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News for 12 July 2016

All the news for Tuesday 12 July 2016

Team Ireland name men’s hockey squad for Rio 2016

Dublin, Ireland: The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and Hockey Ireland are delighted to announce the final men’s hockey squad to represent Team Ireland at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Team Ireland now officially have 74 athletes from 13 sports heading to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after the 16-strong men’s hockey squad plus three travelling reserves was chosen today.

The selected athletes are:

·       Jonny Bell, Lisnagarvey, Defender
·       Chris Cargo, Racing, Midfield
·       Peter Caruth, Annadale, Forward
·       Mitch Darling, Rotterdam, Forward
·       Paul Gleghorne, Lisnagarvey, Defender
·       Kyle Good, Monkstown, Forward
·       Ronan Gormley, Krefeld, Defender
·       David Harte (Captain), Kampong, Goalkeeper
·       Conor Harte, Racing, Defender
·       John Jackson, Reading, Defender
·       John Jermyn, Cork C of I, Midfield
·       Eugene Magee, Banbridge, Midfield
·       Shane O’Donoghue, Dragons, Midfield
·       Alan Sothern, Pembroke, Forward
·       Kirk Shimmins, Pembroke, Midfield
·       Michael Watt, Lisnagarvey, Forward

Travelling Reserves:

·       Tim Cockram, Lisnagarvey, Forward
·       Michael Robson, Annadale, Midfield
·       David Fitzgerald, Monkstown, Goalkeeper

OCI President and International Olympic Committee Executive Board Member Pat Hickey said:

“To qualify for the Olympic Games is a fantastic achievement, and the players and Hockey Ireland have worked incredibly hard for it. Not only is this the first time an Irish hockey team has qualified for an Olympic Games for more than 100 years; it is the first time that Team Ireland will contest a team sport at an Olympic Games since 1948.”

Rob Johnson, Acting CEO for Hockey Ireland, said:

“To be the first field team sport to represent Ireland at an Olympics in 68 years is a historic achievement. And to be a selected team member in this history-making side is an incredible personal achievement - congratulations to each and every one of the players selected!

“Head Coach, Craig Fulton with his support team, has stretched the squad, raising them to higher performance levels.  This has required a huge amount of dedication and many sacrifices from every member of the larger squad.  I would like to thank everyone in the larger squad of players for the dedication and extreme focus of every single one of them during the qualification campaign. I know that Craig’s final decision on selection was extremely difficult.

“On behalf of Hockey Ireland I would like to wish the team the very best of luck and to say that we will all be supporting you throughout the Olympics.”

Team Ireland’s first game at Rio 2016 is on Saturday 6 August.

More formal selections in other sports are set to be finalised over the next few days.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ireland name panel packed with EHL experience

Picture: Adrian Boehm

Ireland have named their Olympic panel with all 16 players in their central selection having previously played in the Euro Hockey League.

EHL Round 1 hosts Banbridge will be represented by Eugene Magee at the event and he said of his inclusion: “Now that the selection is finally made, there is a weight off us but it doesn’t stop us trying to improve and be the best version of ourselves that we can be.”

He and Kampong’s David Harte are both set for EHL Round 1 in October from the Irish selection while Lisnagarvey’s Jonny Bell, Paul Gleghorne and reserve Timmy Cockram will play in the KO16 next Easter.

Michael Watt is another who played with Garvey last season but is set for a return to London where he previously played with Surbiton in the EHL.

Former Club de Campo man Ronan Gormley – a finalist with the Madrid club – is the most experienced player with Magee and Reading’s John Jackson the only three players to have lined out over 200 times for Ireland.

Harte’s twin, Conor, will join Jackson and Gormley in the backline with Bell. Paul Gleghorne completes the defensive line-up, putting him in the unique position in which he could potentially play against his older brother Mark.

The Irish midfield features the freshest faces with Dragons’ Shane O’Donoghue – a nominee for the world’s emerging talent of the year for 2015 – set to be the main pivot in midfield alongside Jermyn and Magee. Pembroke flyer Kirk Shimmins, the youngest member of the panel, and the versatile Chris Cargo got the nod ahead of Michael Robson who travels as a reserve.

Up front, Alan Sothern and Watt both have over 50 international goals to their name and form an attacking unit who have played a huge amount together in the last seven years. Mitch Darling, Peter Caruth and Kyle Good complete the line-up.

Now, the focus is getting the best out of the last 25 days worth of preparation, encompassing a holding camp in Argentina before transferring to Rio on July 29.

Magee is looking forward to ruffling a few feathers.

“It’s not a matter of just showing up. It’s about competing; everybody in our team is selected based on that mindset, that they are fierce competitors, always wanting to improve and try their best.”

Their Olympic challenge begins on August 6th against India in a six-team group from which a top four place will earn a quarter-final berth.

