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News for 21 April 2017

All the news for Friday 21 April 2017

Canterbury's Black Sticks to face biggest challenge to date


Blacks Sticks striker Sam Lane in action against Pakistan last month. JOHN COWPLAND / PHOTOSPORT

After moving through the ranks at Canterbury Hockey, three of the provinces young superstars will be tested in their first overseas tournament for the Black Sticks in Malaysia starting next week.

Former Canterbury representatives Sam Lane, David Brydon and Dom Newman were selected for New Zealand last November and have contributed to a young side selected by coach Darren Smith.

The team leave for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Friday night and will compete against top sides Malaysia, Australia, Great Britain, India and Japan.

The three Cantabrians have grown up playing hockey against and with one another in the Christchurch competitions and will play side-by-side against the world number one, Australia.

Lane, 19, said he was looking forward to his biggest challenge as a Black Stick and playing alongside his fellow Canterbury teammates.

"It will be a pretty gruesome tournament, it'll be high quality and with some of the best teams bringing their best players and in a hockey-mad country, it's pretty exciting."

The former St Andrews College student and Southern United player moved to Auckland to be closer to the Black Sticks environment in January and said he is already reaping the benefits.

"It's been pretty interesting having all the players around you that you've grown up admiring. Darren [Smith] has been really good to us and it's such a good learning environment."

The strike forward has scored four goals in his first eight test matches and is hoping to continue some form in the tournament which runs from April 27 to May 6.

Lane said playing with the Canterbury boys had given him confidence as they read each other's game well after years of going through the age grades together.

"These last five years we've played all our hockey together so we are pretty comfortable with each other."

The three have been adapting to the Auckland lifestyle and the rigid hockey regime that goes with it.

"It's pretty chaotic, the early morning sessions, the gym. I love Christchurch, it's an awesome place and Auckland is a lot busier so it's nice to come home for a few weekends to relax and recharge. I am happy I've made the change."

Brydon, 20, agreed that moving from his Carlton club in Canterbury to the North Shore hockey competition had helped his hockey as he is more exposed to other Black Sticks players, but has found the city life a big adjustment.

"[Auckland's] all right, it's a bit of a rat race, not my pick of places and fairly different to Christchurch."

Brydon, who plays left half, is originally from South Canterbury, but moved to Christchurch to attend St Bede's College and play hockey in the Christchurch competition for High School Old Boys.

Newman, 20, was excited to be playing in a tournament that featured so many big players of world hockey.

"I'm pretty excited about it, to play multiple games against different teams is something new for me."

The midfielder was the first of the three Cantabrians to make the break away to Auckland when he moved at the beginning of last season and said the new environment has been a positive for his game.

"You pick up a lot from the older guys."

His aim was to cement his spot in the Black Sticks ahead of next year's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.

Several seasoned Black Sticks have been ruled out with injury, including Simon Child, Nick Haig and Brad Read while James Coughlan is unavailable because of work commitments.

Smith said while the team was light on experience, it was a great opportunity for the group that played against Pakistan to step up and signal their intentions.


Schopman Pulls Hoffman Up to USWNT Program to Become Youngest Rostered Athlete

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The words, “after graduation, she hopes to continue to represent the USA in field hockey…” have been part of her online college biography since she was a freshman. Now a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, Ashley Hoffman’s post-graduation goal has come true, only two years sooner than intended.

"Time and sacrifice is what it takes to reach the next level," said Hoffman. "Hours and hours of work past your peers, and many missed social events. It takes a hunger that proves to be relentless toward being the best you can be, but all of that is well worth it when you get to put on a USA jersey for the first time. To play at the senior level alongside such inspiring women, and to represent something that is so much bigger than yourself is the greatest a honor. Being arm in arm singing the national anthem on the pitch in New Zealand was surreal, and I don’t think I will ever get used to it. I feel blessed to be on the team and thank God for this amazing opportunity."

