way. If the goalkeeper is vulnerable in left top corner in Penalty Corner exercises, he will give excessive training to sort out the problem. They don’t want to predict the outcome of a match. They don’t fix the target for the next match. If the first quarter has problems, they will rectify it in the second quarter.  That process goes on in the third and fourth quarter. If he gets a favourable result in first match then he starts thinking about the second match. He cannot think beyond a particular match or broad perspective about a tournament will be missing in this process. This analytical coach cannot think of taking risks.  He will be a person with defensive mind set. If everything goes well his team will score goals. This type of approach is called convergent thinking.

Second type is right brain coaches (divergent thinkers) who can visualise the outcome or result of a match. They have a broad perspective about the tournament. They will fix the target for a tournament and search for various methods to accomplish the target. They can fix the score line of a match and then work for achieving that score line. These right brain coaches are a rare commodity but they are brilliant creative thinkers and implementers. Right brain coaches are divergent thinkers can see a match from seven or eight perspectives even if he stays in the dugout. Right brain coaches can come with new ideas to stun the world.  Left brain coaches copy things from others and will be non creative.

Creativity means living with more than one brain. Right brain coaches can effectively play with a team of fourteen or fifteen players in the field though there are only eleven players in the team. Presence of creative players practically increases the effective number. Right brain coaches can give you an assured outcome of a tournament.

Intuition is the seventh sense in hockey.

Intuition is an unconscious process where stimuli come only from refined experience. Intuition play a useful role in unpredictable and unstructured situations where decisions to be taken in micro seconds like hockey games. It is highly applicable in medical science, complex scientific conditions, research centres and in sports.

Intuition is not an extension of logical thinking. It is surely subconscious process. Normal five senses don’t have much effect on intuitional process. That is the reason why certain sports persons belong to special classes and others not. When the ball comes in the penalty box certain players are already positioned there to score goals. They show a special ability to maximise the effect. For them goal scoring is not a process, but an event. In most cases it defies logic. The best example of intuitive work in hockey can be seen in Mandeep Singh’s ten goals in the first edition of Hockey India League for Ranch Rhinos. When the ball came into D, Mandeep was there to score the goal. He didn’t have much contribution in the process of ball reaching the D. Here gut feeling has lots of importance than the logical coaching process. Later studies revealed that this process can be taught or induced into the mindset of a hockey player. Intuition based game planning will help a lot in the case of goal keepers and forwards.

“I am going to win today” may not be based on player’s previous performances or records. Logically, it could be an impossible target. Here results are more important than the process. These athletes may not be blessed with too many qualities, but presence of mind, high level of confidence and most importantly, willingness to take risks are the attributes needed for this special ability. Sometimes a gifted athlete may drop this quality due to personal coaching methods. Ego is another negative attribute that may block this feature.

Psychological corrections need to be done by mental trainer.

Regular feature of back passes.

Lack of self belief and not so sure about the personal skill power are the main reasons behind this trend.  One can argue that slowing down the pace of the game is the reason for back passing. It is a question mark on the ability of players to move forward in a power run. Long hit and scooping are the other symptoms of this low skill, low confidence problem.

Inability of a forward to penetrate in to the D circle.

If you are fully confident in your abilities and skills, then you don’t have to feel inferior to any defence line in the world. If such a mind set is there then you can penetrate any defence line in the world. But the confidence comes only from experience and training.

Inconsistency problem.

Nowadays Indian hockey team is consistently inconsistent in its performances. They will give extra performances on alternate days. This problem can be described as Sine wave performances. There can be two reasons for this up and down performances. First one is internal reason and is full related with inter-personal dynamics between players and their mindsets. Second one is external pressure from the heavy weight expectations.

War guru Sun Tzu says,

If the words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear and soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.

Negative body languages.

Closely observe the team members in team introduction stage.  They are just a minute away from the match and one minute before they were in the dressing room. From their body languages, one can clearly predict the results of the match.  Pressure can be visible in the body languages of the players. Players are sandwiched between instructions from the coaches and tremendous expectations of the national interests. They cannot translate their training to real time field situations. Mental fragility and decision making in high pressure situations are visible here.

Bumpy and directionless passes.

In Raipur Indian forwards received a lot of bouncing balls inside D. They couldn’t control these balls and it affected in their scoring performance. Lack of basic skills, comfortable in passing the responsibility to other players, lack of game knowledge and absence of innovative methods in training camps are the reasons.

