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News for 22 February 2017

All the news for Wednesday 22 February 2017

Inclement weather sees final test abandoned

Confederación Argentina de Hockey Sobre Césped y Pista Facebook page

Heavy rain in Buenos Aires has seen the sixth and final test between the Vantage Black Sticks Women and Argentina cancelled.

With the match unable to be rescheduled, the series ends for the Black Sticks with one win, three losses and a draw.

The Kiwis now prepare to head home to New Zealand with the next competition coming at the Vantage Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey from 31 March – 9 April.

The Hawke’s Bay Cup sees the Vantage Black Sticks Women (ranked fifth in the world) go up against Australia (4th), USA (6th) and Japan (11th).

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Carla Rebecchi retires from Las Leonas

Sarah Juggins

Carla Rebecchi. Photo: Confederación Argentina de Hockey Sobre Césped y Pista Facebook page

For people who love watching hockey for the grace, speed and skill of the game, then the presence of Argentina’s Carla Rebecci on the international stage has been an absolute joy over the past 14 years. With more than 220 international caps to her name, Rebecchi has won medals, plaudits, awards and the hearts of thousands of fans with her ability to turn a match, conjour up a goal or simply through her ability to run the emotional gauntlet of victory and loss that is matched by the vociferous and passionate Las Leonas fans.

Often in the shadows of the legendary Luciana Aymar, Rebecchi was no less important to Argentina’s success over the past two decades. Where Aymar was the magician, Rebecci was the spirit. While all eyes would be on Aymar as she turned defences inside out with her mesmerising skills, Rebecci would pop up like a ghost: right time, right place, right result, as the ball flew into the back of the net.

And so, it is sad to hear that Carla Rebecchi will no longer be wearing the iconic blue and white after she has announced her momentous decision to retire from the international side. As the 33-year-old explains, it hasn’t been an easy decision to make and she has wavered back and forth since the Rio Olympics back in August 2016.

“It was something that was in my head last year but after the Olympics I wasn't so sure that retirement was the right thing. The result [Argentina finished seventh] made me want to keep on a little more, but then during the holidays, I thought about it really seriously and made the final decision.”

It is a decision, says Rebecchi, that surprised a lot of people, including her teammates and coaches. “They thought I would play until the 2018 World Cup,” she says, “But I really want to do other things in my life, things I've been postponing for a while.”

This includes finishing her degree in graphic design and setting up a hockey academy and coaching clinic with her husband, the former Argentina superstar Jorge Lombi, who played for Los Leones from 1991 until 2008. It was Lombi who helped Rebecchi make her final decision. “I didn’t really discuss the decision with anyone outside the family. Of course, I talked it through with Jorge, he has been in my place before, so he was able to give me advice based on his own experiences.”

Lombi and Rebecchi also hope to start a family in the not too distant future, and with hockey-playing genes like that, the future looks bright for Argentinian hockey!

For hockey fans in Argentina, there is still a chance to glimpse Rebecchi in action as she plans to continue with her club, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, for a little while yet. But while she is adamant that this is the right decision, there is a hint of sadness as Rebecchi says: “Of course I know I will miss, very much, putting on the Argentinian shirt, but I'm very sure of the decision. Right now I am not concerned that I will miss the thrill of the big occasions, it is too soon for that, but maybe in a while, yes, I that is something I might miss. Of course, I will be able to do all those extreme sports that I love so much but couldn’t do while I was playing hockey!”

Hockey is a sport that has both ecstatic high moments and dark moments of defeat. Rebecchi’s most bitter moment on the pitch was her most recent. “Losing the quarter-finals in Rio, that hurt. It took me a couple of months to get over the sadness of that.” In that match Argentina lost 3-2 to The Netherlands, after finishing a disappointing fourth in the pool matches.

However, Rebecchi’s career has largely been one of joy. Looking back on a career that includes three Olympic Games; three World Cups, including a gold medal in 2010; nine Champion Trophies, that included six golds, two silvers and a bronze, plus a heap of other trophies, is it possible to pick a top moment?

“It has to be when we won the World Cup in Rosario in 2010. It was a great atmosphere and I scored two goals in the final against the Netherlands. (Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1).”

So as Carla Rebecchi retires from the international scene, she offers the following words to all the hockey stars of the future: “I can tell them to enjoy this beautiful game, make friends and train hard.”