Following her performance at the Vantage Hawke’s Bay Cup, U.S. Women’s National Team’s Head Coach Janneke Schopman welcomes a well-deserving Hoffman the opportunity to join the senior squad.

“Ashley has been part of the U-21 U.S. Women’s National Team since 2014 and has shown continuous improvement in that team throughout the years,” said Schopman. “Her performance for the U-21’s at the Junior World Cup and in Chula Vista made me believe she was ready for an opportunity with the U.S. Women’s National Team in New Zealand. There, she convinced me and the rest of the staff that she is ready for the international level of competition and therefore I have added her to the squad. We will work closely together with her college to make sure that both academically and on the field she will thrive.”

Wearing the red, white and blue is somewhat of a tradition in Hoffman’s family. Her mother, Brenda, was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Brenda is a Los Angeles 1984 Olympian and was part of the U.S. Olympic Field Hockey squad that won the bronze medal. Hoffman also claims her mother to be the athlete she admires the most, having coached her a majority of her life.

"My mother's success in field hockey when she was my age has always been inspiration for me," commented Hoffman. "She taught me young to be competitive and never think any goal is too big to work toward, so naturally I am just trying to be better than she was. When I first started playing, she gave me space and allowed me to develop my own passion for the game, and since then it will always be something special that we share. As I begun competing more seriously, at each new level she would always remind me that confidence is important but I can never become complacent, and that there is always someone out there that is working just as hard or harder. It is this grounding on top of her unconditional support that has truly made me into the player I am today."

Hoffman also accredits her father's unwavering support and for being her constant rock. She said, she wouldn't have been able to get where she is today without him.

A Mohnton, Pa. native, Hoffman first started playing field hockey in 2nd grade. A quick learner, Hoffman’s poised presence, knowledge of the game and solid defensive tactics became noticeable in her early childhood when she played with her high school Twin Valley and with club team, X-Calibur.

She climbed ranks through the Olympic Development Pipeline and in 2012, she landed a spot on the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team and 2013 she was named to the U.S. U-19 Women’s National Team. A year later, she joined the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and has been with the squad ever since.

Hoffman and the U-21 USWNT had a busy 2016, as they prepared for the Junior Women's Pan American Championship in March in Tacarigua, Trinidad & Tobago, the qualifying opportunity for the women's Hockey Junior World Cup (JWC). To prepare, the U-21 USWNT hosted Great Britain in early January and competed in two separate training camp weekends in February and early March where they scrimmaged college teams. After earning silver at the Junior Women's Pan American Championship, the team punched their ticket to the JWC. In late June, the team also competed together at the Young Women's National Championship and took gold.

At the women's Hockey Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile, the 16 best women's junior teams came together and competed to make their mark on the international stage. Team USA finished the event in 8th place after playing some of the best junior international teams while gaining valuable competition.

At the beginning of March, Schopman announced the 19-athlete roster that would travel to New Zealand for the Vantage Hawke’s Bay Cup and among those listed was Hoffman. On March 25, 2017 in a scrimmage against New Zealand, she earned her first international cap and career goal for the red, white and blue. She would go on to complete in another scrimmage against the Black Stick and in the remaining seven matches of the Cup.

With two years of college remaining, Hoffman will join the USWNT’s centralized training program at the Home of Hockey at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster County, Pa. when her schedule allows.

Ashley Hoffman

Hometown: Mohnton, Pa.
College: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Position: Midfielder

Previous accomplishments: Hoffman was first named to the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in 2012 and the U.S. U-19 Women’s National Team in 2013. In 2014, she was named to the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and contended and won silver at the 2016 women's Junior Pan American Championship in Trinidad & Tobago and competed at the 2016 women's Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile. On March 25, 2017 in a scrimmage against New Zealand, Hoffman earned her first international cap for the red, white and blue.

She has also accomplished a handful of accolades while at the University of North Carolina. In 2015, she was named All-South Region Second-Team and was the recipient of the team’s Ken and Cheryl Williams Rookie of the Year award. In 2016, she was named to the All-South Region First-Team, All-ACC Tournament Team and the ACC Defensive Player of the Week on October 4.