Aimless passes to D circle and faulty ball possession in rival half.

Coaches say a player can maintain his normal blood pressure only in his playing half. It goes up one he crosses the centre line.  It touches 200 marks once he enters twenty three yard line. One cannot make the right decisions at that elevated pressure. So he will go for inaccurate passes and either end up in losing the ball or opportunity. Charged up situation leads to better performance for certain players and we call them big stage players.  It depends on the skill level, confidence gained from training, and the will to excel in such situations. Experience is a key differential here.
Inability to raise the team performance above the benchmark.

This is motivational problem affecting a group. Using one on one talk, coach can motivate any individual player. In a group, these simple methods will not work since each player’s mental requirements vary from person to person. It depends on the experience, education, individual expectations, personal priorities and life time objectives.  Chemistry between these players is an integral part of the process. It is the responsibility of a mental trainer to synchronise bonhomie among a group of players.

Waiting for the ball or pass.

There is inertia in player’s mind and body. Certain players are not ready to collect balls by going back. They will be static in their positions. Waiting for ball or pass can be called a”chief executive syndrome”. I will consider the file, if you bring it to my table attitude. This is not a symptom but a disease itself. Players are lethargic and not interested to put extra efforts. The problem should be treated from training stage onwards. The rolling substitution method could be one of the culprits.

Decision making in rival half.

This problem is equivalent to the batsman‘s confusion over shot selection. Players may have trained to do all the tricks, but at the decisive moment they forget to do the right thing. You may have trained to manage a particular situation, but in the nick of time confusion prevails in the mind. Lack of simulation techniques in drills or avoiding high intensity situations in drills are the main reason. Sometimes the players may not relate the purpose of drill during the training.  Akashdeep Singh’s dilemma in the dying moments of the third position play off is a suitable example. Initially he decided to slow down the game by keeping the ball and suddenly realised there was a chance to increase the lead. He went for a rash shot and the counter resulted in a goal for Netherlands.

Big stage problems of Ramandeep Singh.

Ramandeep Singh is one of the most talented youngsters in the Indian team. When he came into the team two years back, he could be seen as Sardar Singh in the forward line. He was able to score goals and assisted others to score goals. In the last two series, test series against Australia and World Hockey Series Finals in Raipur, he couldn’t contribute much to the team’s cause. He scored two goals in third place play off and was promptly described by commentators as a big stage player. Game experts say form is temporary and class is permanent.  Unpredictable nature in performance could be a real headache to any coach at any level.

These are Sun Tzu’s words.

He who knows his skills, and in fighting puts his knowledge in to practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated.

Mind-set of comfortable ‘sixth position’.

Difference between sixth position and gold position is a huge one in the mind of the public. Interviews given by Indian coaches and players suggest a target of fifth to seventh position in Rio. This could be a tactical move by the Chief Coach not to put the team under extreme pressure. Studies conducted worldwide revealed one interesting aspect. The real performance in match situations is directly proportional to the efforts taken in the training sessions in the camp. This is applicable in psychological training also. If the team takes an eighty percentage of efforts in a training session, it can give only seventy five to eighty percentages in real match situations. If the ‘sixth position’ chants are repeated, it will surely register in the mind players to make psycho effect. It may reduce their seriousness. Mental preparation for Rio gold also should start in the mind of players and coaches.


Melbourne to welcome Kookaburras, Hockeyroos

Victoria to host men's four nations & women's tests

Melbourne will be home to a new festival of hockey and showpiece international hockey tournament for the next three years, it has been announced by the Victorian Government.

The new men’s tournament, which will be broadcast internationally, will take place in late November and will feature Australia, India and Malaysia in 2016, with a fourth team to be confirmed in the coming months.

Alongside the men’s competition, Australia and India’s women will play a three match Test series, with a high-profile Friday night encounter set to put world class women’s sport in the spotlight once again.

The involvement of both genders will make hockey the only sport in Australia that delivers annual event content featuring both Australia and India, men and women.

The festival of hockey will feature a series of spin-off events including community engagement opportunities and a business forum.

Two Test matches involving Australia and India men will also be hosted in regional Victoria as part of this partnership.

“Victorians love watching the Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos wear the green and gold. This is a rare chance to see our nation’s top players against the best in the world,” said The Hon. John Eren MP, Minister for Tourism and Major Events; and Sport.

“We’re thrilled to be taking two Tests to a regional centre, because we know the big sporting events mean big benefits for regional economies.