Euro Hockey League media release

Ireland’s Olympic hockey squad close in on financial target

Fulton names 16-man squad for Rio Games, with David Harte captaining the side
about an hour ago

John O'Sullivan

Ireland captain David Harte: Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The Ireland hockey team have edged closer to their fundraising target of €225,000 on a day when national coach Craig Fulton announced the 16-man squad for the Olympics in Rio.

The Irish hockey team received €50,000 from the Olympic Council of Ireland and have now exceeded the €200,000 mark. The majority of the money raised came from within the hockey community but a significant contribution came from the general public through a Go Fund Me campaign. The governing body is optimistic that they will achieve their financial goal.

In qualifying, the squad ensured they will become the first in 68 years to represent Ireland in a field at the Olympics. They will also bridge 108-year gap to the last Irish hockey side to compete at the games.

Ireland will be captained by David Harte, voted the world’s best goalkeeper – his twin Conor, a defender, is also in the squad. Since the heartbreak of losing out on qualifying for London 2012 to a controversial last minute goal to Korea at Belfield, they have pursued their Olympic dream under the ‘No Excuses,’ mission statement.

The Hartes are sons of former Tyrone goalkeeper Kieran, a first cousin of Tyrone manager, Mickey. “Only about a month and a half ago, myself and my brother met with him, along with the rest of the group, in Carton House,” said David.

“We had quite a week: we had just met Rory McIlroy fresh off his Irish Open success, then Mickey Harte came to talk to us and then we had Joe Schmidt at one of our fundraising dinners.

“We were spoilt for choice. We spoke with Mickey at length – nothing maybe with regards to hockey but just in general how you handle yourself, body language, nerves and things like that.”

Ireland are in the same pool as the reigning Olympic champions, Germany, the number two ranked team in the world, The Netherlands, and Pan-American champions, Argentina, along with India and Canada. The daunting challenge will be compounded by the small matter of playing five matches in a week.

IRELAND HOCKEY SQUAD: J Bell (Lisnagarvey), C Cargo (Racing), P Caruth (Annadale), M Darling (Rotterdam), P Gleghorne (Lisnagarvey), K Good (Monkstown), R Gormley (Krefeld), D Harte (Kampong, capt), C Harte (Racing), J Jackson (Reading), J Jermyn (Cork C of I), E Magee (Banbridge), S O’Donoghue (Dragons), A Sothern (Pembroke), K Shimmins (Pembroke), M Watt (Lisnagarvey).

Travelling reserves: T Cockram (Lisnagarvey), M Robson (Annadale), D Fitzgerald (Monkstown).

Management: C Fulton (coach), S Barry (manager), S Haslam (physio), J Caren (assistant), W McConnell (performance), G McMahon (physiologist), N Henderson (goalkeeping coach)

Ireland’s Olympic fixtures: v India (August 6th), v Holland (7th), v Germany ( 9th), v Canada (11th), v Argentina (12th).

The Irish Times

Milestone awards represent quality in Rio 2016 Officials field

John Wright of South Africa has become the fourth umpire to join the 200 club, just weeks before he steps onto the pitch in Rio to umpire at an incredible fifth Olympic Games.

The second day of competition at the recent Men’s Six Nation Invitational Tournament in Valencia, Spain was a day of milestones and celebrations as in addition to Wright's cap milestone, Spain’s Paco Vazquez umpired in his 100th senior international game.

The two men received their awards – John a silver plaque and Paco an FIH Golden Whistle – after they umpired the match between Germany and New Zealand.

The two men will be part of the same umpiring team later this year as they have both been selected to officiate at the Rio Olympics. While John is a seasoned Olympian, Paco will be making his debut Olympic appearance.

John began his international umpiring career 20 years ago, becoming a Grade One umpire a year later and reaching World Panel Umpire status in 1999.

He was awarded his golden whistle 10 years ago and, with this award, he becomes only the fourth umpire to ever reach 200 matches.

The other members of the 200 club are John’s fellow South African Marelize de Klerk, along with Alain Renaud of France and Santi Deo of Spain.

Paco’s international career took off in 2002 and during that time he has umpired at one Hockey World Cup (2014) and three Hockey Champion Trophies (2010, 2012 and 2014). He is the 37th umpire to receive the coveted FIH Golden Whistle, and the third umpire from Spain to do so – with Deo and Xavi Adell.

Talking about umpiring, John Wright, who works as a Senior Sport Organiser at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa, said: “While most umpires enjoy the thrill of being on a hockey pitch, I enjoy reflecting on my performance after the fixtures. Umpiring has taught me how to manage and resolve difficult situations in life. It requires great mental strength, tenacity, and a clear thought process.”

The veteran umpire added that he would be working hard on his fitness over the coming weeks to make sure he was absolutely ready to meet the challenges of a fifth Olympic Games.

