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News for 22 April 2016

All the news for Friday 22 April 2016

Wales relish home International to kickstart exciting summer of Hockey

On Thursday at the National Hockey Centre in Cardiff, Wales play France in their first home international in nearly three years. For the national men’s team, these two fixtures this Thursday and Friday mark the start of their competitive preparation for FIH World League, as well as an exciting summer of international hockey in Cardiff.

Established Welsh Internationals Luke Hawker, David Kettle and Lewis Prosser share the captaincy for this international test series. Goal keeper David Kettle, who plays for EHL Premiership side Surbiton alongside Prosser, described the squad’s anticipation to play on home soil:

“It’s always an honour to pull on the national shirt, but playing internationals in Wales is extra special. We haven’t played as many home games recently as we would have liked, but when we do we always receive fantastic support from the Welsh public. Playing at home adds an extra dimension to an international and we hope to have the ‘12th man’ on our side this week. “

Luke Hawker, who was top goal scorer for Cardiff & Met this season, made his senior debut for Wales in 2012. This week however, will be his first international cap on home soil:

“This will be my first international cap at the National Hockey Centre in Cardiff, and one that I am looking forward to. Tradition says that there will be a strong crowd and a great atmosphere that will definitely contribute to our performance against what will be a strong French outfit.”

“It’s a great test for those who are new to senior international hockey, especially on home soil. The test matches will be challenging, but as last summer highlighted against strong nations like Austria & Scotland, we are more than capable of beating sides of this nature. We have a busy summer and the more players that are exposed to International Hockey can only be beneficial.”

Last summer at the EuroHockey Championships Division III, Wales were crowned champions and achieved their goal of promotion to Division II. This July, both Wales Men and Women will play Poland in their last home international before FIH World, the main focus of their competitive season. Kettle added:

“We are young in terms of age but a large proportion of the squad have been together for a while now so there’s experience to draw on. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to continue our development from the Europeans. We have a busy twelve months ahead and we’re really excited about the new guys coming into the group.”

Hawker’s fellow Cardiff & Met teammate Liam Brignull is set to hit the impressive 50th cap milestone at the second of the two test matches on Friday evening. He will be presented with the cap by Hockey Wales CEO David Phenis before the start of the match:

“We’re all delighted that Liam will win his 50th cap this week at his home ground. It’s a real asset that we have someone as experienced and talented as him in the group and I’m sure he’ll bring his A-game against France,” said Kettle.

In line to receive their first senior caps are Ioan Wall of Cardiff & Met, who is just 16 years old, Rhys Doherty of Loughborough University and Jonny Gooch from Birmingham University.

The test matches this week are FREE to watch and take place at the National Hockey Centre at Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff today at 14:00 and 18:00 on Friday night.

Keep up to date with the matches by following Hockey Wales on Twitter @HockeyWales.

Hockey Wales media release

Wales seal first win in International test against France

Wales Men secured a 1-0 win in the first of two international test matches at the National Hockey Centre in Cardiff today. For Wales Head Coach Zak Jones, it was a promising result for a young side ahead of a busy summer of international hockey:

“It was a pretty even game, but I am just delighted to get an international win on the board to start the season. It was a real team effort today, obviously Luke Hawker did well to nip in there with the goal, and now we’re looking forward to the second test tomorrow.”

France have also put out a young side for the test, with a number of their players having played for the U21 team that got a silver medal at the Junior World Cup in 2013. It was a close match, but it was Captain Luke Hawker that put Wales ahead with an impressive volley in the final five minutes.

As the clock counted down France were given the opportunity to equalize through a penalty corner, but they were denied in the last 30 seconds by Wales Goal Keeper and also Captain David kettle, who made an outstanding save to seal the win for Wales.

Their fellow captain Lewis Prosser commented on their performance today: “I felt we were very good defensively today and getting the win is a great start to our international campaign. There are some areas we need to improve on; we need to be more clinical in the D and attacking 25, but otherwise a great performance today, particularly from the three debutants.”

The second and last test against France on Friday starts at 18:00, again at the National Hockey Centre in Cardiff.

Hockey Wales media release

Scrapping Champions Trophy akin to wiping out Pakistan’s legacy: Islahuddin

Abdul Ghaffar

"The PHF should record a strong protest and work hard to get this decision reversed" - File photo

The Federation of International Hockey (FIH) has come under heavy criticism by former Pakistan skipper Islahuddin after the game's governing body scrapped the Champions Trophy from the calendar.

The FIH has recently announced that a new portfolio of events will be launched in 2019 which will completely change the landscape of international hockey.

