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News for 19 May 2016

All the news for Thursday 19 May 2016

World Grand Masters Hockey World Cup 2016 Roundup

Photo: World Grand Masters Association / Vin Imagery

It was a fantastic turn-out for the Grand Masters Hockey World Cup as a total of 41 teams took part in the nine day event between 2-13 May in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

Two events ran side-by-side, with the World Cup being contested by the over 60, over 65s and over 70s and a corresponding Trophy competition being played out in the same age categories.

The Netherlands and Australia were the big winners. The Dutch secured gold in the 060s age group, while Australia broke English hearts in both the o65s and o70s. In the Trophy competitions, England took gold in the o60s, while the Australia team Southern Cross Blue, took gold in the 065s and o70s.

As the players made their way back to their home countries after a nine day period of top quality grand masters hockey, there was a feeling that this is an event that will grow and grow.

Supporting the event was FIH President Leandro Negre who was also attending the World Grand Masters Association Congress. Leandro applauded the development of Grand Masters hockey and stressed what an important role Grand Masters and Masters hockey now plays in the 'hockey family’.

In the men’s o60s final, a tight first half saw Australia and the Netherlands battle towards a 0-0 scoreline. However, the Dutch showed their class and stamina in the second half when first Leo van Bogerijen and then Clemens Vehmeijer took advantage of some holes in the Australian defence to give their team a 2-0 lead and the gold medal.

Earlier in the day, England had beaten Germany 1-0 to win bronze, again another fiercely contested match, with Andrew Haigh popping up to score the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute of the game. Despite Wales finishing in 10th place, Arain Zahid was top scorer in that age group with nine goals to his name.

The o65 final was a 1-0 win to the host nation over England. Noel French, who was top scorer in the competition, scoring the winner early on in the game. Despite England’s best efforts, this was a lead the experienced Australia side were not going to let slip.

The bronze medal went to New Zealand who scored three goals past the Netherlands – two from Denis Slade and one for Kenneth Isaac. The Dutch consolation goal was scored by Jan Schonk.

The final World Cup competition was the o70s and here Australia’s players proved able to hold their nerve as they ran out 2-1 winners in the penalty shoot-out after the match had finished all square at 1-1.

During the match, England took an early lead through Robert McCombe, but this was wiped out 10 minutes later when Chris Dempsey squeezed the ball past John Ingam-Marriot in the England goal. The hero at the shoot out was Australia’s Barry Paice, who scored after his team’s previous three attempts had all been saved.

With teams coming from as far afield as Japan, Malaysia, Germany, South Africa, Wales and Ireland, the World Grand Masters Hockey scene is proving that elite hockey is a sport for all ages. And with more teams getting involved in Masters and Grand Masters events, this is yet another way in which the Hockey Revolution is succeeding in achieving its goals of generating more followers around the world.

To find out more about the Grand Masters Hockey World Cup, visit the official website here.

For more information on the Hockey Revolution, click here.

FIH site

Harris, Canadian juniors bring hockey pedigree to Junior Pan Ams

Shaheed Devji

When Thomson Harris and his Canadian Under-21 teammates take to the pitch Friday in Toronto at the Junior Men’s Pan American Championship, they will be writing latest part of this country’s hockey history.

The Canadians will hit the University of Toronto’s Pan Am Fields, a legacy project from the 2015 Pan American Games, and the location Canada’s senior men and women both won medals last summer.

But for Harris, who will be playing in his first major tournament for Canada, wearing the red-and-white will have even more meaning, given his family’s own background with the sport.

Both his parents – father Doug and mother Candy – represented Canada playing field hockey. Doug competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in South Korea, and Candy in the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

That was long before Harris – now 17 and the second youngest member of Canada’s junior team in Toronto – was born. When he took up the sport at the age of seven – with his dad coaching his Vancouver Hawks team – he was just another kid playing hockey.

It was not until later, when Thomson was a teenager and began playing competitively for his province that he grasped just what his parents had accomplished.

“Probably around then I realized what it must have been like,” he says. “Not to the extent that it was, but I partially realized what they were doing when they competed.”

And it wasn’t long before Harris decided that field hockey was his thing too.

