All the news for Thursday 23 February 2017
Home team Uttar Pradesh Wizards hold Dabang Mumbai in a 4-4 draw
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Wizards make it to the Semi Finals of the Coal India Hockey India League after a sensational 4-4 draw with Dabang Mumbai. It was Ajay Yadav (12’) and Ramandeep Singh (17’) who scored for the home team while Gurjant Singh (13’) and Manpreet (19’) ensured Dabang Mumbai split the points. Uttar Pradesh Wizards will now play against Kalinga Lancers and Dabang Mumbai will take on Delhi Waveriders in the Semi Finals on Saturday.
It was total entertainment with the two teams matching each other’s game, keeping the spectators at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium riveted from hooter to hooter. First, it was Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ Ajay Yadav, to fetch a 2-0 lead for the home team in the 12th minute. He was assisted by the experienced VR Raghunath who did well to find Yadav. The youngster was impeccable with a powerful shot that beat Dabang Mumbai’s experienced goalkeeper David Harte. Dabang Mumbai, made up almost immediately, when Gurjant Singh popular for his back hander struck in the 13th minute to equalise. It was his teammate Manpreet from the Junior World Cup winning team who did extremely well to dribble past Raghunath and Gonzalo Peillat in the circle to find Gurjant who simply had to tap the ball into the post.
It continued to be an open game in the second quarter too with both teams improvising their performance. Home team’s forward Ramandeep Singh showed class with a brilliant back hander to score in the 17th minute and give his team a 4-2 lead. He was remarkable to beat two defenders after a perfect assist by his skipper Raghunath that sent the home crowd roaring in joy. However, the lead lasted only two minutes as Dabang Mumbai’s Manpreet equalized in the 19th minute.
At the end of the third quarter, the score continued to read 4-4. Though Uttar Pradesh Wizards dominated the quarter with the ball possession, they couldn’t quite make much of it as some of their ambitious attempts at scoring a goal was promptly denied by Dabang Mumbai’s defence.
Krishan B Pathak, who replaced keeper David Harte in the final 15 minutes, starred for Dabang Mumbai with a great save in the 56th minute. It was Agustin Mazzilli who set up a counter attack, feeding the ball to Wouter Jolie who then found Akashdeep Singh but the forward’s attempt was padded away by an alert Pathak. Uttar Pradesh Wizards won the match’s first PC with only six seconds left for the final hooter. It was Mazzilli who fetched the PC but his Argentine teammate Peillat failed to convert as his flick went far and wide, thus ending the match in a 4-4 draw.
Ajay Yadav of Uttar Pradesh Wizards was awarded with a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Mr. Deepak Mangal, Regional Sales Manager, Coal India Limited.
Manpreet of Dabang Mumbai won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Mr. Dhanraj Pillai, Olympian.
The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Agustin Mazzilli of Uttar Pradesh Wizards that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Dr. Anita Bhatnagar Jain, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Uttar Pradesh.
Ajay Yadav of Uttar Pradesh Wizards was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr. Abhijit Sarkar, Director, Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
On 23rd & 24th February will be rest days. The Semi Finals will be held on 25 February in Chandigarh Hockey Stadium in Sector 42.
Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 2 & HD 2 and Star Sports 3 & HD 3 and live streamed on Hotstar.com
Official HIL site
Semifinal line up drawn
Last match of the league phase of Hockey India League 2017 between Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Dabang Mumbai produced an exciting first half in which four field goals were struck, but meandered to barren second half, giving out 4-4 draw at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow.
As if they are playing in the repeat Junior World Cup that was held in the same stadium a month ago, three of the four goals today were struck by Junior World Cup goldies Gurjant Singh (13th min) and Manpreet Singh Jr (19th Min) for the visiting Mumbai side while Lucknow lad Ajay Yadav (12th min) struck. The other goal was scored by Ramandeep Singh (17th Min). The last of the HIL 2017's league phase produced some sparks in the first half, which saw no penalty corner being produced till six seconds left for the hooter.
However, the hosts missed out both the PCs, Gonzalo Peillat, top scorer of the Rio through PCs, flicked to the right of right post.
Umpire from Argentina Servatto whistled for hooter even before the elaborate first PC process was finished, and went for a self referral, leading to Gonzalo Peillat's flopped attempt in the resultant second PC.
The match had only academic interest, as four teams have booked their semifinal slot after Ranchi Rays failed to click for bigger score than it ultimately managed, yesterday.
Interestingly, three of the four teams that have made it to the this years' semifinal, are yet to win the title. Whereas twice winners Ranchi Rays and defending champions Punjab Warriors bowed out of the semifinal race.