Pan American Hockey Federaion media release

Manpreet Singh stars in Ranchi Rays’ 6-2 win against Delhi Waveriders   

New Delhi: Manpreet Singh’s two field goals in the 9th and 32nd minute were the highlights in Ranchi Rays’ 6-2 win against the Delhi Waveriders here in the Coal India Hockey India League.

Ranchi Rays had their task cut out as securing a Semi Final berth would mean they would have to beat the Delhi Waveriders by a margin of eight goals or more. They did get off to a roaring start, vying to fetch that target, with Manpreet Singh not only winning the first PC for Ranchi Rays but also earned their first field goal in the 9th minute. It was Christopher Ruhr’s clever assist that saw Manpreet tap the ball into the goal when they tried a different set piece to take a 2-0 lead. It seemed like the visitors would extend the lead further when Barry Middleton put the ball past Delhi Waveriders’ goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch but the goal was overturned after an umpire referral that went in favour of Delhi Waveriders. The ball, unfortunately, came off the back of the stick when Imran Khan assisted Middleton from within the striking circle. The first quarter continued to be dramatic when Middleton was denied another field goal since the ball, from defender Gurbaj Singh, had already crossed the goal line before Middleton got his stick on it.

The second quarter witnessed entertaining action between the two teams, keeping the packed audience at the Shivaji Stadium on their feet. Both teams traded PCs in this quarter. While the Delhi Waveriders had failed to convert two attempts thus far, the Ranchi Rays tried innovative variations to convert their PCs into a field goal. As per the new rules, one field goal counts as two goals and Ranchi Rays needed them to stay on target. However, both Ashley Jackson and Christopher Ruhr’s attempts didn’t find the net.

Ranchi Rays made an aggressive start soon after the half-time break. Though they weren’t successful at converting a PC they earned in the 31st minute, Manpreet Singh rallied back to score a goal in the 32nd minute, taking their lead to 4-0. The Delhi Waveriders’ defence was further exposed when Ranchi Rays’ Imran Khan put one past Vanasch after a selfless assist by Christopher Ruhr who did well to beat the defender and find Khan. The 37th minute goal helped the Ranchi Rays inch closer to the magical number with a 6-0 lead. But Justin Reid-Ross spoiled the Ranchi Rays’ party when he scored a field goal in the 45th minute. They also won a PC in the dying minute of the third quarter but could not make much of it, ending the quarter with the score reading 6-2 in favour of the visitors.

It was a nail-biting final quarter with Ranchi Rays pressing hard. Goalkeeper Akash Chikte, who replaced Tyler Lovell at the post, was impressive as he denied a field goal for the home team in the 52nd minute. Though the Ranchi Rays played fast-paced final quarter, it did seem like fatigue was catching on and Delhi Waveriders capitalised on it with better ball possesion and circle entries. Though they didn’t convert the chances, they also denied any further lead for the visiting team.

Justin Reid-Ross of Delhi Waveriders was awarded with a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Mr. G.K Vashisht, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Coal India Ltd.

Imran Khan of Ranchi Rays won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Mr. Bengt Zanden, Honorary Member Swedish Hockey Association.

The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Niklas Wellen of Delhi Waveriders that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Mr. Delf Ness, Vice President German Hockey Federation.

Barry Middleton of Ranchi Rays was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr. H.S. Khandari, Director Finance, Wave Group.

Official HIL Site

Ranchi Rays outplay Delhi but not enough

s2h team

Ranchi Rays exhibited a pleasing hockey to outwit the home side Delhi Waveriders for a fluent 6-2 win but that was not enough for them to lift to the semifinal line up. With better goal difference, Delhi made it to the top four.

With today's five points Ranchi has gained 23 points as that of Delhi which could not improve its already gained same points. However, Ranchi needed more goals to get the better off Delhi on goal difference but fell short.

Alert and athletic Manpreet Singh Sr lit the Shivaji Stadium turf on fire, firing two field goals apiece in the 9th minute and 32nd minutes to give the team comfortable lead while in the 37th minute Imran Khan added another two.

undefined Even though the match was evenly played out for better part of the game, it was late int he last moments the home side found the net through Justin Reid-Ross (6-2).

DWR tried their best in the last quarter to add to the score but twice Mandeep Singh and once Talwinder let go easy chances.

Ranchi Rays got so many penalty corners but each time it went for field attempt, thus getting none in the process.