“These are the types of events we want in Victoria, because they mean jobs and a stronger economy.”

Cam Vale, Chief Executive of Hockey Australia, said, “The festival of hockey in Melbourne will be the highest profile event the sport has seen in Australia since the Champions Trophy in 2012, allowing us to showcase the sport and our partnership with India to the country and the rest of the world.

“In 2016, it will provide Australian sports fans their first opportunity to see the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras back on home turf after what we hope will be a successful Olympic Games campaign in Rio.

“In the Kookaburras and India, we have two of the in-form teams in world hockey right now. Malaysia are hot on the heels of the best, sitting just outside the top ten, and we’re excited about the prospect of including the proposed fourth team, which we will look to announce after discussions and confirmation of our broadcast partners.

“Perhaps the biggest strength of our sport is its gender equality and it’s a great reflection of that strength that the Hockeyroos will host the Indian women’s team for three Tests as part of the event. Their standout Friday night fixture, we are certain will capture the imagination of the public, sponsors and broadcasters alike in the spirit of the famous hockey movie partially shot in Melbourne – Chak De! India.”

India’s participation in the event comes as a result of Hockey Australia’s ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding with Hockey India, signed last year, which will see the Indian men’s national team tour to Australia over the next three years.

With a strong focus on the Asia region, it is anticipated the event will expand in 2017 and 2018. Other innovative concepts will be developed and announced as part of this festival of hockey.

Ticketing and fixture information will be announced in the coming months.

Victorian Festival of Hockey
22-27 November 2016
State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne
Men’s four nations: Australia, India, Malaysia plus one

Women’s Test series: Australia v India
Australia v India, men’s Test series, regional Victoria
30 November – 1 December 2016
Location to be confirmed

Hockey Australia media release

Dutch-born Floris van Son chasing Olympic dream in Canada

Shaheed Devji

With roots in two powerhouse countries in international hockey, Floris van Son’s field hockey fluency comes as no surprise.

The twenty-four year-old forward was born in Apeldoorn, Netherlands and raised in Ghent, Belgium. He has played club hockey in both countries, where the senior Men’s National Teams are ranked second and fifth in the world respectively and are both headed to the 2016 Olympic Games

It’s not out of the ordinary that someone with his pedigree now has a chance to compete at the Olympics. But if he does, he won’t be wearing the Dutch orange, or Belgian black and red.

He will be wearing the Canadian red and white.

“The decision for me to take this opportunity was not very hard,” he says. “I was thinking about it for a long time; to go to Canada and try to get to the Olympics in 2016. But it was never as concrete as it is now.”

Things became concrete when Canada officially qualified for Rio last summer, and even more so when van Son got his Canadian passport this January.

Following in his father’s footsteps

Van Son’s father Bert – also a hockey player, who represented Hong Kong internationally, but was born in Calgary after his parents (Floris’ grandparents) relocated to Canada after the second World War – is a Canadian citizen.

(Van Son’s mother also played a high level of hockey, competing in the Dutch women’s top league.)

And because of his father’s Canadian roots, van Son has always had an eye on Canada.

“When I got my passport, I immediately contacted (Canadian Men’s National Team Head Coach) Anthony Farry,” van Son explains. “I asked him if it’s too short term to join the team, only six months before Rio.”

Coach Farry said no. And, while offering no guarantees, he told van Son his best shot would come from moving to Vancouver to train with the Canadian team full-time

“When I heard that, I thought I have to go.”

And so he did, joining the team at the beginning of February when they returned from South Africa.

It would be not a field hockey player’s typical route the Olympic Games, and the decision to pursue the path did not come without sacrifices for van Son.

>Putting life on hold for a shot at the sport’s biggest stage

Before coming to Vancouver, van Son was playing for HIC in Holland’s second division.

“We were in such a nice process and doing really good,” he says. “It’s too bad to leave and go to another country to pursue your dreams, and have to leave the club behind.”

It would be a tough decision at the best of times.

But for van Son, it was made even more difficult because – when he left – HIC was in first place with a five-point cushion over second place. And while it’s not the top-flight of hockey in the country, it’s not far behind.

At the end of the season, the top team in the second division gets promoted to the Netherland’s first division, where many of the world’s best field hockey players play.

“They were not to happy about me leaving but I couldn’t let go of this opportunity.”

So van Son packed up and headed to Canada, not only leaving his hockey team, but quitting his job as a Junior Broker, and putting his Business Economics degree on hold.