Semi-Finals 1 & 2 on 25th February 2017
SF 1 - Kalinga Lancers Vs Uttar Pradesh Wizards at 16:50hrs
SF 2 - Dabang Mumbai Vs Delhi Waveriders at 19:20hrs
3/4th Place Playoff & Finals on 26th February 2017
Loser 31 Vs Loser 32 at 16.50hrs
Winner 31 Vs Winner 32 at 19.20hrs
Uttar Pradesh Wizards make it to the last four
Final league match ends in 4-4 draw
Uttar Pradesh Wizards confirmed its place as the last team in the semifinals of the fifth Hockey India League (HIL) after finishing with a 4-4 draw against table-topper Dabang Mumbai in its and the season’s last league match here on Wednesday.
The result put UPW third on the table, level on points with Delhi Waveriders but ahead on goal difference, and it would take on last year’s runner-up Kalinga Lancers in the semifinals. Mumbai will play Delhi in the other semifinal on Saturday.
UPW had to lose by a margin of 10 goals or more for Ranchi Rays, the third team on 23 points, to have any hope of advancing but once it was clear that was not to be, both teams seemed to be content trying out their personnel and variations instead of going for a victory.
Repeated shots at the goal in the 11th minute from UPW’s Ramandeep and Yadav saw the latter get one in from an acute angle after being put through by Raghunath.
UPW again went ahead in the 17th minute when Ramandeep, getting the ball from Raghunath, slapped a backhand shot in.
Mumbai, though, did not sit back, content to finish on top of the table. Jay Stacy’s team built its chances around counters and came back with a leveller within two minutes on both occasions.
While Gurjant Singh took advantage of an out-of-position P.R. Sreejesh in the 13th minute, Manpreet Singh made use of a wrong-footed, unsighted Sreejesh to score in the 19th.
The result: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4 (Ajay Yadav 2 FG, Ramandeep Singh 2 FG) drew with Dabang Mumbai 4 (Gurjant Singh 2 FG, Manpreet Singh 2 FG).
Uttar Pradesh Wizards in semis after thrilling draw
Action during the Hockey India League match between Uttar Pradesh Warriors and Dabang Mumbai in Lucknow on Wednesday. (HIL)
Uttar Pradesh Wizards made it to the semifinals of the Hockey India League for the fourth time, playing a 4-4 draw with table-toppers Dabang Mumbai here on Wednesday.
The sharing of points helped the Wizards finish third in the six-team league with 25 points, while Mumbai finished at the top with 35 points. In the semifinals on Saturday at Chandigarh, the Wizards will play Kalinga Lancers, while Mumbai will lock horns with Delhi Waveriders. The final is slated for Sunday.
The semifinal line-up was decided even before the start of the match as two-time former champions Ranchi Rays were already out of contention for a last-four berth, despite winning 6-2 against Delhi Waveriders in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Ajay Yadav and Ramandeep Singh scored the two field goals (a field goal is counted as two) for the Wizards, while Gurjant Singh and Manpreet struck back for Mumbai, also through field goals. All the goals were scored in the first two quarters.
Playing before a modest crowd, VR Raghunath-led Wizards kept the momentum going from the first minute and dominated the proceedings. After losing to Mumbai at Mumbai almost a month back, the Wizards wanted to teach a lesson to their rivals, who were aiming for their fourth successive win in the league phase.
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After some quick exchange of passes in the first few minutes, both sides raised their attacks, but it was the Wizards who took the lead, surprising the fast-moving Mumbai side. Playing a role of a perfect feeder, Raghunath put the ball rolling for India under-17 Asia Cup-winning captain Ajay Yadav, who made no mistake in sounding the board with a powerful hit from the right flank in the 12th minute (2-0).
The joy was short-lived as Gurjant Singh struck the leveller in the very next minute. After stopping a perfect pass from Manpreet inside the penalty circle, junior World Cup-winning team member Gurjant shot the ball home (2-2).
An equaliser further raised the attacks of both the teams even in the second quarter, and this time Ramandeep Singh pushed the side into lead. The experienced Ramandeep didn’t allow Mumbai’s custodian David Harte even think for a while, displaying the art of a perfect reverse hit in the 17th minute (4-2).
Again it was Raghunath, who fed the ball to Ramadeep Singh. But it remained the same old story as within minutes Manpreet restored parity for Mumbai after his hit deflected from Ramandeep’s stick before dodging past keeper PR Sreejesh in the 19th minute (4-4).
Wizards book SF berth
LUCKNOW: UP Wizards held table toppers Dabang Mumbai to confirm their place in the semifinals of the Hockey India League at Major Dhyan Chand stadium on Wednesday.