“It definitely was kind of like a ‘wow my parents did this, that would be really cool to do some day’ mentality,” he adds.

Mom, Candy, is pleased. But she and husband Doug never pushed Harris to follow in their footsteps. In fact, growing up he playing soccer, baseball, and competed in track and field and cross-country.

“It has to be his own,” Candy explains. “He has to find out what he likes. If that’s what he’s enjoying, that’s great.”

“It’s very exciting and I’m very proud of him.”

Harris’ selection to the Canadian Pan Am team was a surprise, if only to himself.

“I didn’t really have too many expectations of being selected for a team, especially this team,” he says. “I thought it’s really nice to be training with them but I don’t think I have too much of a chance.”

But with an impressive showing early in the year, he was chosen and will be counted upon to make a difference.

That’s just fine with Harris, who hopes this is the beginning of a long and prosperous career in field hockey.

“I’d like to take field hockey as far as I can,” he says. “Now with starting to play with the junior team this is kind of the first step to doing that.”

Harris and the Canadian men open the 2016 Junior Men’s Pan American Championship on Friday against Mexico at 2:30pm PT/5:30pm ET. The game will be live streamed here.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Emmanuel brothers lead Pan Am team

Nigel Simon

READY  TO REPRESENT: Emmanuel brothers, Kwasi (captain), Kieron and Kristien pose for a photograph prior to departure for Toronto, Canada, yesterday as part of the T&T Under-21 men’s hockey team which will compete at the 2016 Pan American Junior Men’s Hockey Championship from tomorrow until May 28.

This country’s national Under-21 men’s hockey squad led by goalkeeper Kwasi Emmanuel left here early yesterday morning for Toronto, Canada to compete at the

2016 Junior Pan American Hockey Championship from May 20-28 at the University of Toronto.

The T&T which has never finished higher than fifth in the previous ten editions of the competition, will compete in a very tough four-team Pool A round-robin series with

ten-time champions Argentina, the only country to have won the gold medal, Puerto Rico and USA while, Guyana, Chile, Canada and Mexico are in Pool B of the eight-team tournament which will qualify one team to the Junior World Cupto be held in India in December, later this year.

Kwasi Emmanuel of Courts Malvern will have a lot of family support within team as his two younger siblings, Kieron and Kristien also made the final squad along with fellow Malvern players, Marcano-siblings, Teague and England-based Tariq, Jovan Wren and Lyndell Byer.

Experienced Queen’s Park attacker Jordan Reynos has been named as vice-captain.

The local squad under the supervision of coach and current national senior team captain, Darren Cowie open its campaign against the Argentines on Friday from 10am followed by matches versus Puerto Rico on Saturday May 21, and Monday May 23, both from 10am as well.

At the end of the round-robin phase all the teams will move onto the quarterfinals with the Pool B teams ahead of the winners and losers draw semifinals, and final day playoffs.

T&T ended in been fifth spot four years ago in Guadalajara, Mexico as well as in 1985 in Orlando, Florida, USA; while it also placed sixth in Barbados (1996) and Chile (1981), seventh on home soil in 2008 and 2000 in Santiago, Chile, and eighth in 2005 in Havana, Cuba.

T&T Under-21 men’s hockey team: Zachary Clarke, Jordan Reynos (vice-captain), Keegan Dos Santos, Che Modeste, Dylan Francis, Jordan Vieira, Kristien Eammanuel, Jarryon Paul, Jovan Wren, Tariq Marcano, Teague Marcano, Cheon Steele(GK), Marcus Pascal. Kieron Eammanuel, Kwasi Emmanuel (captain/GK), Kelon Skerritt, Jabari Perez, Lyndell Byer.