On 22nd February, Uttar Pradesh Wizards will take on Dabang Mumbai at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow at 1900hrs to complete the league phase.


Goal of the Match: Justin Reid-Ross
Young Achiever of the Match: Imran Khan
Most Entertaining Player of the Match: Niklas Wellen
Man of the Match: Barry Middleton


Delhi enter HIL semis despite 2-6 loss to Ranchi

NEW DELHI: Ranchi Rays hammered Delhi Waveriders 6-2 but could not stop the capital outfit from entering the semi-finals of the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) on better goal difference at the Shivaji Stadium here on Tuesday.

Ranchi needed to win by a goal difference of more than eight to book place in the semi-finals ahead of Delhi. The visitors, who had 18 points coming into the match as against Delhi's 23, found their goals from Manpreet Singh (ninth and 32nd minutes) and Imran Khan (37th). Delhi's lone goal was scored by Justin Reid-Ross (45th).

With the win, Ranchi (-1 goal difference) finished their league campaign level with Delhi on 23 points but the latter has a better goal difference that enabled them to reach the knockouts in Chandigarh later in the week.

The win, however, leaves a slender hope for Ranchi as Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who have 23 points from nine games and a goal difference of nine, face table-toppers Dabang Mumbai in Lucknow on Wednesday.

A heavy loss could change the table even though it looks very unlikely. Dabang Mumbai (33 points from nine games) and Kalinga Lancers (28 points from 10 games) had already entered the semi-finals.

Ranchi can take heart from the fact that they finished above the defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the league phase. Punjab are already out of the race for the semi-finals with 22 points.

And on the final day, it needed a top effort from Ranchi to even come close to evading Delhi. They got off to an electrifying start. Right-back Gurbaj Singh provided plenty of pace as he joined in the attack with veteran Englishman Barry Middleton and German Christopher Ruhr.

They made their intentions clear by earning a penalty corner but allowing it to become a field goal opportunity in the eighth minute. Ruhr fired at the right post from the edge of the 'D', and the ball was deflected in by Manpreet to make it 2-0.

The goal boosted the spirit of the visitors and they enjoyed a very good first quarter. Gurbaj-Middleton combined thought to have scored two goals four minutes later but Delhi reviewed and the officials ruled that the ball didn't touch the stick of the Englishman before entering in.

Rays exploited the momentum further and earned two more penalty corners in the third quarter and applied the same tactics of making them field goal opportunities. But the ploy this time didn't work.

In the turnover, Delhi created two half-hearted chances but couldn't find the equaliser.

Ranchi, continued to pile the pressure on Delhi in the third quarter. Manpreet made the most of a defensive lapse to sound the board in the 32nd minute.

And five minutes later, it was 6-0 as Imran finished a clinical cross from right by Ruhr with a back-hander as Ranchi marched ahead in their bid to win by a goal difference of more than eight.

Delhi were desperate to get on the scoresheet by then and Talwinder Singh hit the right post to extend the agony in the 42nd minute.

However, the relief came for Delhi three minutes later when South African Reid-Ross put a faint touch to Rupinder Pal Singh's long ball which went up the air after a touch.

After the goal, Harendra Singh-coached Ranchi threw everything at Delhi. Ranchi replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player but Delhi managed to keep the goal difference to four and reach the semi-finals.

The Times of India

Winners Ranchi Rays out, Delhi Waveriders in semis

A Ranchi Rays player (in yellow) vies for the ball with a Delhi Waveriders (green) player in Tuesday’ Hockey India League match. Ranchi won but were still eliminated while Delhi have qualified for the semis. (HIL Photo)

Bottom-placed Ranchi Rays had nothing to lose in their last preliminary league encounter against Delhi Waveriders on Tuesday. But there was a slight chance of their qualifying for the semifinals of the Hockey India League (HIL), if they won by a margin of eight points or more.

Ranchi Rays, however, fell short of the target as they could only score a 3-1 (6-2 on points) victory. Two points are awarded for each field goal and one for a penalty-corner conversion. Despite winning, Ranchi Rays faced the exit door.

Delhi Waveriders, placed third on the points table with 23 points, are through to the semifinals.

Perhaps, with the aim of making it to the top four, Ranchi Rays went on the attack from the word go. Excellent teamwork helped them earn three goal-scoring opportunities in the first quarter, but they were successful in scoring only in the ninth minute through midfielder Manpreet Singh.