Thanks to the two points gained by the 4-4 draw, Wizards finished with 25 points to finish third. Mumbai finished on top with 35 points, while Kalinga Lancers took the second spot with 28 points. Delhi Waveriders are the fourth semifinalist with 23 points. Ranchi Rays and Punjab Warriors were the two teams to be knocked out of the tournament.
Rays could have made it had the Wizards lost by a margin of 11 or more goals. But that didn't happen as the two sides came up with some fast and free-flowing hockey on a windy evening. Both the sides loo ked to go for the kill from the start instead of playing the waiting game, which has been the style so far for both the teams.
Having more of the ball possession, Wizards took the lead in the 12th minute as Ajay Yadav latched on to a through pass from skipper VR Raghunath and essayed a rasping low drive to David Harte's right. But Gurjant Singh equalized for Mumbai a minute later. That goal was set up by Manpreet who weaved his way into the circle and minused the ball to Gurjant, who trapped the ball home past PR Sreejesh.
The home side again forged ahead in the 17th minute. This time again it was a feed by Raghunath, and Ramanadeep Singh capitalized with a scorching reverse hit after dodging past two defenders.
Again the lead was short-lived as Mumbai drew parity two minutes later. This time the home side was a bit unlucky as Manpreet didn't time his shot well from the top of the circle, but an unsighted Srejeesh failed to stop it from sounding the boards.
Since all the goals were off field efforts they were counted for two, according to the HIL rules.
The Times of India
UP Wizards in semis along with Mumbai, Delhi and Kalinga Lancers
LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Wizards made it to the semi-finals of Hockey India League after an exciting 4-4 draw with Dabang Mumbai. Uttar Pradesh Wizards will take on Kalinga Lancers while Dabang Mumbai face Delhi Waveriders in the two semi-finals slated on Saturday.
It was Ajay Yadav (12th min) and Ramandeep Singh (17th min) who scored field goals for the home team while Gurjant Singh (13th min) and Manpreet Singh (19th min) restored parity.
It was total entertainment with the two teams matching each other's game, keeping the spectators at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium riveted from hooter to hooter.
First, it was Wizards' Ajay Yadav, to fetch a 2-0 lead for the home team in the 12th minute. He was assisted by the experienced VR Raghunath who did well to find Yadav.
The youngster was impeccable with a powerful shot that beat Dabang Mumbai's experienced goalkeeper David Harte. Dabang Mumbai, made up almost immediately, when Gurjant Singh popular for his back hander struck in the 13th minute to equalise.
It was his teammate Manpreet Singh from the Junior World Cup winning team who did extremely well to dribble past Raghunath and Gonzalo Peillat in the circle to find Gurjant who simply had to tap the ball into the post.
It continued to be an open game in the second quarter too with both teams improvising their performance. Home team's forward Ramandeep Singh showed class with a brilliant back hander to score in the 17th minute and give his team a 4-2 lead.
He was remarkable to beat two defenders after a perfect assist by his skipper Raghunath that sent the home crowd roaring in joy. However, the lead lasted only two minutes as Dabang Mumbai's Manpreet equalized in the 19th minute.
At the end of the third quarter, the score continued to read 4-4. Though Uttar Pradesh Wizards dominated the quarter with the ball possession, they couldn't quite make much of it as some of their ambitious attempts at scoring a goal was promptly denied by Dabang Mumbai's defence.
The Times of India
Final Points Table HIL 2017
|3||Uttar Pradesh Wizards||10||3||4||3||31||22||9||25|
|6||Jaypee Punjab Warriors||10||4||0||6||25||39||-14||22|
2017 HIL Semifinalists: Head to head
B.G.Joshi (Sehore-Bhopal, India)
Medalists in all four previous seasons of HIL, Delhi Waveriders have an edge over debutant SF Dabang Mumbai. Since inception (2013) ten matches had played between these two teams and Delhi has grabbed 7. UP Wizards also won 6 out of 8 against Kalinga Lancers in HIL history. Summary as below:
Delhi Waveriders vs. Dabang Mumbai
UP Wizards vs. Kalinga Lancers
The late, late show
by Aftar Singh
Stick action: KLHC’s Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim (second from right) vying with TNB’s Norhizzat Sumantri during the TNB Cup semi-final first-leg match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof scored 18 seconds from the final hooter to steer newly-crowned Premier Division champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) to a 1-0 win over Tenaga Nasional in the first leg of the TNB Cup semi-finals.
From a through pass by Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Syamim ran through to connect the ball past veteran goalkeeper S. Kumar at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
Despite fielding an all-local side, Tenaga gave KLHC a torrid time. They earned five penalty corners but, unfortunately, muffed them all.
KLHC team manager Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar conceded they were lucky to grab a one-goal advantage.
“Tenaga gave us a tough fight. We were lucky to score a late, late goal. The one-goal cushion is not safe for us as anything can happen in the return leg on Friday,” said Ahmad.