The plan also includes scrapping of the Champions Trophy which, according to the FIH plans, will be held for the last time in 2018 at Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Islahuddin, who led Pakistan to glory in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1978, criticised the FIH for putting to end the event of which the basis was laid by Pakistan.

“The Champions Trophy is close to the heart of Pakistan hockey, the fans and the players,” Islahuddin told Dawn in an interview.

“Scrapping Champions Trophy is akin to wiping away Pakistan's legacy,” he added.

The Champions Trophy’s first edition in 1978 was hosted by Pakistan amid FIH’s financial crisis and the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) managed to put up a successful event on its own.

Islah, 68, expressed suspicion over PHF’s lack of knowledge about the decision being taken by the FIH.

“Even if they didn’t know earlier that such decision was coming, they do know now,” said the former right-winger.

“The PHF should record a strong protest and work hard to get this decision reversed.”

The PHF on Wednesday expressed disappointment at the FIH's decision.

“In light of the recent decision of the FIH, it is a matter of immense disappointment and dismay for the PHF to learn that the FIH has decided to eliminate the ever-exciting Champions Trophy from its yearly calendar all of a sudden without any prior consultation with the PHF whatsoever,” read a press-release issued by the PHF.


The torch is lit for SAMBA STICKS

With the Olympic torch lighting taking place earlier today, we kick off SAMBA STICKS – hockey’s very own campaign celebrating hockey at Rio.

Between now and Rio, SAMBA STICKS will bring you competitions, team news and other goodies to help you be the best Olympic fan ever.

Follow #SambaSticks to find out the official schedule first, keep up-to-date with what the players have to say and much, much more.

Like bees and honey, we think hockey and Rio go together. Both are hot right now, combining rhythm, beauty and a special flare that has to be seen to be believed.

SAMBA STICKS will take you on a journey to the most prestigious event in the hockey calendar, taking place at the Deodoro Olympic Park between 6-19 August 2016. Participating teams, Continental Federations, athletes and teams will all be involved in the campaign.

So let’s limber up and ignite the passion of Rio with SAMBA STICKS.

The Olympic flame, which was lit in Olympia, Greece, earlier today, will now following a journey through Greece, onto Switzerland - with stops in the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, and the United Nations in Geneva, before touching down in Brazil on 3 May.

It will then travel for 95 days around Brazil, passing within an hour of 90 percent of the population of Brazil. It will be carried by 12,000 torchbearers and travel over 30,000 kilometres by road and air, through more than 300 cities before arriving in Rio on 5 August for the official Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

The Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most symbolic Olympic events. It marks the countdown to one of the greatest athletic and cultural events in the world. It unites the world and inspires its citizens, bound by the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.


IOC/Ian Jones

FIH site

Regions set for National Under 21 Tournament

The Hockey New Zealand National Under 21 Tournament gets underway this weekend around the country.

Defending champions Auckland Women and Capital Men will be hoping history repeats as they fight to hold on to the titles.

In 2015 Auckland beat North Harbour 1-0 in the women’s final while the Capital Men took a thrilling shoot-out over Auckland to claim the trophy.

The bronze medals went to Midlands Women and North Harbour Men.
CLICK HERE for 2016 Men’s Draw and Results

CLICK HERE for 2016 Women’s Draw and Results

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Repton retain Boys U18 Schools Cup

Repton U18 2016 2

Repton retained the England Boys Schools U18 Cup with a 5-2 win over Midlands rivals Oakham.

There was a great atmosphere inside Lee Valley with both teams well supported and it was the Oakham fans who had something to cheer about first when Thomas Schanschief converted a 13th minute corner with a drag flick. The lead lasted until the 29th minute when James Sookias scored in a similar manner for Repton. Two minutes’ later a Harry Bennett tap-in from close range gave Repton a 2-1 lead at the interval.

Repton scored a key third goal on 49 minutes when Harry Bennett scored with a fine reverse stick shot from a narrow angle. Oakham gambled by taking keeper Nicholas Davies off but he was back between the posts for a Repton stroke that was converted by Eliot Hibell in the 61st minute. Bennett completed his hat-trick with another close range finish to make it 5-1 but a gallant Oakham side scored with the last play of the game through Adam Skinner despite being down to eight men.

In the 3-4 game Whitgift ran out 4-1 winners over Dean Close. Whitgift’s goals came from Josh Coniglio, Ed Treece (2) and Finley Newton. Matt Court converted a late consolation for Dean Close.

In the Plate final Prior Park and Merchant Taylors played out a 0-0 draw in the final so the gmae when to penalty strokes. Prior Park triumphed 4-3, a fitting end for their hockey coach, Alan Hall, who is retiring after 40 years service at the school.