After receiving his Golden Whistle, a delighted Paco tweeted: “So honoured to officiate my 100 caps today. Working and perseverance gets nice achievements.”

And congratulations for the two umpires were free flowing from players and umpires. Jamie Dwyer, who will be going to his fourth Olympics this year, said: “Congrats to South African hockey umpire John Wright on umpiring his 200th international game!!!”

South African World Panel umpire Deon Nel tweeted: “Awesome achievement to John Wright and Paco Vazquez, Enjoy guys…”

As befits a man who has four Olympic Games already under his belt, John has a clear idea of what the umpires are trying to achieve. He said: “Our job is to keep the players on the field. We try to ensure that the game is fair and the spectacle it should be. The skill of the players should be protected and it must be a good game for players and spectators alike. I like to think it is not us and them, between us and the players, but we are all working together to put on a good game.”

You can watch both umpires in action at the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games. To find out more about the hockey events there, click here.

FIH site

Overcoming long odds second nature for Canadian men’s field hockey team

'There is almost an obligation to succeed,' says midfielder Mark Pearson

Mark Pearson for CBC Sports

Canada's Mark Pearson, in white, feels the pressure of living up to past great players. (Gurinder Osan/Associated Press)

Being a member of Canada’s OTHER men’s hockey squad — the National Field Hockey team — can be an unbelievable honour, privilege and burden all at the same time.

There is almost an obligation to succeed, to continue the lineage left by the legends who came before me like Rob “Shorty” Short, Ken "Kenny" Pereira, Bindi "Bones Kullar," Mike Mahood, Paul "Bubli" Chohan, Peter Milkovich and Matt "Peckerfish" Peck. The list could go on.

Despite remaining firmly situated as a niche sport in this country, our national men’s team has been remarkably successful, and has competed at six of the last 11 Olympic Games.

Recent successes at the 2014 Champions Challenge and the 2015 World League Round 2 have been positive steps forward for our group, but we still needed to take that big step forward, qualify for a major tournament and write our own chapter in Canadian field hockey history.

With that as the backdrop, I’d like to take you back to June 11, 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina for our quarter-final match against New Zealand. Qualification for the Rio Olympics was on the line.

Overcoming long odds has become almost second nature to us and while I was fortunate enough to compete at the Olympic Games in 2008, and the 2010 World Cup early in my career, recent failures to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 World Cup were beginning to weigh on me. Honestly, I was starting to feel the pressure to maintain our tradition of success.

Pearson was nervous heading into Canada's pivotal match with New Zealand. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Fighting back the butterflies

As I walked out to line up and link arms with my teammates for O Canada on that frigid June evening in Buenos Aires, I was fighting back the butterflies that come with an Olympic qualifying match.

I had a nervous confidence going in, as I knew how much work we’d put in preparing for this and that the potential was there for us to pull off a historic upset. But in the back of my mind there was some lingering doubt, heightened by a drubbing at the hands of the Olympic champion Germans two days earlier, and oh yeah, Canada had never beaten New Zealand in a tournament before — ever.

However, those thoughts dissipated as I jogged back to our 25-yard line for the pre-game huddle where a combination of smelling salts and a rousing speech from Captain Canada, Scott Tupper, got my focus level back on point.

The match started somewhat tentatively, with both sides feeling the other out and looking to avoid making the first critical mistake. The first three quarters continued like this with both teams trading possession and the odd chance.

The key for us, like it is against any highly ranked team, was to "keep the tension" in the match, and make sure that the pressure and frustration continued to build on them as the match wore on. However, that is easier said than done and the Kiwi chances started to come early in the fourth quarter — one deflection saved brilliantly by David Carter, then another rebound shot agonizingly wide.

We struggled to keep solid possession moving forward and relied on some gutsy tackles and gritty defence to keep the score level. As the final horn sounded we could sense a palpable frustration from the Kiwis — who we’d watched two days earlier celebrating a 3-3 tie with Korea — ensuring them of the "easier" crossover quarter-final against us.

Canadian goalie David Carter, right, was brilliant throughout the match. (Photo courtesy International Hockey Federation )

The shootout

Up next was a shootout to decide who would move on to the semifinals and the Rio Games.

First up were the Kiwis — goal.

Gulp… now it’s my turn to shoot — deep breath — goal — thank God.

The next four shooters did not go well as they scored twice and we missed twice, leaving the score at 3-1. One more goal from either of the final two Kiwi shooters would send them to Rio.

It didn’t look good for us.

The fourth Kiwi came in for a chance, pulled right, pulled back to the left and flipped it over Carter's pad — it’s going in. EEEEMMMM — the eight-second buzzer goes just as the ball was about to cross the line. The Kiwis celebrated thinking they’ve booked their ticket to Rio, but Carter smartly asks for a video review to double check. Minutes passed as the video umpire went over the video frame by frame.