Tenaga coach Mohd Amin Rahim praised his players for putting up a good performance.
“We were just unlucky not to score. We hope to come back stronger in the return leg,” said Amin.
Defending champions Terengganu also had to score a late goal to salvage a 4-4 draw against Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
South Korean Jang Jong-hyun saved the east coast side’s blushes by scoring a penalty corner in the 60th minute.
Earlier, S. Selvaraju gave UniKL the lead in the 14th minute from an acute angle.
But their joy was short-lived as Terengganu equalised the next minute when B. Namasivayam tapped the ball past goalkeeper Thomas Santiago.
Jong-hyun then gave Terengganu the lead for the first time off a penalty corner in the 17th minute.
But UniKL stormed back to score two goals in two minutes in the third quarter.
Muhammad Aleem Bilal netted off a low penalty corner drag flick in the 33rd minute. Mohd Ashran Hamsani then scored a field goal to make it 3-2.
Terengganu again managed to equalise in the 36th minute through Mohd Fitri Saari.
In the 45th minute, UniKL were awarded a penalty stroke when goalkeeper Muhd Hafizuddin Othman brought down Faridzul Afiq in the semi-circle. Najmi Farizal Jazlan converted to put UniKL ahead again.
But with seconds to go, UniKL paid dearly for conceding a penalty corner. And the ever-reliable Jong-hyun took the chance to grab the equaliser.
The Star of Malaysia
Xavi on the treble for Polo on Spanish return
Xavi Lleonart netted three times as Real Club de Polo returned to Spanish league action with an impressive 8-2 win over FC Barcelona last Sunday.
Polo raced into a six goal lead with Lucas Vila breaking the deadlock just five minutes into the tie before Javier Cabot and Alvaro Turull made it 3-0. Lleonart got the next three before Barcelona rallied but further goals from David Alegre and Pedro Ibarra completed the rout.
The victory saw them extend their lead at the top of the table out to five points as Atletic Terrassa drew 1-1 on home turf against Junior FC. Marc Salle put Atleti in front but a third quarter goal from Javier Garcia meant a share of the spoils.
Club Egara beat CD Terrassa 4-1 thanks to two goals from Pau Quemada while Club de Campo won at Taburiente 2-0 to maintain their playoff hopes.
Euro Hockey League media release
Player, Goalkeeper, Rising Star, Coach and Umpire Awards announced at Hockey Stars 2016 Awards
Chandigarh, India: The male and female Player, Goalkeeper, Rising Star and Coach of the Year Awards were presented to the winners in a star-studded Hockey Stars 2016 Awards ceremony in Chandigarh, India earlier today.
Olympic silver medallists - Belgium’s John-John Dohmen, and retiring Netherlands star Naomi Van As, were named the respective male and female Players of the Year for 2016.
After receiving a number of noteworthy awards since her Rio 2016 success, Great Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Maddie Hinch admitted winning the Hockey Stars 2016 female Goalkeeper of the Year was the pinnacle. Ireland’s David Harte meanwhile was crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row as he received the male Goalkeeper of the Year.
Belgium men’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games medal success was a big factor in the nation’s athletes picking up two awards, with Dohmen’s compatriot Arthur Van Doren being named male Rising Star of the Year (aged 23 years and under). Maria Granatto from Argentina picked up female Rising Star of the Year after a hugely successful period which saw her team win the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophy, where she won Best Junior Player, as well as being crowned Hockey Junior World Cup champions in November.
The coaching team who guided Great Britain’s women to their first ever Olympic gold medal were also recognised as Danny Kerry and Karen Brown picked up male and female Coach of the Year respectively, Brown for the second consecutive year. These are the latest significant awards presented to the British hockey team following their success in Brazil.
Meanwhile, Umpiring Awards were also presented to two of the world’s leading officials. Christian Blasch from Germany was recognised by the FIH Umpiring Committee for his exceptional performances and being a role model to his colleagues and younger officials coming through. The youngest official to take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games hockey competitions, Laurine Delforge, from Belgium, was chosen as the women’s Umpire of the Year on the back of her outstanding commitment, development and being an excellent example to her female peers in terms of preparation and performance. She was also recognised as being a role model to the next generation of young officials coming into the game.
Winners were presented with their awards at a glittering ceremony at the five star Lalit Hotel. It is the first ceremony of its kind to recognise those who have made such a significant contribution to the sport. With a huge media presence, live streaming and updates throughout via FIH channels, the event was hailed as an important step to growing the global profile of hockey’s superstars.
Speaking about this event, FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra said: “Sincere congratulations to all of the award winners today. I’m delighted that this stunning event has given them the global recognition that they deserve. Their performances and achievements in 2016 have inspired the next generation in their respective fields and they should all be very proud of their success.”