Technical staff: Darren Cowie (coach), Akim Toussaint (assistant coach), Natakii Akii-Bua (team manager), Jameel Beharry (stand-in manager), Karielle De Bique (physiotherapist)

Tournament schedule:

Friday May 20:

Pool A:

Argentina vs T&T, 10am
USA vs Puerto Rico, 12.30pm

Pool B:

Chile vs Guyana, 3pm
Canada vs Mexico, 5.30pm

Saturday May 21:

Pool A:

T&T vs Puerto Rico, 10am
USA vs Argentina, 12.30pm

Pool B:

Mexico vs Guyana, 3pm
Chile vs Canada, 5.30pm

Monday May 23:

Pool A:

Argentina vs Puerto Rico, 10am
T&T vs USA, 12.30pm

Pool B:

Mexico vs Chile, 3pm
Guyana vs Canada, 5.30pm

Wednesday May 25: Quarterfinals

Friday May 27: Winners & Losers Semifinals

Saturday May 28: Final Day playoffs:

The Trinidad Guardian

For the love of the game

Roger St Rose (Trinidad & Tobago) and Matias Barbosa Castaño (Chile)

Sarah Juggins

2015 Pan American Games - Matias Barbosa Castaño (right). Photo Yan Huckendubler   

They are the people without whom the games could not take place; if they do a great job, they go unseen and unremarked upon – and they are fiercely proud of their status and professionalism.

The team of umpires and umpires managers at international events such as the Pan American Junior Championships are not simply chosen from a random selection of officials, they are chosen because of their ability to umpire at a high level; they will have been through many years of training and demonstrated their commitment to improving their skills, raising their own performance level and staying abreast of developments within the game.

Two such men are Roger St Rose of Trinidad and Tobago and Matias Barbosa Castaño from Chile.  Roger is one of two umpire managers taking control at the Pan American Junior Championship in Toronto (alongside Alan Waterman of Canada), while Matias will be one of eight PAHF umpires blowing the whistle at the tournament.

Roger explains just what the job of umpire manager entails: “I see our role as primarily coaches and mentors to the umpiring panel that has been selected for this tournament. Our job is to create an environment which is conducive for the individual umpire to be put on a pathway of positive growth in their umpiring career.

“I try to create an atmosphere where the umpire feels confident in himself and he is relaxed and I try to ensure that he only concentrates on the positive outcomes of the game.”

This latter is an important point because umpires, just like players, will have good and bad games, or good and bad moments on the pitch. One of Roger’s roles is to ensure that the umpire whose confidence has taken a knock is ready for the next match. His philosophy is simple – give the umpire time to unwind, then sit down and identify the problem. Once they have established why it happened, Roger says it is time to put the issue away and move on.

This is an approach developed after years of experience as both an umpire and an umpire manager. Roger's career in international umpiring began in 1987 at the PAHF Junior World Cup qualifying tournament, but he started umpiring when he was at secondary school.

He reached international Grade 1 status in 1992 and was upgraded to Olympic/ World Cup level in 1994. His first senior top level event was the 1994 World Cup in Australia.

From then Roger’s curriculum vitae just kept growing and includes: two Junior World Cups, Champions Trophies, Commonwealth Games, European Cup Finals, two Olympic qualifiers, many Pan American Games, several Central American and Caribbean Games and the Atlanta Olympics of 1996.

Of these, Roger says his best umpiring moment came in 1996 during a Champions Trophy match between the host nation Pakistan and Spain. “I have had numerous great moments umpiring in different parts of the world; but the most enjoyable was in Lahore, Pakistan in 1996 where I umpired a memorable game between Pakistan and Spain with my roommate Peter Von Reth in front of a packed stadium of more than 30,000."

Roger retired as an international umpire in 2000, but he still umpires in the domestic league in Trinidad and Tobago. Despite some time away from umpiring at the highest level, he reveals the pre-match nerves still exist, albeit for different reasons: “I normally get very little sleep the night before a match as I will be anxious to ensure that the umpires do not have to think about anything other than what is happening on the pitch.

“I think I am far more anxious that they perform well than they will ever know; but I try to keep a poker face and appear nonchalant. I try to ensure that the umpires are able to relax before the game and they can do all the things they would always do in preparation for a match. I try to make sure they are not too anxious or nervous, that their pre match preparation is done and they are thinking positive things going into the match.”

At the other end of his umpiring career is Matias Barbosa Castaño. He has been an umpire for eight years, taking charge of his first tournament five years ago. Matias says that he has learnt an amazing amount in the past few years, both through umpiring in different places and working with his diverse band of umpiring colleagues. “I see myself between now and then,” he says, almost in bewilderment, “And I must say that I’m a completely different person. More relaxed, wiser and much more knowledgeable.”