All for a shot at the Olympic dream.

New country, new teammates, new style of hockey

The decision to leave everything behind and come to Canada was a simple one for van Son.

While he played for junior teams in Belgium, his shot at cracking two of the world’s best field hockey rosters – just before the Olympics – was slim. That made the opportunity to play for Canada his priority.

Not cracking the Canadian team – which is still a possibility – was not a big fear, despite his moving heaven and earth for the chance. That uncertainty is just part of sport.

But the potential of what would come after his arrival in Vancouver is what brought most of his angst.

“The thing I was most concerned about was if the guys would say ‘There is a guy from Holland walking in six months before Rio, what the heck is he doing?,’” he explains candidly from his temporary home with Canadian Team Manager Celia Plottel.

“Obviously the other guys have put in so much effort just to qualify for the Olympics. I could imagine if they see it as a guy walking in and putting no effort and looking for maximum output.”

But after a month with the team, van Son says his worst nightmares were simply fiction. In fact, his new teammates have been nothing but accommodating.

“They have been really friendly and have given me help wherever I needed,” he says. “Whenever we are training, you don’t get the sense that they see me as an outsider.”

What he does notice, however, is the difference in style of hockey between what he’s used to in Europe and what he has experienced here in Canada.

In addition to training with the National Team, Van Son has been staying game sharp by playing for the West Vancouver Millionaires in Vancouver’s Men’s Field Hockey League, where he quickly noticed the intricacies of the Canadian game.

“Whenever I would receive a ball, you would immediately have someone on your back,” he explains. “In Holland, you have a little bit more freedom maybe. It’s a little more fierce here. Everybody is pushing more.”

But the extra effort is not something van Son is afraid of.

The pressure to perform for Rio and beyond

Van Son has been in the gym three-times a week, with the intent of getting stronger off the pitch and stronger on the ball.

He has also had to shake off some rust, coming off the Dutch league’s winter break.

Combine all that with having to get to know new teammates, and van Son has had his hands full in his first month in Canada.

“I’ve put in a lot of effort,” he reflects. “Just getting out there, hitting a lot of balls, and being on the pitch as much as often.”

But he knows his spot on the Olympic roster, let alone in the next tournament – the 2016 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia – is not guaranteed.

And while playing for Canada right now is his main goal, he also sees a future in which he wears the maple leaf

“If I can, I really want to help out the team,” he says of his long-term prospects as a Canadian international.

He says he would like to continue to play club hockey in Holland because of the high-level of competition. But in a perfect world, he would be able to represent Canada internationally.

“If Anthony thinks I can be an asset for the team, then, I really wan to play for Canada.”

“If they need me, I’ll be there.”

Field Hockey Canada media release

Another Successful Training Weekend for U-21 USWNT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team gathered this past weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C. for their final training camp before the Junior Pan American Championship to be held later this month in Trinidad & Tobago. The successful weekend was jammed packed as it included multiple practices, video sessions, meetings and friendly matches against both the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Old Dominion University (ODU).

"This camp was our last chance to train together before we leave for the Junior Pan American tournament," said Janneke Schopman, U-21 USWNT Head Coach. "Throughout the weekend we were able to focus on the final details of our game, the execution of penalty corners and getting to know each other a bit better again."

After a training session on Friday evening, the U-21 USWNT took the field to scrimmage the University of North Carolina in a rescheduled match from mid-February. Remaining scoreless for the first 10 minutes, Team USA had to find a way to threaten through a defensive strong UNC team and on the other side of the field, UNC's offense continually tested the U-21 USWNT's defense. The first goal of the game came from UNC's Austyn Cuneo as she had a quick gain of momentum inside the circle launching the ball into the back of the cage at the at the 14 minute mark making the score USA 0, UNC 1.

Possession continued in UNC's favor as an intercept on a Team USA outlet fed the ball back into Cuneo who on a fast break shot the ball only to have it deflected by USA defender Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.). Continuing to show offensive threats, Team USA secured back-to-back penalty corners with 6 minutes remaining in first half but were unable to convert. UNC found the back of the cage again with 3 minutes remaining on a tip in goal by Eva Van't Hoog to make the score USA 0, UNC 2 at the half.

From the second half start whistle, UNC took the first possession but Team USA's Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) took control and worked it through to the midfield with patience. Though UNC was awarded the first penalty corner of the half, the attempt was unsuccessful and Team USA game momentum with a repossession ball that Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) funneled to Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) who sent back to Young to create space and allow for reposition. With patience, the U-21 USWNT got on the board in the 12th minute of the second half on a goal by Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) who tucked the ball in on UNC's goalkeeper Shannon Johnson's stick side to make the score USA 1, UNC 2.