FIH CEO Jason McCracken added: “What a fantastic celebration of what was a memorable year for our sport. The winners here today are role models to so many people, whether young players or goalkeepers to those thinking about moving into coaching or officiating. These annual awards are hugely important in respect of raising the profile of our stars and our sport and key to achieving the Hockey Revolution’s aim of making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation.”
Hockey Stars 2016 - The Winners
FIH Player of the Year
Male: John-John Dohmen (BEL)
Female: Naomi Van As (NED)
FIH Goalkeeper of the Year 2016
Male: David Harte (IRL)
Female: Maddie Hinch (GBR)
FIH Rising Star of the Year 2016 (players aged 23 and under)
Male: Arthur Van Doren (BEL)
Female: Maria Granatto (ARG)
FIH Coach of the Year 2016
Male: Danny Kerry (GBR)
Female: Karen Brown (GBR)
FIH Umpiring Awards 2016
Male: Christian Blasch (GER)
Female: Laurine Delforge (BEL)
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 - Player of the Year: John-John Dohmen
The Belgium captain barely puts a foot wrong whenever he dons the Red Lions shirt and 2016 was no exception. John-John Dohmen led his team to a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the first medal the Belgium men’s hockey team has won since 1920.
A year earlier, Dohmen, who has more than 330 caps for his country, led Belgium to a silver medal at the Hero Hockey World League Final and just a few months earlier, the Red Lions had qualified for Rio courtesy of a second place finish at the Fintro Hockey World League Semi-Final.
“I’m very proud to win this most beautiful award as an individual in world hockey,” said the three-time Olympian. “This trophy is something special because it’s a historical moment for Belgian hockey. It’s just amazing because when I started as an international player, my dream was simply to touch the pitch at an Olympic Games.
"Year after year, our dreams have become bigger and higher. This award will remind me all my life that, if you work hard and continue to believe in what you are doing, you can reach more than your dreams. I would like to thank my team mates, my family and my wife for helping me every day to be a better player and a better man.”
And in a tribute to his teammate Arthur van Doren, who collected the award for U23 Player of the Year, Dohmen added: “I congratulate my friend and team mate Arthur Van Doren for his trophy. It is well deserved and not a surprise for me because I think he is already one of the best players in the world. This little genius is growing fast and will be the key player of Belgium for the coming years. It just a pleasure to play with this kind of player.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 Player of the Year: Naomi van As
Naomi van As last won the FIH World Player of the Year in 2009 but in the intervening seven years, she has established herself as one of the most consistent players on the Netherland’s team.
She made her debut for the national team in 2003 and, since then, has won the World Cup twice (2006 and 2014), has two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and in 2016 was part of the silver medal winning Dutch team at the Rio Olympics.
The Rio Olympics was to be Naomi’s swan-song as the tall midfield/forward has decided to call time on her international hockey career, concentrating upon a burgeoning future in television and media. Presently, the hockey star is presenting a children’s programme and this is something she wants to do a lot more of now she has hung up her stick.
“It’s a great honour to win this award, the FIH World Player of the Year,” says van As. “We were obviously disappointed with the way the 2016 season ended because we lost the Olympic final in Rio via shoot outs to Great Britain. But winning this individual award gives our silver Olympic medal from the Rio Olympics a little more shine.
“Looking back on my career, I am very thankful, very proud and see it all as a great experience. Although it was serious, it was also always driven along with a sense of fun – with my teammates, the coaches and, of course, the fans.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 - Goalkeeper of the Year: David Harte
There is a sense of deja-vu about the Goalkeeper of the Year award as it is the second time in succession that it has gone to David Harte. The giant Irishman has been key to Ireland’s continued rise up the Hero FIH World Rankings and into the history books.
In 2015, Ireland won their first medal at the European Championships when they picked up bronze, then in 2016, they qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 1908. Much of that success has been credited to the man in goal, whose performances for club and country have earned him widespread plaudits and fans.
“To win this award truly is an incredible honour and one which I am very proud to receive,” says Harte. “Even to be nominated for a second time was more than I could have hoped for, especially given the world class goalkeepers involved, such as Juan Vivaldi, Vincent Vanasch, Jaap Stockman and PR Sreejesh, all of whom are deserving of the title in this category.
“Although it is an individual award, it partly belongs to my teams at both club and country level as I would not have made it here without them.
“On the back of 2016 and overcoming a 108 year wait to compete in an Olympic Games, the Irish men’s team is busy preparing for the first step on our quest to compete in a World Cup in 2018. We start by hosting the Hockey World League Round 2 in Belfast which is incredibly exciting for the Irish hockey community and players alike.