However, Matias says he still has much to learn: “If I can put it in numbers, I would say I am up to 20 per cent of my potential. I just want to keep on learning. Every tournament is different, and in all of them I learn different things.”

Matias has good reason to be looking forward to umpiring in Toronto. He officiated at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015 and says that experience was the highlight of his career so far. “That tournament was a complete success: the umpiring, the managers, the games, the whole organization, the volunteers. It completely exceeded my expectations. It reinforced to me why I wanted to umpire in the first place. Now I can’t wait for the Pan American Junior Championship to begin. I am hoping that it will be as fulfilling as the last time I was in Toronto.”

While Matias is thriving in his role as an international umpire, he admits that there are moments when his composure may be threatened by circumstances. Experience gained over the past eight years has helped him cope with these stressful moments.

“I think this is the biggest difference between an experienced umpire and someone relatively new. Umpires are people; amazing people, but just people. We make mistakes during the game and, obviously, we get upset about some decisions we make. But we can also learn from those mistakes.

“It´s very important that as you enter the field you are in the right frame of mind. To achieve that it is important to have a good pre-match preparation with your umpiring partner, make good use of your pre-match time for warming up, get to know the field and take a look at the teams as they warm up. It's all about feeling familiar with the surroundings.”

Speak to any of the umpires on the international circuit and you will discover a unique loyalty. Matias sums this relationship up. “I think the relationship between the umpires and the technical table is not just important, it is a key element for having a good match. Your umpiring colleague must have your back during the game.

“During the tournament it’s important to establish a certain level of familiarity with the whole umpiring team. There is nothing better than umpiring a game with someone you know.”

While dealing with pre-match nerves, calming down irate players and making match changing decisions could make an umpire’s life seem very stressful, there is always a lighter side to the role. “I was umpiring a normal game in the countryside,” recalls Matias. “There were no problems during the whole game. Then 10 minutes before the game ended, a dog entered the field, grabbed the ball and ran away off the stadium. We didn’t have any balls left so we had to finish it 10 minutes before it really ended. We all had a good laugh about it afterwards.”

And of course, there is always the feeling of elation that comes from being an important element of a special moment. For Matias, this came in the Pan American Games last year.

“My last game in the Games was Cuba against Trinidad and Tobago,” he says. “It was for the 7-8th place and Cuba had only got eight players because eight of the squad had disappeared into the streets of Toronto seeking political asylum.

“I expected the game to be catastrophic: I thought that the Cuban players would be aggressive, that they would delay the game as much as they could, that it would be a game with a lot of injuries and cards. But I was completely mistaken.

“The Cuban team played their best. They were playing, not just for the love of their country, but for the personal love to the sport and out of respect for their opponents. For the whole match they were running, creating play, with no complaints.

“Cuba lost 13-0 and at the final whistle, the players fell to the ground exhausted. The Trinidad and Tobago players help them to stand up and carried them around the whole field so that the spectators could cheer them. 1,000 people gave a standing ovation to those eight players. It was a moment that I will never forget, and the reason of why I love this sport.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Post-'Lucha', Argentina's Leonas target elusive gold medal

By Miguel Lobianco

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina have the ability to win an elusive Olympic gold medal in women's hockey at the Rio Games despite losing talismanic, eight-times world player of the year Luciana Aymar, coach Gabriel Minadeo said.

Aymar, famed and feared for her weaving runs and dribbling skills, retired at the end of 2014 after a medal-studded career - though without ever having won a gold.

"Argentina must learn to play without her, she wasn’t going to be eternal ... I think Argentina has potential and the players to be able to replace 'Lucha' with another gameplan,' Minadeo told Reuters in an interview.

"We're going to be able to show Argentina are a power without having 'Lucha'," said Minadeo, whose team will take part in the Champions Trophy in England next month.

"What she had was that she resolved things for you when they got complicated, with an individual move, pulling something out of the hat," he said after a practice at the Cenard national athletics training centre in the capital.

However, for all her achievements, Aymar never managed to add the gold medal to two silver and two bronzes she won at the previous four Games starting with silver at Sydney 2000 when the team earned their nickname Las Leonas (lionesses).

