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News for 23 March 2016

All the news for Wednesday 23 March 2016

Canberra set for 2016 Masters World Cup

Event is “yet another example of the inclusivity of hockey”, says FIH President Leandro Negre

Between 29 March and 6 April, the Australian capital city of Canberra will play host to the third Hockey Masters World Cup, an event that will see more than 50 teams representing nations from across the globe fighting for numerous titles on offer.

The nine-day tournament – which will be played at Canberra’s National Hockey Centre thanks to a partnership between Hockey Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government and Hockey ACT – will feature men’s and women’s teams in the Over 40, Over 45, Over 50 and Over 55 age groups, with the women’s Over 60’s Grand Masters competition also taking place.

Australia is one of the world’s most successful nations when it comes to Masters hockey, enjoying a number of outstanding accomplishments in recent years. At the Masters World Cup in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2014, Australia’s women took home gold in the Over 40 and Over 60 age groups, and silver in the Over 50's. Australia’s men also enjoyed considerable success, winning gold in the Over 40 and Over 45 age groups, and bronze in the Over 50 and Over 55 competitions.

In Canberra, the home favourites will be competing in all nine of the age group tournaments, but are sure to face strong challenges from nations such as England, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Malaysia, Canada, Ghana and many others.

When players, coaches and family members are taken into consideration, around 2,000 people are expected to travel to Canberra for this event, making it one of the largest international hockey tournaments in the world.

It will not be the only major Masters event on Australian soil this year either, with the men’s Grand Masters World Cup – for players aged 60 and over - taking place between 2-13 May in Newcastle, New South Wales. 

The sheer scale of the Canberra event is a clear indicator that the popularity of Masters hockey continues to go from strength to strength, perfectly in line with 'Big Goal' four of International Hockey Federation's (FIH) Hockey Revolution strategy - to generate millions more followers around the world from all ages and backgrounds.

The organisers have even created official event merchandise which includes everything from branded T-shirts, jackets and shorts to sports towels and commemorative key rings, all of which will be available to purchase on site for the players and fans.

The event is organised by the International Masters Hockey Association (IMHA), which was formed in 2007 to administer and promote field hockey for 35 to 60-year-old men and women at an international level.

Just one year later, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the IMHA and the FIH, formally recognising the Association as the official body for masters hockey covering this age range. The first Masters World Cup took place in Canterbury, England in 2012 before Rotterdam hosted the 2014 edition.

Looking ahead to the event, FIH President Negre said: “Events like the Masters Hockey World Cup play a hugely important role in the development of our sport. They provide yet another example of the inclusivity of hockey - the athletes represented are an example of how this is a lifelong sport, open to players of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds. I’m sure that everyone involved will enjoy great camaraderie over the two weeks of competition as they rekindle old friendships and make new ones.”

More details about the Masters Hockey World Cup event in Canberra can be found at the links below.

Official Masters Hockey World Cup website – click here

Hockey Australia Masters World Cup webpage – click here


FIH site

England Masters

Grand Masters 2014

England Men's and Women's Masters squads will compete in the forthcoming World Cup tournaments in Australia.

The Men's 40s-55s and the Women's 40s-60s squads will play in Canberra from 29 March to 6 April. See http://www.imhacanberra2016.com/ for more details

The Men's 60s-70s squads will play in Newcastle from 2-13 May. See http://www.wgmaworldcup2016.com/ for more details

The England squads selected for the tournament can be found here

England Hockey Board Media release

Koroliev outlines Russian seasonal disadvantage

The nature of the Russian season is such that while Dinamo Kazan have been one of only two ever-present teams in the Euro Hockey League, Alex Koroliev believes they are at a distinct disadvantage in the knock-out stages.

His side are currently top of the Russian league with nine wins from ten games but their last outing was in early October as the long winter kicks in.

Indeed, Kazan do not return to outdoor league action until May as the weather makes collective outdoor training and practice matches difficult to come by.

This, perhaps, plays a part in why Kazan have yet to reach the KO8 in four previous attempts but they will be hoping to cause a shock and make it fifth time lucky when they meet Harvestehuder THC on Saturday morning.

Speaking about the task, he tells the EHL website: “The last match, we played in October 2015, so it's hard both psychologically and physically to participate in a high level tournament after such a long break.

“We have not had a specific preparation plan for the EHL and we didn't play any matches in Russia because of the weather conditions; neither did we have a chance to travel to Europe for training or playing test matches!”

Last year, Koroliev’s side pushed UHC Hamburg all the way in a narrow 1-0 defeat with only Tom Mieling’s goal in the difference.

And they will need to summon a similarly big performance against a HTHC team who returned to action in impressive form last Saturday with a big win over Rot-Weiss Koln.