Ranchi Rays continued to raid Delhi Waveriders territory in the second quarter, but narrowly missed the target. They were awarded three penalty corners, but failed in all attempts.

Waveriders backpedal

Ranchi Rays’ strategy to unsettle Delhi Waveriders seemed to be working throughout the contest. It kept the Waveriders defenders on their toes with defender Rupinder Pal Singh, the skipper, having to work overtime to keep the rival forwards at bay.

Ranchi Rays’ second goal came in the third quarter, with Manpreet Singh scoring a field goal in the 32nd minute, while Imran Khan took the tally to three in the 37th minute.

The match reached its climax in the last quarter with Delhi Waveriders going all out to save the day. One more successful attempt by Ranchi Rays could have spoiled their semifinal party. With renewed energy, the hosts went for the attack. And in the 45th minute, Justin Reid Ross scored a field goal to give respite to his team.

Thereafter, despite having an upper hand, Waveriders continued to miss. Mandeep Singh’s shot went wide while Talwinder Singh’s close-range shot was padded off by goalkeeper Tyler Lovell.

On Wednesday, the last league match between Uttar Pradesh Wizards and table-toppers Dabang Mumbai, will be played in Lucknow. Both teams have already made it to the semifinals. Kalinga Lancers is the fourth team in the semis.

Hindustan Times

HIL 2017 Points Table - 21 February

    Matches Goals  
Rank Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Diff Points
1 Dabang Mumbai 9 6 1 2 36 28 8 33
2 Kalinga Lancers 10 5 1 4 32 40 -8 28
3 Uttar Pradesh Wizards 9 3 3 3 27 18 9 23
4 Delhi Waveriders 10 3 2 5 29 23 6 23
5 Ranchi Rays 10 3 3 4 25 26 -1 23
6 Jaypee Punjab Warriors 10 4 0 6 25 39 -14 22

Official HIL Site

Alan Forsyth scores four

By Mike Haymonds

SCOT Alan Forsyth is determined to put behind him the disappointment of not making selection for the Rio Olympics.

Forsyth, 24, was the leading Premier scorer last season but was omitted from the Great Britain squad in Rio. However, his continued scoring prowess has earned him a place in the GB centralised training squad for the new Olympic cycle leading up to Tokyo 2020.

His four goals for Surbiton in two Premier League games at the weekend helped his side to climb into second place, seven points behind unbeaten leaders Wimbledon and consolidated him as top scorer with 19 field goals, five ahead of Rio Olympian Mark Gleghorne.

Forsyth scored in a 3-1 home win against Holcombe on Saturday and bagged a hat-trick in a 4-4 draw with Canterbury 24 hours later.

Daily Express

Simon Orchard: It’s time umpires learnt the game

Wave away the protests: South African players gather round to contest the umpire’s decision

“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, they just don’t know the game”, the great Bill Shankly once said. I have to say I agree with the former Scottish footballer and ex-Liverpool manager wholeheartedly.

Many top whistle-blowers have a general understanding of the rules of hockey. However, a large number of them severely lack the ability to consistently apply, enforce or define them in the pressure-cooker environment that can be elite sport.

‘But without referees, we wouldn’t have ourselves a game’, I hear many say. What a cop out.

That’s just a common cliché that oh too often absolves officials of having to provide an acceptable performance.

Don’t see this piece as misguided frustration at officials, rather a plea for increased standards of officialdom across our sport. Because at the risk of sounding rather exaggerated, umpires have been the bane of my existence as a hockey player.

My weakness. My Achilles heel. My kryptonite. The only real variable that has consistently, and at times severely, distracted me from my hockey career.

Today, I will attempt to dissect the most unrewarding role in sport, from a perspective that frequently places me in the official’s crosshairs.

It’s no secret I constantly find myself in strife with the powers that rule our game, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but don’t be fooled. I have a certain sense of disdain for many umpires, and here’s why:

1) Lack of accountability

What happens after each match? Review meetings? Do they watch video of controversial decisions? Are umpires presented with feedback reports?

Other sports constantly review their officials, assessing them on things like decision-making, management of players, general skill, communication, and how well they help their co-umpire.

My reasons for this train of thought are usually centered on garnering the clarity and accountability that players, coaches and spectators crave and deserve.