Just 4 minutes later, UNC's Emma Bozek was issued a green card which gave Team USA the necessary space in the midfield to effectively work the ball up the field. Capitalizing on the player-up situation, Moyer worked the ball to Nicole Woods (Beverly, Mass.) who tipped in the equalizer to make the score USA 2, UNC 2. This shift in momentum was enough to secure the win and the go-ahead goal with 7 minutes remaining as Woods found the back of the cage again to give Team USA the lead, USA 3, UNC 2. At the conclusion of the match, both teams agreed on a shootout for practice purposes and Team USA came out on top, 4-3.

The U-21 USWNT spent Saturday debriefing, training, watching video and fine tuning before they met ODU on Sunday.

In the second friendly match against a college team, Team USA was dominant from the first minute applying pressure on ODU's defense causing multiple turnovers. Being persistent to force turnovers, the U-21 USWNT capitalized on the opportunity on the right side of the field stringing together some quick passing to find Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) free in front of the goal to make the score USA 1, ODU 0.

Woods added another goal for Team USA in the 9th minute after great pressure from Gab Major (Royersford, Pa.) resulted in regained possession in the circle who passed the ball to Woods on the post.

Taking into account what the team has learned in trainings and from the previous scrimmage, the U-21 USWNT worked hard to get numbers back on defensive and create multiple scoring opportunities. In the 15th minute, the hard work paid off as a two-touch passing play from multiple players lead to Team USA's third goal by Paolino on a deflection into the top of the net. The last goal in the half for the U-21 USWNT came on a rebound off a penalty corner  by Matson to make the score USA 4, ODU 0 at halftime.

Overall the first half of the game showed great composure from Team USA in both the attacking and defensive play, only giving up one circle entry while creating multiple scoring chances. The second half mirrored the same as ODU was fighting to get on the board by threatening the U-21 USWNT's defense with quick breaks into the defensive circle.

Again capitalizing on high pressure just 6 minutes apart, both Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.) and Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) found the back of the cage on similar lead-up plays from an ODU defensive turnover that resulted in quick passing to find open players. This make the score USA 6, ODU 0.

The U-21 USWNT continued to utilize the constant pressure to try and create more scoring opportunities. ODU remained tough and held their ground to defend their circle strong while their goalkeeper made saves denying Team USA.

The back of the cage would be found two more times as after a positive build-up play Paolino's backhand shot would score and Major's short flick from the stroke mark would round out the final score to USA 8, ODU 0.

"The final game against ODU all the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit together and the girls were able to combine both the defensive points as well as the attacking points into a consistent game of high quality hockey," added Shopman."I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the college teams that were willing to play against us this spring, Wake Forest, Duke, UNC and ODU. It gives our team the opportunity to play at a high level and gives us the opportunity to learn every game."

The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team will travel to Trinidad & Tobago for the Junior Pan American Championship set to take place March 29 through April 10. Keep up with Team USA on their journey to pursue gold by visiting usafieldhockey.com and following @USAFieldHockey on Twitter. #UN1TED #ChasingTheDream

USFHA media release

Irish Cup Finals Weekend - 19 & 20 March

We’re 5 days away  from the first weekend of national finals, taking place at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD.

On Saturday, 19 March, the Irish Hockey Challenge will start the weekend with Bray facing Midleton

The 2014 and 2015 Irish Hockey Trophy finalists, Bandon, have returned for their third straight year to see if third time is the charm. Opposing them is Kilkenny who are coming off a 5-1 victory of Bangor in the Semi-Final.

On Sunday, 20 March, the Irish Senior Cup for both the men and the women takes place.

Four teams from the EY Hockey League attempt to cement their place in the EYHL Champions Trophy.

Ards take on Ulster Elks in the Women’s Senior Cup Final. This will be their third meeting this season, and has each of them winning one match each prior to this.

The top two teams from the Men’s EYHL, Lisnagarvey and Monkstown will go head to head for the third time this season to decide the winner of this trilogy as each are one a piece in their previous encounters.