“Having reached an all-time high of 10 in the world rankings, we are all determined to push on from here and hopefully, having inspired the future Irish hockey generations, to climb higher with the Green Machine! A busy 2017 awaits between World League events and the European Championships in Amsterdam and I for one can’t wait to get started!”
Irish Hockey adds
David Harte Named FIH Goalkeeper Of The Year
Hockey Ireland is delighted to announce that David Harte has been named as the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year for the second year in a row! Harte captained Ireland to their first Olympic Games in 108 years when the Green Machine competed at the Rio Olympic Games. Harte has a plethora of Goalkeeper of the Tournament awards to his name and is an integral part of not only the Green Machine but current EHL champions Kampong. The achievement of the award is further solidified when looking at the other nominees; Juan Vivaldi (ARG); Jaap Stockmann (NED); Vincent Vanasch (BEL); Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh (IND). Vivaldi and Vanasch won gold and silver respectively at the Olympic Games in Rio this past summer, highlighting the stiff competition David Harte was up against.
Speaking about the award, Harte said “To win this award truly is an incredible honour and one which I am very proud to receive. Even to be nominated for a second time was more than I could have hoped for, especially given the world class goalkeepers involved such as Juan Vivaldi, Vincent Vanasch, Jaap Stockman and PR Sreejesh, all of whom are deserving of the title in this category. Although it is an individual award, it partly belongs to my teams at both club & country level as I would not have made it here without them.
On the back of 2016 and overcoming a 108 year wait to compete in an Olympic Games the team is busy preparing for the first step on our quest to compete in a World Cup in 2018. We start by hosting the WL2 in Belfast which is incredibly exciting for the Irish hockey community and players alike.
Having reached an all-time high of #10 in the world rankings, we are all determined to push on from here and hopefully, having inspired the future Irish hockey generations, to climb higher with the Green Machine! A busy 2017 awaits between World League events and the European Championships in Amsterdam and I for one can’t wait to get started!”
Irish Hockey Association media release
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 - Goalkeeper of the Year: Maddie Hinch
Maddie Hinch’s little black book has become the stuff of legend. It first became a talking point when, playing for England, Hinch’s heroics in goal during a shoot-out against the Netherlands were attributed in part to her notes on all the Dutch penalty takers.
During the shoot-out against the Netherlands in the final of the Rio Olympic Games, the book and its owner achieved even greater status as she saved all four penalties in the shoot-out. The world number one side were unable to break down Hinch’s defence and all that was left was for her teammates to put their shoot-out attempts into the goal.
Hinch currently plays for Dutch side SCHC, based in Utrecht. She is a three-time nominee for FIH goalkeeper of the year (2014, 2015, 2016) so this is third time lucky for Great Britain and England’s goalkeeping star.
“I am so honoured to receive the 2016 FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Award," says Hinch. "This is the third time that I have been nominated but to win tops off a pretty surreal year. I am so excited to be here to accept the award in India as I am committed to raising the global profile of the sport. It’s wonderful to have this recognition as an individual, but I play a team sport, and to play at the highest level and win gold medals is always a team effort.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 U23 Player of the Year: Arthur Van Doren
It has been a fantastic past few seasons for Belgium and, for one of its players in particular, the last four years have been an almost always upwards trajectory.
22-year-old Arthur Van Doren is one of the Belgium Red Lions who won silver at the Rio Olympics – the first Olympic medal for Belgium since 1920 but, while he may be young, Van Doren is already a veteran of the team – he has played for the national side since he was 17.
During his international career, mirroring his country, Van Doren has been racking up the honours. At the 2010 Youth Olympic Games he and his team won bronze; in 2011 Belgium were crowned U18 champions; a year later he was part of the team that won the European U21 Championships. In 2013 Belgium won the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, thus guaranteeing a place at the 2014 World Cup; in 2015 Belgium claimed silver at the HWL Finals in Raipur. The best moment in an already stellar career was, says Van Doren unsurprisingly, “silver at Rio 2016”.
On a personal level, Van Doren won the 2012 Golden Stick (juniors), which is awarded to the best U21 player in Belgium, and two years later he was voted Belgium’s best player with the Golden Stick (seniors).
When it comes to FIH awards, this is third time lucky for the Belgium player. He was also nominated in 2013 and 2014.
“It is a huge honour to be named FIH Rising Star of the year,” says Van Doren. “2016 has been a special year for us. Belgian hockey has been growing over the past few years and we showed that by winning the Olympic silver medal in Rio. These results obviously aren't given to you. We trained pretty much everyday in the 2016, worked very hard to reach our goal.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 U23 Player of the Year: Maria Granatto
The blue and white-clad supporters of Las Leonas have a new heroine. Following the retirement of legendary players such as Luciana Aymar and, most recently, Carla Rebecchi, Argentina needed new superstars to lead them in their search for more honours.