“We sure understand that Harvestehuder is a very strong team; they have some excellent international players from different countries and they won 5:1 against the Köln team. Also, they are EHL winners 2014 which is a strong endorsement in itself.

“As regarding EHL in general, it's always an incredible and inspiring atmosphere and it's very well organised. Every time I enter the field and hear the first whistle, I get a great feeling of being a part of the big event. I really hope this happens again and again for me.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Honours even in UHC and Rot-Weiss's first showdown

Seconds out, round two. Sunday’s first meeting between UHC Hamburg and Rot-Weiss Köln ended in a dramatic 3-3 draw with Niklas Bruns last minute goal earning the former a share of the points.

The late  goal denied Rot-Weiss the chance of moving level with Mannheimer at the top of the German league.

The two clubs will now switch from Hamburg to Amsterdam for their second battle within six days on Friday afternoon with only one outcome on the mind. Both teams will meet again on Friday at 3pm (CET) in the KO16 in what promises to be one of the ties of the round if this German league game is anything to go by.

For UHC coach Kais al Saadi, he was content enough with a weekend that saw his team also beat Crefelder 3-1 on Saturday, keeping them in contact with the playoff places in fifth.

Speaking about it, he said: “We have earned four points this weekend against two of the top teams in the league and we also, urgently, needed to the game time."

It was a game with some controversy. Rot-Weiss took the lead at 3-2 when Moritz Trompertz picked up an injury; he was being treated but the time had never been stopped and Mats Grambusch took on a free quickly while UHC waited and were duly punished in the form of a goal.

Otherwise, both teams contributed to a  high tempo game. Timur Oruz kick-started the move for Florian Adrians to open the scoring in the 24th minute. Bruns equalised from a corner on half-time, picking out the top left corner.

Playing with greater control and structure, Pilt Arnold put UHC in front in the 45th minute from another corner before Rot-Weiss fought back. Oruz was again the creator, his long run leading to a ball to Marco Miltkau who effortlessly made it 2-2.

Then came the debated Grambusch goal with 11 minutes remaining but Bruns nicked the goal for 3-3 with 30 seconds left.

While Rot-Weiss ended the weekend without a win from their two games, coach André Henning was happy that his side had improved markedly from a 5-1 defeat to Harvestehuder THC on Saturday.

"Compared to yesterday, this was for us a clear increase in performance.  I think we are slowly returning to form and, of course, each game does us good. UHC got the draw but this is still a worthy result because they often were very powerful."

Euro Hockey League media release

Venezuela withdraws from Jr Pan American hockey qualifiers

Nigel Simon

Venezuela became the third team to withdraw from the Junior Women’s Pan American Hockey Championship to be hosted by the T&T Hockey Board. The tournament will flick off at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, from March 31 to April 10, and will now feature eight teams.

Prior to the Venezuelans, Guyana and Bermuda had also withdrawn their participation citing a lack of finances as well. Host, T&T will come against world seventh ranked USA, Canada (#19) and Mexico (#34) in Pool B, while second ranked Argentina, Chile (#21), Uruguay (#25) and Barbados (#48) are in Pool A following the withdrawal on Friday of the 63rd ranked Venezuelans.

At the end of the two round-robin groups, the top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals from which the winners will qualify for the Hockey Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile, from November 26 to December 4.

The T&T team will be led by USA-based duo, Stephanie Whiteman of Lock Haven University, and Brianna Govia of Saint Francis University who along with  Kayla Brathwaite, Savannah De Freitas, Chelsea Dey, Jessica Lee and Samantha Olton, all have senior team experience.

Other members of the team selected by coach Brian Garcia, himself a former national player are USA-based Kristin Abreu, Lisa Benjamin, Shaniah De Freitas, Kayla-Marie Escayg (goalkeeper), Kherdine Gonsalves, Cyan Lue Sue, Saarah Olton, Stephanie Smith (goalkeeper) and Amanda Tang Nian.

The local women’s team will open its campaign against USA in the opening match at 4 pm before facing Mexico three days later. Today, some of the T&T team members will combine with some senior team players in a T&T XI to face Chile in a practice match at Tacarigua from 6.30 pm.

Chile will also face T&T on Friday from 6.30 pm in another warm-up match while on Saturday, the Chileans meets powerhouse and continental rival Argentina from 4 pm in their final warm-up match.

The Trinidad Guardian

Busy time for Nataki

Nataki Akii-Bua (Trinidad and Tobago)

Sarah Juggins

Nataki Akii-Bua (on the left)   

Nataki Akii-Bua is going to be a busy woman over the next few months. At the Women's Pan Am Junior Championship in her home nation of Trinidad and Tobago, she will be one of two Technical Officers working as part of the PAHF team of officials, while also working on one of the sub-committees of the local organising committee (LOC) in the area of sport operations. Just two months later and Nataki will be jetting over to Canada for a completely different role as a manager to one of the men's teams competing in the Men's Pan Am Junior Championship.