Prior Park 2016

Prior Park 2016

In the Plate 3-4 game Kings Chester overcame Portsmouth GS 7-5.       

England Hockey Board Media release

Repton U16s make it a double

Repton U16 2016

Repton Under 16s emulated their U18s in retaining their schools’ title with a 3-0 win over King Edwards, Birmingham in today’s final.

Repton took an early lead when unselfish play set up Charlie Collins for a clinical finish. They looked in control but couldn’t add to their tally until 7 minutes before time when Stuart Kentwell converted a penalty stroke after a colleague had been upended by the Kings goalkeeper. Jacob Smith put the icing on the cake when he fired home an overtime corner. Credit goes to King Edwards on achieving runners up spot in the third year they have reached the finals but the first to earn any points.

Cranleigh won the 3-4 play-off beating Marlborough 5-3 in a stroke competition after a 1-1 draw. Captains Cranleigh’s Harry Gough and Marlborough’s Dom Coulson were on target during the game.

Earlier in the day Repton clinched top spot in Pool C after a 1-1 draw with Ipswich. Cranleigh’s 6-1 defeat of Canford earned them runners up spot.

Pool D was far tighter. Overnight leaders King Edwards lost 3-1 to Reed’s and Marlborough defeated Thirsk by the same score. This left King Edwards and Marlbrough level on points, goal difference and goals scored but King Edwards took top spot as they had beaten Reed’s.      

Repton U16 2016   

England Hockey Board Media release

Joel keeping the Van Huizen family tradition alive

by Aftar Singh

Joel (left) in action at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh recently.

KUALA LUMPUR: Joel van Huizen has made his family proud.

First, the 24-year-old kept the family tradition alive by becoming the third generation to play hockey for the national team.

He made his international debut in the six Test series – four against New Zealand and two against South Korea – in Auckland last month. He also featured in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, which ended on Saturday.

Joel’s grandfather, Lawrence, 86, played in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and also coached the national team in the 1970s.

His father, Stephen, is also a former international, having played for the country for a decade in the 1970s and 1980s. Stephen is now the coach of the national team.

On Sunday, Joel will make his family proud again when he receives his degree in business, majoring in accounting, from Help University, at their convocation.

Joel said that it has been an exciting month for him.

“First was being in the national senior team ... now getting a degree in accounting,” he said.

Joel said that he would apply for an accounting job with Sapura, the team he’s been playing for in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) over the last few years.

“I need a job where I can be released to train and play for the national team.

“I love playing hockey and want to help Malaysia qualify and also feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Joel.

The 57-year-old Stephen hailed his son’s achievements in hockey and studies.

“Joel managed to secure a degree despite skipping semesters to train and play in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in 2013 and also to train with the national senior team,” said Stephen.

The Star of Malaysia

AHF's killer sanction fee

By Juget Singh

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are keen to host the Fourth Edition of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) this year, but a sanction fee of RM155,000 (US40,000) is fast turning into a thorny issue.

The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) event was first mooted in 2011 and held in Ordos, China, followed by Doha, Oatar, in 2012 and Kakamigahara, Japan, in 2013.

An MHC official who declined to be named said the fee is too high, and they are still in negotiations with the AHF.

"The MHC placed a bid to host the ACT but were shocked when we found out that the sanction fee is RM155,000. We told the AHF that we are willing to fork out US20,00 and meet them half-way, but have yet to receive a response," said the official.

A former AHF official was also shocked with the sudden rise in the ACT sanction fees.

"When we initiated the ACT, it was to move Asian hockey to a higher level by playing in an annual tournament because the continent was far behind European teams which only needed to cross borders by bus to play friendlies or tournaments to improve.

"If the present batch of AHF officials want to turn it into a money-making event, they have got their priorities all wrong," said the former AHF official.

The AHF had charged a sanction fee of US10,000 for Malaysia to host the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan, where Malaysia failed to clinch the Junior World Cup ticket.

"We agreed to pay US10,000 for the Junior Asia Cup, believing it would help Malaysia's cause to qualify for the Junior World Cup by having home ground advantage.

"But the ACT is not a qualifier and it does not even qualify for International Hockey Federation (FIH) ranking points.

"The ACT is just to improve Asian hockey, which lacks tournaments, and so we believe that by imposing hefty sanction fees, it no longer serves its purpose," said the MHC official.

Japan, Bangladesh and Malaysia placed bids for the ACT, and the AHF have struck out Japan because they hosted the last event.

Then there is also the issue of title sponsors and TV rights which the AHF wants to control: "If AHF agree with meeting MHC at the half-way mark of US20,000 then we can continue with other negotiations which involves title sponsors and TV rights. If not, discussing about the other two issues is worthless at this moment."