No Goal! The ball crossed the goal-line something like 0.2 seconds after the eight-second limit — 0.2 seconds away from packing up our bags and going home.

The pressure was still on us, though. We had to score to stay ialive. Luckily Sukhpal Panesar stepped up cool as you like — GOAL — and now it was 3-2.

Another chance for the Kiwis to win followed, but Carter did an incredible job to stay with the Kiwi and forced the shot wide.

The pressure was back on and we needed to score to force sudden death. Gordie Johnston pulled right, back to his left and left no mistake on the shot. We were all square again, 3-3, after five shooters.

Canadian players flocked to Carter immediately after clinching an Olympic berth. (Photo courtesy International Hockey Federation)

Sudden death

Now we went into a sudden-death shootout — Gulp. It’s back to me again — deeper breath — Goal — thank God!

The tension continued to grow for the next four rounds of sudden death as every time we scored, they followed suit. And when we missed and they had chances to win it, Carter was more than up to the challenge. On one, he made a diving save, deflected the ball up and we watched it agonizingly float towards the goal before — DING — hitting the crossbar and bouncing out. The Kiwis struggled with this one, in particular.

During all of this I tried my best not to ride the waves of emotion as I knew I had to stay composed should I have to shoot again, but I have to be honest and say that pretty much became impossible the deeper we got into sudden death.

As a quick aside, I know from talking to my sister when I got back that this was about the time in the shootout that my mom, who was watching on a YouTube stream back in Canada, went upstairs and hid in her bedroom. The tension was too much to take. Instead of watching, she asked to be informed by a shout after each goal or save.

Her anxiety would have only increased after the order switched in the sixth round of sudden death and, after another incredible save from Carts, suddenly her son was back up to shoot with the Olympic Games riding on his stick. I went in and pulled to the right going around the keeper to work some space for a shot. Although the angle was narrow I had net to shoot at and flicked it towards the target. Whack! The flailing goalie made an incredible save, diving back to pick the ball out of midair with his stick.

As I trudged back to the 25-yard line my mind was racing — sadness and frustration mixed with soul-crushing disappointment. I could have wiped away seven years of grinding and disappointment with one goal and now I was going to have to go back, stand there quietly, and wait, hoping that my teammates could pull it out for us and I wouldn’t  have to re-live that miss for the next four years of my life.

Two more tense rounds passed before Carter made another epic save, and then Adam Froese was back up with another shot to send us to Rio. I waited with bated breath as he pulled left, curled back right and found the gaping net! Yeeesssss!!!! I ran as fast as I could with outstretched arms to join Carter and Froese in celebration.

I don’t know who I hugged first or for how long but the rest of the team was quick to pile in on top of us. By the time I’d pulled myself out of the pile the tears had started rolling, a combination of qualifying for the Olympic Games, the release of tension after a 31-minute shootout, and thinking about my family and all our supporters back home. It was all so, so good.

I hugged and definitely kissed some of my teammates with tears still streaming down my cheeks. This was the moment I’d been waiting for, my teammates had been waiting for.  This was the moment that made all those 6:30 a.m. trainings in the Vancouver sleet and paying for trips out of our own pocket for the past three years so worth it.

I grabbed my cell phone, flicked on the cellular roaming and started calling, I didn’t care how much it cost, I needed to share this moment with my mom, my sisters and my girlfriend, although it wasn’t a great conversation as it went something like: (sobbing)... “We did it!” (more sobbing)… “We did it!”

CBC Sports

Two PAHF coaches attend FIH Hockey Academy high performance course during Champions Trophy

Sarah Juggins

Jorgelina Rimoldi and Laura del Colle, Argentina   

Twenty one high performance coaches from around the globe descended upon the Lee Valley Hockey Centre at the Olympic Park in London, England.

Among those participating were two coaches who will be well known to followers of hockey over the past 20 years – Jorgelina Rimoldi and Laura del Colle – two Olympians and former members of Las Leonas hockey team. Jorgelina won silver with Argentina at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while Laura was also a silver medalist – at London 2012 – as well as a gold medalist at the 2012 Champions Trophy, which took place in her home town of Rosario.

The two Argentine coaches were part of a 21-strong group of high performance coaches who gathered for a week of coach education run by the FIH Hockey Academy and its associated partners.

The coaches divided their time in England between Loughborough University, which is partnering the FIH in much of its development work, and the Lee Valley Hockey Centre. The course was run by educators and course organizers from FIH Hockey Academy and partnering organizations, such as hosts England Hockey and Coach Logic – who have recently partnered with the Hockey Academy and were on hand with advice about video analysis.