Forward Carla Rebecchi, who took over from Aymar as team captain, said they had set themselves the target of the gold medal after winning a second silver at the London Games in 2012.

"We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves but we know it's the medal we’re missing and it's also a dream, we know it's difficult but we're doing everything we can ... to compete at the highest level," she told Reuters.

Minadeo believes Argentina can take that final step without Aymar, who retired midway through an Olympic four-year cycle after winning the team's fifth and her sixth Champions Trophy on home soil in Mendoza.

There was no discernible slump in the team last year when they won the world league and they are now building strongly for Rio.


"Argentina has forwards who hurt rival teams. They have a passing game that is improving and is very dynamic and I think that's essential in hockey," said Minadeo, who picks his squad from the local amateur championship and nurtures them towards a higher level.

"We've got to take out our 'chip' for national (league) hockey which is a lot slower, one-on-one,” he said. "Internationally, you don't elude (opponents) so much, what eludes them is the pass (you make), so if Argentina improve that I think it will be fundamental.

"It's a key to breaking down rivals' defensive systems."

Argentina may, however, still miss the dribbling runs that earned Aymar the epithet of the Maradona of women’s hockey and were often a key to the team's successes.

Minadeo said the newer girls in the team were being put through a crash course in matches so that they go into the Rio tournament with plenty of experience of top competition.

They started the season with six friendlies against touring New Zealand in the Atlantic seaside resort of Mar del Plata in February-March.

This was followed by a tour of Belgium and Germany in April, friendlies at the Olympic venue in Rio in May and another trip to Europe for the Champions Trophy in England from June 18-26.

"In July, four countries will come here (to Argentina for more friendlies) so each player will get (to Rio) with at least 30-35 matches which is a very good playing base," said Minadeo, a former men's Olympic player going to his seventh Games and fourth as a coach.

Minadeo said taking part in the Olympics was the greatest experience for an amateur athlete. But competitors were isolated at a Games from what might be going on in the city staging them and Rio would be no different despite political turmoil and the Zika health risk to pregnant women.

"One is kind of on the margins of those things," he said. "Today we don’t think about (Zika) but we depend on the COA's (Argentine Olympic Committee) information to know how to watch out for ourselves."

(Additional reporting and writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

The Star of Malaysia

Players working hard to bring Olympic glory back to India: Hockey coach Roelant Oltmans

India at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. AFP

Roelant Oltmans fully understands what a men's hockey medal would mean to India's success-starved fans but the Dutch coach will not burden his players with the pressure of bringing one home from the Rio Games.

Once-mighty India are the most decorated nation in the sport's Olympic history but the South Asians collected the last of their eight gold medals way back at the Moscow Games in 1980.

The sport has been in steady decline since that success 36 year ago and its popularity hit a nadir when India failed to qualify for the Beijing Games in 2008.

The team representing a nation of 1.25 billion people did recover to seal at spot at the London Games four years later but finished last among the 12 countries taking part.

"We can only learn from past mistakes," Oltmans, who turns 62 next week, told Reuters in an interview.

"Now we are going in a different direction and we are working hard to get the bit of glory back for the country and that's what I am here for. We are moving in the right direction."

Oltmans, who became India's high performance director in 2013, inherited the coach's job last July following the sacking of compatriot Paul van Ass.

Under Oltmans, a relatively inexperienced team finished second behind Australia at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia last month, fuelling renewed hope for a first Olympic medal in more than three decades.

"I know it's (expectations) there, I can't change it," he said from the team's training camp in Bengaluru.

"The only thing I can do is take the pressure off the players and encourage them to show the next level of quality.

Mental Training

"I only hope the billion people and more are looking at the players who have worked their hearts out for the last couple of years to get back to that level again.

"I have seen their attitude and how they work every day to make that happen and that's what makes me happy."

The team have spent six-to-eight hours working on all aspects of the game, including sports psychology, for six days a week at the camp.

Oltmans also believes that seventh ranked India are getting closer to the world's top teams.

"We excelled in the last two major tournaments we played -- Champions Trophy and the World Hockey League final. In those tournaments we finished in the semi-finals," he said.