2) Poor communication skills

The worst officials can’t engage with players in the right manner, some can’t engage at all. Walking onto the field with a whistle doesn’t put you on a pedestal where you are immune from acknowledging those around you in a courteous manner.

In my opinion, you earn respect with how you treat and speak to the players before, during and after the match. Poor umpires will meet any questions during the match with a figurative brick wall of dialogue.

It’s amazing how much back and forth happens in sport around the world between players and officials, which naturally helps to build rapport. Not in our world, the precious umpires of the hockey scene can’t and won’t tolerate much discussion at all.

3) Remove the emotion and lose the ego

The biggest predicament that I believe umpires must overcome is how to remove the emotion that comes with refereeing.

I always believe high-level players make the best umpires. They understand the game; they have a great knowledge of the rules and of how to implement them; they have dealt with the pressures associated with top-flight hockey, but most importantly, they know it feels to be playing at that level.

The pressure. The stakes. The potential importance of each and every decision.

The worst referees don’t understand this and tend to escalate situations, instead of defusing them. They referee with a chip on their shoulder and almost go looking for retribution, any chance to stamp their authority on a troublesome player. A big no no if you wish to maintain the status quo with both teams.

Make a mistake, and get chastised from pillar to post, pinned to the wall by pundits and players until your next match. Make no mistakes and just disappear into the background.

The best umpires will help to raise the standard of the game, thus increasing the enjoyment for players and spectators.

This can easily be achieved if umpires do four simple things: stay accountable; communicate well; keep your emotions in check; and learn the game.

This column originally appeared in The Hockey Paper on Wednesday 15th February. Subscribe to The Hockey Paper here.

The Hockey Paper

UniKL must play smart to stand a chance against Terengganu

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) know they will have to play smart if they hope to outwit defending champions Terengganu in the TNB Cup semi-final, first-leg tie at the Tun Razak Stadium today.

The varsity side are aware that it will be suicidal to play an open game against the formidable east coast team.

After all, UniKL failed to get the better of Terengganu in the two preliminary round matches in the Premier Division. Terengganu won the first clash 3-0 and the teams drew the second one 2-2.

“We must make sure that we are still in the running for the final at the end of the first leg,” said UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj.

“That means we cannot allow them to dominate and win the match comfortably. The longer the match is goalless, the better our chances to create an upset.

“The semi-final is over two legs, so I want to remind my players that it’s only 60 minutes tomorrow (today) ... there’s another 60 minutes to play on Friday.”

This is the first time that UniKL have qualified for the semi-finals since making their MHL debut in 2010.

Arulselvaraj is also hoping that players like Thomas Santiago, Mohd Marhan Jalil, Baljit Singh Charun, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohammad Tousiq, Aleem Bilal, Ignacio Salas and Lachlan Stock will stand up and be counted.

Terengganu, meanwhile, are more concerned with the injuries to three of their key players – midfielder Pablo Javier Trevisan of Argentina, defender Ammad Shakeer Butt of Pakistan and Malaysian forward Faizal Saari.

“Trevisan won’t be able to play tomorrow (today) as he injured his right index finger against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) on Sunday,” said coach Sarjit Singh.

“Ammad is still nursing a right fractured thumb while Faizal has yet to recover from his hamstring injury.

“I have to make changes to the team and I expect a strong challenge from UniKL, who have improved a lot.

“The matches are getting tougher for us in the MHL. Having failed to defend the Premier Division title, it will be a huge challenge for us to retain the overall crown as well.

KLHC edged Terengganu 3-2 in the last Premier Division match on Sunday to win the title.

The Star of Malaysia

Quartet to vie for top flight hockey slot


Bay Club players after their Kenya Hockey Union Men's National League match against JKUAT at City Park Stadium on January 30, 2016. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Four clubs will this weekend face off for a chance to play in this season’s Kenya Hockey Union Men’s Premier League.

Western Jaguars and Bay Club, who were relegated from the top flight last season as well as Coastal-based Mvita, who were relegated in 2015 and second tier side Multimedia University will battle in the round robin competition.

The weekend winner will replace Wazalendo Youth in the 2017 top flight season set to be begin early March. Wazalendo Youth, who finished second in the men’s National League behind Technical University of Kenya (TUK), declined promotion to remain in the lower tier.

Western Jaguars will be looking to put last year’s dismal performance behind them and reclaim their spot in the top league. Jaguars coach Michael Malungu has challenged his charges to seize the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ and get back to playing with the big boys.