It takes a special person to give their time so selflessly, but just a few minutes in Nataki's company and you realise that this is a person with a deep love of the game and a desire to make sure that each event is run to the same high standards, and to the enjoyment of everyone involved. She is a unique mix of relaxed attitude and razor-sharp attention to detail.

Talking about her role in Toronto, Nataki says: "This role, although not new to me, having managed the Junior Men in 2012 in Guadalajara, Mexico, always brings different challenges but assisting our junior players develop on and off the field of play is one of my driving forces."

Nataki's involvement in international hockey started back in 2007, when she was a judge at a Caribbean Tournament, but she had been involved in local tournaments in a range of different roles leading up to that moment, from administrative assistant, judge, technical officer and tournament director. Now she tends to be appointed to major international events as either a judge or a technical official. Her most recent high profile position was as a judge at the 2015 Hockey World League Finals in Rosario, Argentina. She is currently a category five technical official within the FIH tournament structure, which means she has been identified as a “promising international technical officer for FIH and Continental Federation events."

As a judge, or technical officer, Nataki says the skills needed are very close to the qualities needed in the business world, namely: strong organisational and interpersonal skills, problem solving techniques, willingness to keep learning and a service oriented nature. The technical officials are the right-hand women to the tournament director and will be on hand to deal with any issues concerning the safe and effective running of the tournament. It is a role that Nataki enjoys, largely because it means she feels involved with all aspects of the tournament. "As a technical official, one interacts with all stakeholders; the grounds staff, security, players, staff, spectators, media, vendors, the LOC and other volunteers. You have a greater appreciation for all the persons involved who contribute to our beloved sport.

 At the forthcoming event in Tacarigua, Nataki will be one of the more senior officials and, as such, she will be on hand to help the “newer” members of the team. As she explains, it is not just the nations playing on the pitch who need to get the dynamics right, it is important that the group of officials organising the event also work together as a team. The Junior Pan Am Championship is a stage for future hockey stars, but it is also where young officials will be cutting their teeth and Nataki, as an experienced official, will be working hard to make sure everyone plays their role effectively.

She says that the most important thing is for all the tournament officials to realise that they must take a service oriented approach while sticking to the policies and procedures that are in place to ensure the tournament runs smoothly. This can involve smoothing ruffled feathers of a team manager or coach or explaining to players why something has to happen a certain way, but the most important thing is that everyone follows the policies that underpin the event management. "Once that is all in place," says Nataki, "The tournament will be managed well and will be successful."

For the technical officials specifically, Nataki says, the main role is to assist the teams and the players to achieve their targets while maintaining their values. "As technical officials, our roles can be multifaceted in terms of assisting in the management of the games prior to, during and even at the end of the respective tournament."

Looking back over her time as an official at international events, one tournament still stands out in Nataki's mind. She was judge at the Junior Pan Am Women's Championships, Mexico City, Mexico in 2008 and says of that event: "The officials had a great team dynamic, some of those umpires who blew the whistle there are now World Panel Umpires and the Tournament Director, Paula Parks, was the catalyst in terms of the team synergy and tournament management. That was a really great event and a good learning experience for me."

From an early age, Nataki was encouraged to put herself forwards to help out. She says, "my parents always taught their children to give back and assist others." But her devotion to duty extends further than that. Nataki loves the different experiences that every tournament brings to the table. As she says, "each event has different issues or challenges and presents learning opportunities to assist in the continued development of local hockey."

For the women's event, Nataki is excited at the opportunity to showcase hockey in her own home nation. Hockey still remains a relatively poor cousin in terms of recognition in the Caribbean, but events such as the Junior Pan Am Championships are raising the profile and stirring enthusiasm among the Trinidad and Tobago population.

For the men, who have improved with every edition of the tournament, a medal position would send them off to the Junior World Cup and that is something that really would get the Trinidad and Tobago people talking about hockey.

And Nataki's busy year will continue in Salamanca, Mexico, in September, when she will be reunited with Paula Parks, working as Technical Official at the Hockey World League Round One.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Goal-den Oldie: Meet the hockey goalkeeper who has no plans to retire despite turning NINETY

By Moira Kerr

George has played for Scotland. Photo: John Linton

FORMER Scotland international George Black hasn't let age slow him down, and is still a regular fixture between the sticks at his local club.

LIKE many men his age, George Black relies on a stick – but in his case it’s for use on the hockey pitch.

George, who turns 90 this year, is Scotland’s oldest hockey player. He’s been playing since he was 17 and doesn’t plan to retire any time soon.

The grandad said: “I keep saying I should officially give up but I don’t suppose I will.