"But I am 100 percent sure that we need to play better than we did at those tournaments because our opponents will too, and everyone will be at their top level at the Olympics."

India, in Pool B along with Argentina, Canada, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands in Rio, have often been hamstrung by an inability to stay competitive in the final 15 minutes, something that has been linked to a lack of fitness and stamina.

Oltmans said the team have worked to address that problem.

"We need to perform more consistently than we have done," Oltmans said. "The final quarter is crucial for us, that's one of the things we have worked on... improving our physical fitness.

"We really want to go step-by-step. In Rio, our first aim is to make the quarter-finals. From there on, it's a one-off game every time. But to say we will finish on one or four or six, I don't want to make any predictions on that."


Chasing The Dream with USWNT Athlete Kat Sharkey

There’s no running out of breath to describe Kat Sharkey’s coffee order. Baristas alike can hold the extra pumps of syrups, tower of whip or dash of cinnamon dust for the next in line.

Similar to her style of play, she takes her caffeine simple and strong. One cup of hot black coffee and not only is she ready to shake sleepiness away like the average individual, but she is set to ignite a whirlwind of wicked strikes on cage during an intense 60-minute battle. A mug of caffeine given to the right person has the potential to change the world, or in this case, the scoreboard. “Caff-Dration” is a pre-game ritual that originated at Princeton University that evolves and encourages the intake of coffee and water. Sharkey keeps the tradition alive and well on Team USA, no matter where in the world the squad travels to.

“I’ve always been a coffee lover,” said Sharkey. “In college, I made it a point to get a caffeine fix before every game. Obviously hydration is an important part to staying healthy and active. So Caff-Dration kind of explains the process of wanting and needing both. It caught on and kind of spread a little bit.”

Long before she was hooked on coffee, Sharkey was hooked on hockey. She watched her older sister, Laura, play field hockey in high school and was instantly inspired to play. But as easily as her passion was developed, Sharkey’s sharp shooting skills didn’t happen overnight. In junior high school, she played midfield and didn’t score a single goal the entire season.

“I hadn’t master the skill yet of sliding my hands together and taking a drive,” said Sharkey. “I couldn’t score. After the season, I really focused on that one skill. For some reason, it’s all I wanted to do; get better at shooting.”

Sharkey’s goal soon became a family investment. Her parents recognized Sharkey’s wish and purchased a goal cage frame and Sharkey’s dad mowed the lawn as short a possible to give it a turf-like feel. I wasn’t the biggest girl on the team but I wanted a powerful shot.

“My dad didn’t have a background in field hockey at all so he would use what he knew from golf and baseball, finding where players found the power in their swings,” said Sharkey. “I wasn’t the tallest or strongest on my junior high team at that point, and I remember him telling me, ‘it’s not always the biggest guy on the diamond or on the course that can hit the hardest.’ He used what he knew about other sports to coach me and better my hit. I’ve come a long way since then.”

Having obtained the hard hit she desired, Sharkey was ready to make a name for herself. She achieved applaudable accomplishments on the field even in her high school years as the second-highest scorer in the nation as a senior in high school with 50 goals and 23 assists. Continuing on in hockey, Sharkey, the most prolific scorer in Princeton history, concluded her final season as a Tiger by setting school records in goals for a career with 107, goals for a season with 38, and goals for one game with six. Perhaps her nickname of “Shark Attack” surfaced from this aggressive, sharp shooting.

Right after receiving an invitation to join the national team, in 2011 Sharkey decided to take the school year off to train with the team; showing her dedication to the sport at the elite level. Sharkey's sheer speed and athleticism have made her a force to be reckoned with as part of Team USA's attack and she has made her presence known on the pitch. Her experience in hockey is chock-full with impressive titles and achievements, lacking any form of injuries. That was true up until the summer of 2015 where Sharkey suffered from her very first sport-related medical setback. After securing her name to the 2015 Pan American Games roster, Sharkey hoped to help her team quality for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the qualifying event but was benched due to a bad landing during a corner practice. A broken bone in her leg and torn ligaments in her ankle resulted in surgery where screws, a plate and a wire wrapped around two bones to stabilize the ankle while the ligaments healed. Sharkey didn’t sit around at home waiting and wishing things were different. After giving herself off few days to allow the dust of disappointment to settle, she charged forward.