“We came from all over the world, representing 18 different countries,” said Laura. “This is the first time FIH has tried a course on this scale, with so many different nationalities working together. We have had workshops, theory sessions, video analysis as well as watching many of the international games taking place. We were kept very busy: for example, while watching the games, we were given a topic to analyze, which we then fed back to the group later via a presentation.”

One of Jorgelina’s topics to present back to the group was how to effectively hit a free hit into the ‘D’. “It was fantastic to observe the match because, when I was later explaining the reasons behind my analysis, we had all seen the match live together, so all the other coaches knew what I was talking about – it gave a relevance to my analysis, which would not have been so simple to communicate had the group not seen the same match and the same incidents,” she explained.

Not surprisingly, goalkeeper Laura’s topic was defence into the ‘D’. She says: “I watched the defence of all six teams that were playing here and I was pleased to see that all the teams were doing similar things to the coaching I do at the moment. It made me realize that all the teams are continuously developing and it confirmed I am doing the right things.”

Jorgelina added: “We also had some ‘surprise’ topics, which taught us to really think on our feet. One topic we had plenty of time to prepare, but for the other topic, it was sprung upon us to test our ability to react to a situation. That was tough. I had to analyze Holland, with and without the ball.”

She explained that she loves the Netherland’s system of play, so spending time watching and analyzing was a real pleasure. ‘They make squares all over the pitch,” she says. “So they defend as a unit and then, when they win possession, they pass the ball around in these tight formations – it is so lovely to watch.

“I also watched New Zealand, they work on a pivot to put pressure on the ball. It is really nice to see the contrast between Argentina – which I know very well – and the other teams.”

As the two women enthuse about the coaching course, the conversation sparkled. Laura cuts in at one point to talk about the beauty of sharing knowledge across continents: “It is so interesting to watch the different cultures and how that affects the style of play. Pakistan is so different; Japan again, so different. There are people here from different countries and different continents and there are surprising amounts of differences between them. But we are all here talking about hockey in different countries, but in a common language.”

For Laura, the surprise topic had a touch of the familiar about it. “My surprise topic was to analyze the midfield of Argentina. That was lucky, because just four years ago I was playing alongside them in the 2012 Olympics, so I know them well. There are some new players, but on the whole I knew what they were doing and why.”

Both coaches agreed that the most interesting and important thing they got from the course was the feedback from educators and the other coaches. “It makes you think about how you are teaching and how you are improving as a coach,” says Laura. “Your coach educator makes you think about your coaching style. The coaching sessions, the workshops, the analysis - all these things have made me think of different ways to coach at my club or teach at my university.”

While the course is great development for Jorgelina and Laura, the underlying aim is to help develop coaching and hockey across the Pan American region. Following this course, both women will be involved in a range of coaching activities, both in Argentina and in neighboring countries.

Jorgelina is heavily involved in hockey development through her work at San Fernando Hockey club, where she coaches several teams, as well as her work as a development officer with the national hockey federation. Laura, who lectures at Rosario University, coaches her students, shows school teachers how to coach hockey and is running a goalkeeping academy. Both women have also coached in developing hockey nations such as Guatemala and Bolivia, and will continue to do so.

“We are developing ourselves as coaches, identifying where we need to improve,” explains Laura, after receiving her FIH Level 3 certificate.

“I just need to speak better English,” laughs Jorgelina in response. “The courses are run in English, which makes it difficult for me sometimes.

“From a coaching perspective, the feedback I give my players needs to make them think more. When I coach, I tend to tell them what to do, but there is no ‘why?’ ‘Why do you make that pass? Why did you make that run?’ Here we are being encouraged to make the players think about the game a lot more.”

“We don’t want players who just work within systems. As coaches, we should aim to make the players think and make their own decision on the pitch,” adds Laura.

The two coaches discuss the merits of the different teams competing in London. “Argentina solve their problems by taking on players and running with the ball,” says Jorgelina.

“Yes, but the USA is very systematic, too much so…” says Laura. “And Australia always attack. They need to learn how to get hold of the ball and play it around. This is what Netherlands do, they play the ball around until they see a gap and then ‘boom.”

“Yes, a combination of styles is the best,” agrees Jorgelina. These are the discussions the coaches have been enjoying over the duration of the course and from the feedback and sheer enthusiasm, it is clear that this is a course that has really given the high performance coaches some ideas and philosophies to take back to their respective countries.

PAHF, with the support of Resinsa- Polytan, paid for the coaches to attend the Hockey Academy course in London, but the pay back is immense as these two inspirational Olympians will use their love of hockey and knowledge of the game to inspire the next generation, not just in Argentina but across the Pan American region.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Tiny Netherlands produces big results in field hockey

Jae C. Hong

In this Aug. 10, 2012, file photo, the Netherlands' players pose with their gold medals after defeating Argentina in a women's field hockey match at the Summer Olympics, in London. The women’s team is seeking its third consecutive Olympic gold medal. The small nation between Belgium and Germany has put up big field hockey results for nearly a century, and the sport holds a significant place in its culture. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

A sea of bright Netherlands orange illuminated a most unlikely place.