India won the inaugural title in Ordos, while Pakistan were champions in Doha and Kakamigahara. Malaysia finished third in all three editions.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Munster game faces administration crisis

Alan Good

Munster Hockey officials have again warned that the sport could grind to a halt in the province if key administration positions go unfilled.

The provincial branch’s AGM in Mitchelstown on Wednesday night ended with eight positions, including the ladies registrar, men’s fixtures secretary and three ladies divisional secretaries, remaining vacant following an absence of nominees.

Prior to this season, the branch spent three months hunting for a new treasurer, secretary and men’s fixtures secretary, with Munster Hockey chairman John Dennis double-jobbing as interim secretary.

Volunteers were eventually found for these roles but only after the branch warned there would be “no fixtures, no umpires, no registration and no hockey in Munster until these vital positions are filled. This is a very regrettable step but the branch cannot run hockey in Munster without these volunteers.”

Incoming branch president Finbarr Kelleher struck a similarly cautionary note, urging clubs to find volunteers over the summer to help fill the roles or face the prospect of next season’s competitions not being able to start.

Although one of the best-attended AGMs of recent years, the reticence of those present to go forward reflects ongoing issues with volunteerism at all levels in the province.

A recent Munster Hockey survey showed that 40% of 503 respondents felt that the few volunteers in their club were stretched to their limits. The report also indicated that the primary reasons people did not volunteer to fill branch positions were the time involved (54%), location of meetings (13%) — with many incorrectly perceiving that all meetings were held in Cork city.

Munster Hockey also repeated its call for volunteers to help out with a variety of roles ranging from ticket desk operators to ball patrol as Cork gets set to host the U18 European boys and girls championships in late July, the first Irish-based event of its calibre to be held outside Dublin since 1998.

Meanwhile the Rio-bound Ireland team will also be in Cork to take on world number two the Netherlands in a pair of games in the Mardyke on July 4 and 6.

The race to make next season’s EY Hockey League hots up this weekend with the final rounds of the provincial playoffs at Grange Road.

Bandon’s men are Munster’s sole representative in the semi-finals, taking on a fancied Instonians side looking to complete part three of a seasonal quadruple.

The winners of the men’s and ladies competitions will replace Annadale and Greenfields respectively in next year’s competition, with the runners-up bound for a playoff against Cookstown (men) and UCC (women).

The Irish Examiner

USA Field Hockey Announces SI Play as Official Technology Partner of Clubs

Partnership Refects SI Play's Passion and Commitment to Youth Sports, as Well as Its Cutting-Edge Technology Resources That Enhance and Serve Their Communities of Players, Families, Administrators and Volunteers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Field Hockey is pleased to announce Sports Illustrated Play (SI Play) as the Official Technology Partner of USA Field Hockey Clubs. The partnership will enable USA Field Hockey club administrators and the junior field hockey community to take advantage of SI Play’s cutting-edge technology platform and tools to support their players, families, coaches and administrators.

“Sports Illustrated Play is a powerful, yet easy-to-use tool that is a one-stop shop for our clubs,” said Adam Andrasko, USA Field Hockey Member Services Director. “We are pleased to partner with SI Play to better serve our members and provide them access to a reliable, customer-service-based company.”

The services and features club administrators will be tapping into include streamlined player sign-up, roster management, scheduling and a team-focused web and mobile app for team managers, parents and players that enhances communication within affiliated leagues and teams. SI Play’s registration system will also integrate directly with USA Field Hockey to allow for membership validation during club registrations.

“We are honored that USA Field Hockey has selected SI Play as its official technology partner. Our organizations share a common devotion to elevating the youth sports experience, and together we are going to work closely to create even more ways to celebrate the growing sport of field hockey, its players, their parents, coaches and the officials,” said Jeff Karp, SI Play CEO.

Launched in 2015, SI Play works with National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and youth sports organizations to create leading-edge products and services that elevate and celebrate the games for everyone. Currently SI Play supports more than 10 million monthly active users with digital products and services, and it has official technology partnerships with eight youth sports NGBs. Learn more at SIPlay.com

About SI Play

SI Play brings together industry leaders in sports software around a simple yet ambitious goal: to connect the world of youth sports. Since its launch in July 2015, SI Play has gained tremendous momentum and now supports more than 10 million active users each month across a wide range of sports, geographies and age ranges through its digital products and services, and it has official technology partnerships with eight youth sports National Governing Bodies. The company provides the platform and tools to fuel the passion for sports and ensure a rewarding experience for all participants.

USFHA media release

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