“This is a glorious chance and we have got to show that we deserve it by playing like we have never done. Last season, we were not very consistent especially away home and also paid the price for not taking our chances. We intend to correct those mistakes this weekend,” Malungu told Nation Sport on Tuesday.

Jaguars have faced Bay Club and Mvita before but have never played Multimedia and Malungu believes the students should not be underestimated.

“It will be at tough battle because only one spot is available and all teams want it. Multimedia will be the team to watch out for because no one knows how they play,” he added.

His Bay Club counterpart Jared Rioba is however wary of Jaguars, whom he singled out as his team’s main threat to the sole ticket.

“I don’t mean to disrespect the other teams (Mvita and Multimedia University) but the battle is between us and Jaguars. We know each other very well and it promises to be a real fight to get back up,” Rioba said.

Kisumu outfit Bay earned their first premier promotion after finishing second in the 2013 second tier division behind winners Nakuru Hockey Club. However, their stay in the top tier was short-lived as they were relegated in 2014.

They again found their way to the top-flight in 2015 finishing second to Chase Sailors but found the going tough last season finishing bottom of their pool.

Multimedia were placed third in the 2016 men’s National League and will be out to seal their maiden appearance in the top league.

Mvita were relegated in 2015 but did not participate in the 2016 league owing to financial constraints.

Daily Nation

Abhijit Sarkar named vice president of Asian Hockey Federation

NEW DELHI: Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on Tuesday appointed Abhijit Sarkar as it's new vice chairman and also the chief of AHF commercial and TV committee.

Sarkar, who has been associated with the Sahara India Pariwar since 2004, was appointed on the basis of an executive board meeting held on February 7.

Sarkar had led the group in promoting various sports in India by sponsoring both the Indian National Cricket Team as well as the Indian National Hockey Team.

"I am deeply honoured to be selected for this position at the Asian Hockey Federation. Over the years with my deep involvement in the development of the sport, I am keen to support all Asian hockey playing countries to achieve better success and make a mark in the world of hockey," Sarkar said.

Sarkar has served as the Head of Corporate Communications, Corporate Affairs and Relations, and the Sports Division at Sahara India Pariwar. His ability to form and execute strategies relating to the promotion of sports in India has played a major role in his appointment as the Vice President of AHF.

Sarkar has also been deeply involved in the development of Indian hockey in recent times, as under his leadership Sahara India bought the Uttar Pradesh Wizards' franchise in the Coal India Hockey India League.

Earlier this year, Sahara had also renewed its sponsorship with Hockey India until 2021 which includes promoting both the men's and women's senior and junior teams.

Speaking on the occasion, Mariamma Koshy, President, Hockey India said, "I would like to congratulate Mr. Abhijit Sarkar for his well-deserved appointment as Vice President of the Asian Hockey Federation.

"I believe that it is a strong decision of the AHF as Mr. Sarkar's dedication and contribution to the sport has been immense. I am sure under his able leadership and with his rich experience, the Asian Hockey Federation will be able to achieve much success."

The Times of India

Cam Vale steps down as Hockey Australia Chief Executive Effective March 3

Holly MacNeil

Melbourne, Australia – Hockey Australia has announced the resignation of its Chief Executive, Cam Vale.

Vale, who joined hockey’s national governing body in August 2013, informed HA president Melanie Woosnam of his decision on Friday.

It is intended Vale will finish with the organisation on Friday 3 March with General Manager of Hockey Ben Hartung then assuming the role of interim Chief Executive. Hartung, a non-executive director of Vicsport and VicHealth, joined Hockey Australia in July 2014 having previously served as Chief Executive of Hockey Victoria between April 2008 and May 2014. 

Melanie Woosnam, president of the Hockey Australia board, said, “The board respects and understands Cam’s decision and would like to take this opportunity to thank Cam for all his efforts over the past three and half years. We would also like to reassure our athletes, fans and all of our key stakeholders that it’s business as usual as far as the sport of hockey is concerned.

“Whilst Hockey Australia has experienced some challenges during the past six months, we must also celebrate our achievements. As a sport we are now well placed to start a new Olympic cycle and continue the work Cam has begun and look forward to the opportunity this change presents for our sport. We wish Cam and his family all the very best for the future.”