Back in 2008, the nation with about 16 million people at the time, in an area roughly half the size of Indiana, played for the Olympic gold medal in women's field hockey. Its opponent was the host nation, China, which boasted a population of about 1.3 billion.

One would never have guessed those numbers, judging by the crowd. It was largely filled with orange, the standout color on the Netherlands' uniforms. The Dutch won, and Beijing seemed more like Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague.

"There was orange everywhere," said Max Caldas, an assistant coach for that team who now is the men's head coach. "We are very proud about our colors and very proud to represent the country."

The small nation between Belgium and Germany has put up big field hockey results for nearly a century, and the sport holds a significant place in its culture. The Oranje men have won two Olympic gold medals and three World Cups. They won their first Olympic medal, a silver, in 1928 in Amsterdam. The women's team is ranked No. 1 in the world and is seeking its third consecutive gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. It has won the World Cup a record seven times, with the first title coming in the inaugural event in 1974. No other nation has won more than twice.

Field hockey trails only soccer in interest in the Netherlands. The nation's hockey federation said some 253,000 people play club hockey there — roughly one in 67 residents.

"They see the national teams playing up close, they can mimic and copy, and you see a huge amount of success from that model," said Craig Parnham, the U.S. women's coach who lived in the Netherlands and speaks Dutch. "Success breeds success."

Several factors have helped the nation overcome its small population.

The Netherlands, among the world's wealthiest nations per capita, has committed significant resources to the advancement of the game, starting at the youth level. Australia men's coach Graham Reid remembers playing in the Netherlands, back when there were about 40 artificial surfaces in the country, a huge number at the time. Now, the nation's hockey federation said the country has 880 artificial surfaces — a massive number for such a small nation, and important because of the way the sport beats up grass fields.

"There's a lot of money in the sport over there, which allows them to develop training programs, to develop things that help develop players and the player base, participation numbers," Reid said.

The way the teams play grab attention, too. Their aggressive style of play influenced the "total football" style the Dutch soccer team used to finish second at the 1974 men's World Cup. In total football, versatile players seamlessly switch positions, allowing the team to maintain its organizational structure.

The nation's men's and women's sides are known for successful penalty corners and well-placed passes. For example, in the 2008 Olympics, Maartje Paumen led the women's tournament with 11 goals, all on penalty corners. No other player scored more than five goals in the tournament.

Reid used "fanatical, almost" to describe the way the nation develops technical skills.

"Dutch hockey are trailblazers in the way they play," said Caldas, who coached the Netherlands women to gold in 2012. "Always had very creative players. We always had a great penalty corners, best in the world for men and the women. That's a part of our DNA."

Four former women's International Hockey Federation (FIH) players of the year — Naomi van As (2009), Paumen (2011, 2012), Ellen Hoog (2014) and Lidewij Welten (2015) — are on the current roster for a nation that has had six different winners. Even with the individual success, the team's rich tradition keeps the stars focused on the big picture.

"Each player has a different ability," Netherlands women's coach Alyson Annan said. "Each player can do something that some girls can't. They learn and identify and share with each other, and when someone is weaker at something than another, they fill the gaps for each other."

On the men's side, Robert van der Horst was the FIH player of the year last year. In the past, Teun de Nooijer won three times and Stephan Veen won twice for the Dutch.

"To have a nation like that produce so many great hockey players is quite phenomenal," Reid said.

The Bristol Herald Courier

USMNT Provide Young Talent with International Experience During Canada Series

WEST VANCOUVER, Canada - The U.S. Men’s National Team contended in their fourth and final series match against the Olympic bound Canadian Men’s National Team. Serving as another opportunity for Team USA to continue to develop, this game’s intent was to build off the three previous pitch performances by developing four-full quarters of play. 

“To have the opportunity to finally get together as a team was great,” said Chris Clements, USMNT Head Coach. “To provide the opportunity to the new players, provided a great stepping stone for their transition towards senior international hockey. For the more experienced players in the group it meat they had different roles to play also during the week. I am pleased with what we gained out of these matches and are better for it. Canada’s program is in a different place right now to us and we will look forward to meeting them again at the Pan Am Cup in 2017, if not before.”

Following a strong start, the USMNT looked to maintain this tempo in the last 15 minutes of the first half. However, a lapse in concentration occurred in USA’s defensive end to take the game to USA 1, Canada 3 where without these lulls, the game could have been held at 1-1. In the third quarter Canada extended their lead by scoring three quick goals. The training week prior and injuries had started to take its toll on USA after 11 months out of competition resulting in a final match report score of USA 1, Canada 7.