One of those stars of the future is Maria Granatto, who burst onto the senior international stage at the Hockey World League Finals in Rosario in 2015, with some scintillating performances.
For a young player, Granatto has a lot of hockey experience. The ebullient forward says she has been playing hockey since she was four years old, joining her three sisters at the Santa Barbara Hockey Club in La Plata, somewhere she refers to as “my second home”.
Granatto already has a list of honours to her name. In 2013 she was part of the senior Argentina team that won the South America Championship, while with the junior side she was a runner-up in the Junior World Cup. The 2016 Junior World Cup saw Granatto and her team go one better as they took gold, beating the Netherlands in the final.
The 2016 Olympics was a disappointment to Las Leonas – they finished in seventh place and slid to third in the world rankings as a result, but Granatto is positive when she talks of the future: “We are a very young group but with a lot of freshness and enthusiasm. We are forming a great team with great players and that makes us very happy for what is coming.”
And, she adds, “I want to emphasise the point that without my team nothing would be possible, they make me enjoy what is happening on the pitch and allow me to play with confidence. I also thank my family who always supports me and is at every step of my life.
Accepting the award that her fellow Las Leonas player, Florencia Habif collected in 2014, Granatto adds: “I am very happy to accept this award. It give me an enormous amount of pride to be among the best players in the world. It is a very gratifying recognition.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 Male Coach of the Year: Danny Kerry
Since taking over the reins as head coach to Great Britain and England in 2005 [apart from an 18 month spell in 2013-14], Kerry and his teams have largely been on an upwards trajectory. Great Britain went from non-qualifiers for the 2004 Olympics, to sixth at Beijing 2008 (against a world ranking of 11), they then won bronze at the London 2012 Olympics and finally, emerged triumphant from the Deodoro Stadium in August 2016. Since the win, the team has received plaudits from the public and the media but Kerry has very much stayed in the background. This award shines a spotlight on the man that striker Alex Danson refers to as “a master tactician.”
The roll call of medals won by either Great Britain or England [depending upon the competition] is nothing short of hugely impressive. In 2009-2010, England under Kerry won bronze medals at the European Cup, the Champions Trophy, the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. 2011-12 saw England win bronze at the European Nations Cup, silver at the Champions Trophy and Bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games.
A silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games was followed by winning the HWL Semi-Finals in 2015; a gold medal at the European Nations Cup and, of course, gold at the Rio Olympics.
However, despite the success, there is no chance that Kerry will be packing away his coaching notes just yet. Since Rio, he has returned as head coach to England and Great Britain women's hockey, he has spent time speaking to England Rugby about his coaching principles and is a mentor to Football Premier League Academy Coaches.
Talking about receiving the FIH Coach of the Year award, Kerry says: "I am humbled to be given the award. The fact that my fellow coaches from around the world were part of the voting process and the fact that this was an Olympic year makes it all the more meaningful and special."
Kerry pays tribute to his athletes and coaching staff, although one member of the coaching team gets a special mention. "I am delighted that Karen [Brown] has received Female Coach of the Year, she has been a subtle and yet enormous influence on our programme. With Karen you can always be sure that she will deliver what is required, no matter the level of pressure. We have worked together for nearly twelve years and our partnership has developed and grown."
On Maddie Hinch receiving Goalkeeper of the Year, Kerry says: "Maddie captured the heart of the nation during the Olympic final and her passion for the game has been obvious. I am delighted her endeavours have been recognised."
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 - Female Coach of the Year: Karen Brown
For the second year running Karen Brown has been awarded the Female Coach of the Year and, as she moves out of a coaching role with the national team into a mentoring and consulting role, she pays tribute to the team effort by the Great Britain coaching staff.
“The thing that made us successful was our attention to detail,” says the unassuming Brown, a veteran of six Olympic cycles as player and coach. ”A lot of people say we were lucky [to win Olympic gold], but I think we played well without the ball. We had been building towards this for the last eight years. We used everything we had learnt during past experiences to decide what worked and what didn't work. That sounds simple but it is actually very difficult."
During her playing career, Brown was England and Great Britain’s second-highest capped player of all time, with 355 caps to her name, as well as Olympic Bronze, European Gold and Commonwealth Silver medals. Add to that Olympic Gold and Bronze, European Gold, Commonwealth Silver and World Cup Bronze as a coach, and her achievements on and off the pitch are substantial.
Karen had a strategic role in establishing and evolving the conceptual and cultural foundations for the set up of an elite athlete Centralised Programme for the Great Britain athletes, coaches and support staff in 2009, a programme that has gone onto win back to back medals at the last two Olympiads.