Sat 19 March

1:00 IHC-M Bray v Midleton
3:00 IHT-M Bandon v Kilkenny

Sun 20 March

1:00 ISC-W Ulster Elks v Ards
3:00 ISC-M Lisnagarvey v Monkstown

Sun 3 April

1:00 IJC-W Loreto v Queens
3:00 IJC-M Cork C of I v Monkstown

Sat 9 April

1:00 IHC-W Blackrock v Coleraine/Galway
3:00 IHT-W Bandon v Avoca

Tickets for all these matches will be available at the gate.

Irish Hockey Association media release

The art of hockey

Each and every one of the thousands of artefacts gathered in The Hockey Museum in Woking tell a story about a time and place.

To visit the hockey museum is to take a step back through the ages using one specific sport as the mode of travel. The clothes, the newspaper and magazine articles, the style of stick, the names on the team-sheet – each and every one of the thousands of artefacts gathered in The Hockey Museum in Woking tell a story about a time and place.

The accepted customs the day can be revealed by the way a player is spoken to. These days it is often by nickname or shortened names, reflecting an informality and lack of clear-cut class structure. In the late 19th century and much of the first half of the 20th century, it was customary to use just surnames, both on the pitch and in correspondence.  In fact, this was common in the women’s game into the 1960s. Also, in this early period you would have found that players were referred to by their titles; Capt. J.Y. Robinson or Major Dhyan Chand for example.
The style of dress also reflected the society of its time. Hats were worn by female players throughout the 19th century and women wore long skirts until the beginning of the 20th century, when they gradually began to get shorter. Obviously this style of clothing encumbered movement, but in those days it was not seen as ladylike, or indeed healthy, for a woman to be exerting too much effort into physical activity.
However, nowhere is the relationship between hockey and its contemporary society better shown than through art. Whether it is paintings and drawings, posters, picture postcards, stamps or photographs, the collection at The Hockey Museum is both extensive and absorbing. A poignant photograph taken during the First World War shows a group of men in striped blazers posing for a team shot. This was an army regiment hockey team. Demonstrating the close ties that England had with its empire, the team, which marched off to war just weeks later, included two Indians, one player from Singapore and another from Sri Lanka.
The Museum is also home to the world’s first hockey stamp, a beautiful piece of colourful and intricate art from Japan, as well as cartoons, colourful posters advertising international matches and both team and action shots from the past 150 years.
Now The Hockey Museum has engaged in a project linking art to the Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this year. The Hockey Museum’s Art of Hockey competition, supported by The National Hockey Foundation, is open to primary schools across the United Kingdom. Children are invited to design their own piece of two-dimensional artwork about the sport of hockey, using South American influences.
The winning design will be exhibited as part of The Hockey Museum’s exhibition at the 2016 Women’s Champions Trophy to be held in June on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
Other shortlisted entries will be displayed at The Hockey Museum and within its exhibition at The 2016 Champions Trophy, plus a number of children and schools will win art materials.
Competitions such as this seek to inspire the next generation of youngsters to engage with the sport, something which is key to the FIH Hockey Revolution strategy and, while the competition is UK-based, the online resources and access to the Museum’s collection is something that is rapidly becoming international by nature.
“The Art of Hockey competition celebrates the start of our journey as a Museum into the world of education” says Jon Rye, volunteer Education Officer at The Hockey Museum. “We know that schools have been enthused by Olympic and Paralympic athletes from around the world, and as an Olympic sport Hockey can continue to provide inspiration for children and young people.”
Mike Smith, Curator of The Hockey Museum, said: “The Hockey Museum is gathering a vast and interesting collection which will give children and young people the opportunity to explore the history of our sport, and teachers rich material with which to engage children in learning. It is our duty to ensure that the collection is shared and to give hockey’s history a future.”

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Rome Olympian Jagandan Singh passes away

by Dil Bahra

Kenya Hockey Team 1958. Jagnandan Singh (Right) and Hilary Fernandes (Left) on the foor
Jagnandan Singh, Kenya's Vice Captain at Rome 1960 Olympic Games died in Harrow, London on 9 February 2016.
Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, India in 1929, he was educated at Ambala City Khalsa School, Gujjarwal Government High School, Government College Ludhiana and Punjab University in India.
He played hockey for Sikh Union Nairobi, Kenya Police and Asian Civil Service.
On hearing of his passing, Hilary Fernandes, who played at Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968 Olympic Games said  "Jagy was my Right Half  both with Kenya Police and the Kenya Team for many years. He lived a good life and may his soul Rest In Peace"
He was a member of Kenya Police Team that won the M R D'Souza Gold Cup in Kenya in 1960.
He was aged 87.
Sikhs in Hockey

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