Nate O’Lari (Orange, Mass.), entered the game near the end of the third quarter for his first international cap in goal. Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Calif.) led by example as captain playing in his 50th test match.

"The last game was a simulation for the end of a tournament, playing under fatigue and a learning opportunity with that," said Alex Grassi, USMNT athlete (Brookeville, Md.)  "The tour provided us a great chance to develop, we know where we need to improve and will work towards that moving forward. I am proud of the young players stepping up and performing in their first tests with the team, they all contributed in a very positive way. We look forward to working with them in the future."

Country      Minute      Player       Action      Score
CAN     5     Pereira      FG      0-1
USA     12     Khokhar      PC      1-1
CAN     16     Johnston     FG     1-2
CAN     30     Hildreth       FG      1-3
CAN     39     Pereira      FG     1-4
CAN     41     Pereira       FG     1-5
CAN     42     Pereira       FG     1-6
CAN     48      Johnston     PC      1-7

The USMNT competed against Canada less than a month out from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and provided five new players the chance to earn their first senior international experience, including goalkeeper Brandon Karess  (Allentown, Pa.) who also had his first opportunity in this series after earning two caps in 2013. This, as well as where this current group is has meant the USMNT selection pool has gotten bigger. The purpose of providing these chances to the new players in the group a positive set for the program.

“To match Canada through the midfield with the number of opportunities building towards the 25 was pleasing,” said Clements. “We will spend our time developing before World League Round 1, with our ability to be as efficient as what Canada was in the their attacking 25, and as controlled in their defensive 25 to deny us scoring.”

Canada won the first two matches 6-3 and 4-1. In the third game, Canada took the lead on the scoreboard with a 2-6 result.

USFHA media release

PHF seeks time from German Embassy for players’ visa

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has finally sought time from German Embassy to apply for visas for the U-21 national team, scheduled to feature in a four-nation event starting on July 21 in Germany.

“Yes, the members of the nati­onal team along with the team’s officials are going to Islamabad from Lahore in the wee hours of Tuesday to apply for German visa,” head coach Tahir Zaman said.

“Before the Eidul Fitr holidays it did not look possible that the Pakistan squad will go to Germany, as the Embassy did not call the entire squad in a group; instead it called [them] individually on different dates,” Tahir added.

“[In this regard] the PHF, through the federal government, made some efforts and finally got time from the German Embassy.”

Meanwhile, the training camp for the U-21 probables also started at the National Hockey Stadium here on Monday.

All the 31 probables invited for the camp attended the proceedings. The camp is part of Pakistan team’s preparations for the four-nation tournament in Germany, and later for participation in the 2016 Junior World Cup to be held in India in December.


Drastic reduction in MHL

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division will remain a six-horse tournament, but there were drastic reduction of teams in Division One and the women's MHL.

Double champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) will lead the Premier Division cast which will begin on Aug 18. The others in the home-and-away tournament are Kuala Lumpur HC, Sapura, Maybank, Tenaga and UniKL.

The Division one will start on Aug 5, but with reduced numbers.

The men's tournament will only see eight teams, a reduction of five teams from the 13 last season.

The women's tournament will also be halved, as only six teams registered, compared to 11 teams last season.

Division One: Nur Insafi, UiTM, ATM Airod, TNB Thunderbolts, BJSS, SSTMI, Ipoh City Council, Politeknik Malaysia.

Missing from last season: MSNT/PHT, Masum/USM, MSP/YP/SSP,

Women's MHL: Blue Warriors (PDRM), PKS-Uniten-KPT, ATM Pernama,
SSTMI, Politeknik Malaysia, Terengganu HT.

Missing from last season: Penang Juniors, KL Sukma, Manjong, MSN Kedah, SSTMI Thunderbolts, Uitm Lions, The Cops.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

U18 Australian Championships

Adverse weather - matches rescheduled

Lawrence West

Due to severe weather conditions, today’s matches from 11:00am onwards at the Under 18 Australian Championships in Launceston have been postponed until Thursday, which was originally planned as a rest day.

The re-scheduled matches are planned to take place in their original time slot on Thursday (e.g. Tuesday 11:00am QLD 2 vs TAS – rescheduled for Thursday 14 July 11:00am).

For the full schedule and other information on the tournaments click here for U18 men and here for U18 women.

At this stage, Wednesday’s matches will go ahead as planned. Any change to this will be communicated through the Hockey Australia website and Hockey Australia Facebook page.

Hockey Australia media release

Scotland’s U18s in Barcelona

Scottish u18 girls team in Barcelona

Scotland’s U18 boys’ and girls’ teams were in Barcelona over the weekend for warm-up games against Spain ahead of EuroHockey Youth Championship II, held in Glasgow on 24-30 July. Both teams had to cope with searing temperatures against top-class opposition in Spain.