"Reflecting back now, I am really proud of what we achieved, and how we worked as a staff. We all had each others back and everyone played their role. This award represents that teamwork.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 Umpire of the Year: Christian Blasch
Christian Blasch is a vastly experienced international umpire who has been part of the top tier of umpiring since 2003.
He made his international debut in 1998 and joined the World Panel in 2003. The German umpire’s first major event was the 2002 Champions Trophy in Cologne, Germany, where he took charge of the fifth/sixth place match between Australia and Korea.
Since then, Blasch has umpired a phenomenal amount of international matches, including three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014) and four Olympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016). He umpired the semi-finals between Australia and Great Britain in 2012 and the final between Argentina and Belgium in 2016.
In total, the 42-year-old father of two has umpired 161 senior internationals and a further 14 junior events. He is also extremely involved in the EuroHockey League and has umpired 38 top level matches in the past 10 years of EHL competition.
EHF president Marijke Fleuren spoke of her delight that Blasch has been rewarded and recognised for his umpiring ability: “We in the EHF have already admired Christian for a long time because of his professional and neutral management of the game and his almost 'regal' attitude on the pitch! We congratulate him for this prestigious award. We are delighted for him.”
Hockey Stars Awards 2016 Umpire of the Year: Laurine Delforge
Laurine Delforge is both a top umpire and a top player. The 26-year-old from Belgium plays club hockey in the Belgium premier league and represents her country at indoor hockey but, despite her impressive playing credentials, on the international hockey scene, Laurine is best known as one of the leading umpires of her generation.
Rio 2016 was Laurine’s first Olympic Games but she began her umpiring career nine years ago in 2008. In just four short years, she received her international badge and was umpiring top flight hockey at the 2014 World Cup in the Hague.
In Rio, she achieved the ultimate honour as she joined Michelle Joubert as one of the umpires officiating at the final.
Talking about her award as FIH Umpire of the Year, Laurine is typically modest: “Winning awards is clearly not the reason why I umpire and will never be, but I am of course very pleased to see my achievements of last summer being recognised in such a way.
“My preparation leading to Rio paid off and I was lucky enough to umpire the final at my first Olympics. But umpiring is a team sport, and if I have done well in Rio, It is also because my colleagues did a great job as well. I am the one being put in the spotlight today, but many more umpires deserve a medal for their hard work and dedication behind the scenes.”
Of course, we always think about the reactions of the players during an Olympic final but, as Laurine explains, it is a very special moment for the umpires too. “The highlight of last year was without any doubt Rio 2016. My dream of being part of the Olympics became true, and I ended up umpiring the final.
“I will always remember the final whistle I gave after Hollie Webb from Great Britain scored the last shoot out in the final match vs Netherlands. Time kind of stopped for a while. I took my time to blow the whistle and truly enjoy the moment. After months of efforts and nerves, I could finally say to myself: ‘Yes, I did it’. It was a feeling of relief which is quite difficult to describe. I hope my story can inspire young players to take on umpiring and live the same . I can assure them that it is an incredible adventure!”
English promotional image back fires
By Rod Gilmour, The Hockey Paper
A promotional image mocking the Netherlands' Olympic final defeat to Great Britain women has backfired on England Hockey after Kate Richardson-Walsh said that the national governing body had "stepped over the line".
The Valentines Day tweet entitled 'Breaking Hearts since 2013' was meant to boost ticket sales ahead of the England v Netherlands Test match in June, which sold out within an hour of going on general sale at the weekend.
But the marketing ploy received short shrift from Richardson-Walsh, GB's long-serving former captain, who admitted that she would have distanced herself and the national squad from the promotion if she was still on the central programme.
She told The Hockey Paper: "When the association puts it out there and you’re saying the team says that as well, that’s not the case."
"To step over the line of humility and being humble and respecting the opposition, we don’t need to go there."
The Rio final shoot-out win over the Dutch was Richardson-Walsh's last match before international retirement and the 36-year-old has witnessed plenty of defeats to the world number one side during her glittering career. Indeed, GB hadn't beaten the Netherlands in eight Olympic meetings prior to their gold medal victory last August.
Richardson-Walsh, speaking at Buckingham Palace where she received an OBE last Friday, said: "We know what it takes, what it feels like to lose and that dream to have been shattered."
In a short statement, the Dutch Hockey Association admitted that it had spoken to England Hockey representatives last week.
A spokesperson said: “The Dutch Hockey Association and England Hockey had contact about this tweet and for us the discussion is closed now.”
Meanwhile, the promotional image was viewed indifferently on social media. One fan tweeted that the image was "a bit tongue in cheek", while another said that it was "poor taste, disrespectful and badly judged".
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The Hockey Paper