Cam Vale said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in hockey and leave a better CEO from my experiences, which is in large part because of the staff, directors, athletes and stakeholders that have supported me during my time as CEO, who I thank for their support.

“The sport of hockey is well placed for the next step in growth off the pitch and success on the pitch, and I look forward to seeing this as a converted ‘hockey tragic’.”

The recruitment process for Vale’s successor will begin immediately.

Why Hockey Australia is well positioned for Tokyo 2020 and beyond:

• First-of-their-kind MOU agreements with the hockey associations in India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan, USA and Singapore; and Oceania Hockey Federation
• Commercial revenue growth from $4.2m to $6.14m, reduced reliance on federal government funding and four consecutive financial years of profit
• Major events partnerships with state governments around the country
• The creation of new international content in Australia including the International Festival of Hockey and the Darwin International Hockey Open
• Consolidation and commercialisation of Australian Championships
• Implementation of a review of the Australian Hockey League to create a new drawcard hockey league
• Improved stakeholder relations with state & territory hockey associations
• Medal finishes at six of eight benchmark events including men’s gold and women’s silver at the 2014 World Cup

Hockey Australia media release

Obituary: Lt Cdr Alan Walker

Lt Cdr Alan Walker who dedicated his life to the sport of hockey sadly passed away on Friday 17th February after a short battle with cancer.

Alan joined the Royal Navy in Jan 1960 as an Artificer Apprentice. This was where his passion for the sport of Hockey began and he soon picked up his Colours for representing the RN and UK Armed Forces. He made over 100 appearances for the RN between 1968-1985.

Alan gained his HA Coach qualification in 1970 and the Senior Coach award in 1978 and was present at the inception of the present day coach education programme in 1971

1986 was an eventful year for Alan, he left the RN and took up the role of RN Hockey & Swimming Secretary as a retired officer at HMS Temeraire, keeping his rank of Lt Cdr. Also in this year Alan was the England team’s ‘video man’ at the Hockey World Cup at Willesden where they won silver. Post tournament Alan was invited to take up the role of HA Staff Coach. On leaving the RN Alan had to take his daughters to a new club, Havant HC where he was soon to be invited to be their club coach. He continued in this post for most of the 90’s, with Havant going from strength to strength becoming England’s top club, qualifying several times for European competition.

In 1992 Alan was asked to take on the Role of England U21 Mens Manager a role he accepted with great pride. During his reign as manager from 1992-94 he oversaw 61 matches including the 1993 Junior World Cup in Spain. it would have been 8 more if the team hadn’t had to leave the Indira Ghandi Memorial Tournament in Mumbai in March 93 after a bomb was detonated near to where the team were staying. Alan managed the evacuation with typical calm efficiency.

In 1990 as part of the Notts Sport scheme Alan was at the forefront of resurrecting Gosport HC and by 1996 they were making their mark as an outstanding example of both adult and junior Hockey, by 1998 their U9’s were national champions (they completed the task again in 2001 as U13’s) and the boys won the Millennium Youth Games in successive years as well as regularly appearing in Hampshire Outdoor Finals.

In 1997 on the formation of the new joint English Hockey Association, Alan had the honour of being the first Chairman of the National Coaching Committee, attending the FIH Coaching Conference in 1997 and then staffing the EHA Level 4 Course with Mike Hamilton and Malcolm Wood.

During all this time Alan continued his role as the Chief Coach of the Royal Navy and UK Armed Forces who were regularly producing players who gained international caps. His dedication to grass roots hockey within the RN in particular has made it one of the most popular sports in the RN. He managed the CSHA on their tour to Canada in 1988 and oversaw the RN’s first Inter-Service win for 24 years in 2004, which they repeated in 2005, and went on their most successful run in Inter-Service history until his retirement in 2010.  No-one knows exactly how many coaches Alan qualified in his time as a coach educator, it will be way above 500 mark and some say it may even be in the thousands, but safe to say his legacy is being carried out on hockey pitches all around the UK.

Alan continued his work on retirement as a Vice President to the RN, UK Armed Forces, Gosport and Nordics’ Hockey Club as well as being a patron to the Hockey Museum, in his final days he was still organising the inaugural fixture for Nordics Ladies which took place on the Sunday after his death.

Alan was truly Mr Hockey, especially in the Royal Navy, an absolute gentleman who always had time for everybody and couldn’t do enough for his friends and co-workers; he will be sadly missed by all.

England Hockey Board Media release

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