Scotland’s girls’ had a strong opening period in the first match against Spain. The team showed good patience in the press, which led to a Mairi Shaw interception and reverse stick shot from Ella Watt to score. The Scots were up against quality opposition however. Scotland competed well against a dynamic Spanish side who capitalised on some Scottish errors.  The hosts ended up 5-1 victors.

The blistering Barcelona heat made for a tough second meeting between the two. Scottish defensive errors caused some breakaway Spanish goals leaving the hosts 6-0 up at half time. The second half saw good periods of sustained pressure thanks to hard work from Scotland’s press. It was a more disciplined and organised second half by the visitors with strong performances by both Scotland goalkeepers. The word from the Scotland camp was there were lessons learned and many positives to take from this game. 7-0 full time.

The third game produced very tough conditions again with the match being played in 32 degrees heat despite a 10am start. The scots started well and applied pressure effectively. The hosts maintained their impressive close skills and took the lead against the run of play.

Scotland were unable to capitalise on a penalty corner scoring opportunity and two further breakaway plays resulted in clinical strikes from the Spanish forwards. It made a half time score of 3-0. Scotland’s unit play was more structured in the second half, holding the Spanish to only one further goal. The Scots were unable to convert 25 penetrations. The game ended 4-0 to Spain.

Overall the three matches were a tough test for Scotland’s U18s girls, which has provided invaluable experience for the team leading up to the Euros in Glasgow in two week time.

U18 boys lunch

Scotland U18 boys were also taking on Spain in Barcelona as they continued their preparations ahead of the Eurohockey Championships II, with three test games scheduled against their hosts.

The first game of the series, played at the home of Atlètic Terrassa, took place in extremely warm conditions which tested the young Scots from the start. A strong Spanish team took the game to the visitors, pressing hard and it was Spain who proceeded to dominate the first half, going into the break 4-0 up, with Scotland unable to pose much in the way of an attacking threat.

The second half was a different affair. Despite going a further goal behind early on, the Scots rallied, which resulted in a much more even affair. Goalkeeper Sean Mahoney made a good double save from a penalty corner, before Scotland began to create opportunities of their own, with Cameron Golden, Fraser Calder and Barry Platt each having chances to score. In the final few minutes Callum McKenzie earned the Scots a penalty corner and Aidan McQuade's resulting drag flick was saved illegally on the line. McQuade himself dispatched the subsequent penalty flick to bring the Scots on level terms for the half, the game ending 5-1 in favour of Spain.

The improved second half performance should provide a useful platform for Scotland to build on for their remaining two games.

The second meeting between the two also ended 5-1 to Spain, while the third and final game resulted in an unlucky 3-1 loss for the Scots, especially as Scotland were leading 1-0.

Scotland’s U18s will be competing at EuroHockey Youth Championship II at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow on 24.30 July 2016. Advance tickets are available and can be purchased here: /international-events/buy-tickets.aspx

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Francis appointed Hockey NZ chief executive

Photo: www.photosport.nz

Hockey New Zealand today announced the appointment of Ian Francis as its Chief Executive, following six months in the acting role.

Chairman Dean Ellwood said that during his time as Acting Chief Executive, Francis had clearly demonstrated his ability to step into the organisation’s top job.

“Hockey New Zealand’s board has conducted a robust and extensive recruitment process to ensure we have the best person to lead the sport in the implementation of its ambitious 2020 strategy,” Ellwood said.

“We saw some very high-calibre applicants, however Ian’s leadership and achievements in recent months have demonstrated he is the right person, and the Board is confident he will be well supported by the wider hockey and sporting community.”

Francis joined Hockey New Zealand five and a half years ago, and has since played an integral role in driving the sport’s growth, as General Manager Community Sport and Events.

His achievements include a 28% increase in junior hockey participation over the past five years through the introduction of a nationwide Small Sticks programme, and delivery of a number of successful events including the top-tier FIH Owen G Glenn Champions Trophy in 2011.

In his role as Acting Chief Executive, Francis led the completion of Hockey New Zealand’s strategic planning process, culminating in the adoption of an ambitious plan to become the ‘world’s best hockey nation’ by 2020.

Sport New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin said he was very pleased for hockey, as Francis has done a wonderful job growing the game and running international tournaments.

Miskimmin was confident that the sport would be taken forward under Francis’ leadership.

Francis said he was looking forward to guiding the organisation and the sport of hockey into the next stage of its evolution, both in New Zealand and internationally.

“I’m thrilled to have been given the exciting opportunity to lead Hockey New Zealand, and I look forward to the road ahead,” he said.

“We are a very successful sport from grassroots right through to high performance, and we will continue working towards our lofty goal of becoming the world’s best hockey nation.”

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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