“It was really hard to stay behind,” said Sharkey. “It happened less than a week before we were supposed to leave for Canada. I took it as a challenge and tried to be as positive as possible.”

Unable to bear weight on her leg for 6 weeks Sharkey quite literally crawled around on the gym floor focusing on upper body and core gym sessions.

“Even if I saved one percent of my fitness through those workouts, it was worth it,” said Sharkey. “It’s one percent I didn’t have to get back when I returned.”

It’s that never-say-die, all-American attitude that Sharkey persistently displays to outshine the opposition's defense. With a mug of caffeine in one hand and a stick in the other, there’s no limit to what Sharkey is capable of.

USFHA media release

Pallarols proud of special Atletic club spirit

Despite a couple of tough losses over the FINAL4 weekend, Atlètic Terrassa coach Roger Pallarols said he is “proud with what we have done” after a famous season for the Catalan club.

Atlètic reached the FINAL4 for the first time with wins over KHC Dragons and KHC Leuven in Amsterdam in the KO16 and KO8. They fell 5-1 to eventual champions SV Kampong before pushing Harvestehuder THC close 3-2 in the bronze medal match.

"I am proud of what we have done. This weekend has been a lot of demands on this team. To do it with 100 percent homegrown players with few of the resources compared to our rivals; competing with the best in Europe and creating the atmosphere we generated over the two days reinforces everything that it is to be Atlètic" said Pallarols in Terrassa Digital.

He was referring to the incredible support from the Corner Groc over the course of the EHL weekend, providing a vibrant fan experience with non-stop music and noise from the club’s supporters.

For striker Ignasi Guerrero, he added that the performances at Pau Negre will stand the side in good stead: "Every team in this FINAL4 was world class. We also we deserved to be here. We fought until the end and we have gone a step further to win the Spanish league, the goal we had set at the start of the season."

Atlètic will play Real Club de Polo in the Spanish league semi-finals on May 28 in Madrid with the winner playing either Club de Campo or regular season champions Club Egara. Egara, as regular season champions, and Polo, as Copa del Rey winners, have already assured themselves of an EHL place for next season.

It means that the better performer between Atlètic and Campo will earn the third Spanish place in next year's competition. It will also be Pallarols' last weekend as coach after seven years, stepping down to be replaced by Dani Martin next term.

Euro Hockey League media release

Essex club looking to break World Record

Old Southendian Hockey Club and local business Olympus KeyMed are joining forces to attempt a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous game of hockey this weekend. 

They begin playing from the afternoon of Friday 27th May through two grueling days and nights to Sunday evening made up of two mixed squads of 16 players. They will attempt to play non-stop, aiming to raise over £10,000 for Age UK Essex.  The current official record stands at 51 hours, set by a USA side earlier this year, so it will be no easy task for the players to stretch the mark to 52 hours, which is the equivalent length of playing no fewer than 42 games of hockey back-to-back.

Not only is this a physical challenge, for some of the players representing KeyMed it will be an opportunity to take up a new sport, or to return to one that they have not played for many years.  Recognising this opportunity to boost hockey in the local community, Old Southendian Club Captain Fliss Clarke reflected;

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our club to host such an event and to work with the local companies in our community. We really hope that it will raise the profile of hockey in the local area, attracting new players of all ages, male and female to the hockey family.”

Speaking on behalf of the charity, Jean Robinson from Age UK Essex was full of praise for the record attempt:

"We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this amazing challenge and to be KeyMed’s chosen charity this year. Later life can mean different things to different people, and every penny raised will help us support even more people in the Southend area."

Looking forward to the challenge, Leanne Neville, who has organised the event on behalf of KeyMed commented;

"This will be a fantastic event which will bring in many local companies. We hope to be successful and get our local community in the record books!"

The record attempt will take place at the Old Southendian Clubhouse at Warners Bridge across the second May Bank Holiday weekend.  Throughout the event, there will be live music, food, drinks and many activities for supporters of all ages who come to watch and cheer on the players.  For more information and to sponsor the players, see http://www.oshc-challenge50.co.uk

England Hockey Board Media release

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