“I like to win – I play to win, although my game has gone out of one era into another.”

Goalkeeper George used to be a leading light in international hockey.

He represented Scotland 48 times and Great Britain three times and he has played all over the world.

George is a renowned goalkeeper. Photo: John Linton

George, who is a long-time member of his local club in Stepps, near Glasgow, is now with the Scottish Veterans LX Hockey Club’s over-70 and over-75 squads.

He said: “I played in Holland, France and Germany, then I went with the Great Britain squad to India and Sri Lanka.

“I have played in Canada and western Australia and I was even asked to help the Watsonians team from Edinburgh when they played in Barbados.”

Nowadays, George still travels all over Scotland with the sport.

George has played all over the World. Photo: John Linton

His latest team action was on Sunday when he was in goals for a series of social games with Scotland team-mates at Milngavie and Bearsden Sports Club in Auchenhowie.

Another recent game saw George and his team-mates play against a women’s team from Stirling University.

When he isn’t playing hockey, father-of-three George enjoys a game of tennis with his wife Anne, 82.

The pensioner, who has six grandchildren, first played hockey when he was conscripted to work away in a coal mine as a Bevin boy during World War II.

On his weekends home, he started playing with friends in Stepps and he became a regular member of the local club when the war ended.

George added: “I was a plumbers’ merchant in a warehouse and fortunately my boss was a local person and I got the time off to go to all the matches.”

Alan Parker, from Mull, plays for the over-60s Scotland team, who will compete in the Grand Masters Hockey World Cup in Australia in May.

He said George sets a great example.

He added: “This guy needs to be seen to be believed.

George won't be retiring any time soon. Photo: John Linton

“He certainly inspires me and the rest of the LX Club to believe that playing hockey into your 80s is achievable if you keep your body moving and keep sensibly fit.

“Keeping goal in hockey is dangerous and needs physical confidence to block the path of a ball travelling at considerable speed.”

Ian Downie, secretary of the LX Club, said: “We have 99 members and George is our oldest member. He still comes along to the training sessions.

“We had a match for his 80th birthday, so maybe there will be one for his 90th in August, too.”

George’s first international match was in 1953 when, at the age of 27, he played for Scotland against Ireland.

His senior international career continued for 19 years but he did miss out on one big moment.

George said: “I was a non-travelling reserve for the Olympics in Tokyo in 1964.

“My biggest regret is that I didn’t make it to the Olympics.”

Daily Record

How Living with my Teammates Shaped Me into a Better Player

USMNT athlete Michael Barminski talks about how living with a handful of fellow teammates has molded him into a better player in unexpected ways.

What's it like living with seven of your teammates under one roof? In a couple words: crowded, tiring and hectic. Still, it's probably one of the best things I've been apart of. It's an experience that has helped me grow in many ways. All of the guys I live with now, I've known since I was playing in the U-10 division in Moorpark, Calif. And since our pee wee days, we've traveled the world and played more than 50 international matches together. That's no small feat and after all that time and experience you learn a lot about yourself and your teammates.

Our performance on the field is generally judged by our abilities, whether that be passing, trapping, shooting, etc. Of course it's important to possess these necessary skills, but living in a house with your teammates can bring light to your weaknesses and strengths as a personal individual. Which are vastly more important than your attributes on the field. Your ability to possess discipline, to delegate and be prepared, all lie at the core of your being. Who you are as a person in the 'real world' reflects directly in your game play whether you like it or not. It can have a positive effect or it can have a negative effect, but you can't deny its ability to influence your game.

Some of the best coaches ever, maintain a healthy dose of discipline and focus on personal qualities. You have coaches such as John Wooden who advocate that, "who you are as a person is far more important than who you are as a basketball player." It's a truth that athletes often overlook this aspect, disregarding it, because it isn't a physical attribute. But if this is what the most winningest coach in basketball has to say, I'll take his word for it.

I'll admit I didn't always have the best qualities and still have some ones that need work. But it's part of the process and living in a house with my teammates has helped me identify and work on those negative traits, while still building on the positive ones. There's always room for growth and if you can't think of anything to get better at, you're not looking in the right places.

So when you ask what can I do to become a better field hockey player, give a good hard look at who you are as a person. Are you coachable? Are you willing to hear advice? Do you let emotions play into your game? These are just a few of the things that can make a monumental difference in the way you play as well as how you live life.

USFHA media release

EHF Office, Brussels


The EHF President, Marijke Fleuren has expressed her deep shock at the events unfolding in Brussels today. She added “Thankfully all our staff and colleagues are safe. My condolences to all of those who have been affected by these attacks, you are in my thoughts. We have been advised to close our offices for the time being, but all of our staff can be contacted via email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and your mail will be re-directed as appropriate.”

EuroHockey media release

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