USFHA media release

Titles to be decided this Super Saturday in National League

In the ultimate weekend of the league season the scenario for the destiny of the Scottish National League 1 titles is a mirror image, Grange and Edinburgh University only need to win their last remaining game to take the men`s and women`s titles respectively.

Grange are within sight of their first league title since 2002, the assignment is to beat Western Wildcats at Fettes this weekend and the silverware will head for their base at Raeburn Place. With one game left Grange are a point ahead of 12-times champions Bromac Kelburne, so the destiny of the title lies in their own hands.

Coach David Knipe is not one for predictions or speculation, instead he is content to let the steady improvement in his squad`s performance on the field do the talking. This was the case at Auchenhowie in February when Grange won 4-1, the goals coming from Captain Cammie Fraser, Todd Mills, Luke Cranney and Dominic Wild from a penalty corner - a similar result would suit Knipe perfectly.

But the Wildcats` claws might not be that easily clipped, recently they had a run of four straight victories, scoring 19 goals without reply, but fell from grace two weeks ago by losing 2-1 at home to Edinburgh University. In addition, Harry Dunlop`s men have a chance of a top four spot and may need to take something from the Grange match to secure that.

The Wildcats lead Uddingston by two points and a superior goal difference, but while they are striving to frustrate Grange the Lanarkshire side are in the North East looking for the crucial three points from already relegated Gordonians. Should the Wildcats lose and Uddingston win, then it is the latter that will enter the top four play-offs.

Meanwhile, Kelburne may still be hoping for a Grange slip-up but must make sure of the three points from their away fixture at Edinburgh University to keep up the pressure. The Paisley side won the first encounter 5-1 but a similar outcome may still be too little too late.

At the other end of the table there is a scramble to avoid the relegation play-offs with three teams all on 17 points and Edinburgh University only a point ahead in sixth place. Watsonians are away to third placed Grove Menzieshill who won the first game comfortably 4-0 in Edinburgh. The Taysiders have made third place their own for some time now.

Also on the 17 point level are Hillhead and Clydesdale and they clash head-to-head this weekend. The home side have had a rather miserable time in the second half of the season, seven reversals and a draw, the latter a 2-2 score against this weekend`s opponents Clydesdale. A series of injuries have greatly hampered the Hillhead cause but the sequence was broken three weeks ago with a 3-2 victory away at Edinburgh University.

In contrast, Clydesdale seemed dead and buried a few weeks ago, and almost slipping into the automatic relegation spot, but back-to-back victories over Gordonians and Grove Menzieshill two weeks ago have rescued the situation.

The carrot for the winner of this all-Glasgow confrontation could be sixth place and absolution from the relegation play-offs should Edinburgh University fail to see off Kelburne at Peffermill.

The destiny of the women`s National League 1 title is also a simple scenario, Edinburgh University lead Grove Menzieshill by a single point and only need a home win over Watsonians to retain their title.

They might be feeling confident going into the game as the students won the first encounter 5-0 and Watsonians are firmly placed in the safety of mid-table. With Dundee Wanderers at their heels, however, Watsonians will be out to secure a top five position as well as disrupting any prospect of a title party at Peffermill on Saturday.

Grove Menzieshill and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western meet for the second time in a fortnight, the last outing saw the former emerge comfortable 4-1 winners and will hope for a similar result to retain second spot. However, whatever the result the two sides will meet each other again in the first leg of the European play-offs in two weeks’ time.

Also secure in the play-offs are Western Wildcats in fourth place, they will hope to augment their 34 points tally against ninth placed Hillhead. Hillhead are currently on six points and are guaranteed to finish in ninth position, but will hope to finish the league campaign on a high.

In theory Kelburne, five points behind Dundee Wanderers and with a game in hand, could still escape the relegation play-offs, but they would certainly have to beat Wanderers this weekend on Tayside to have any chance. The omens are not great, the Paisley side lost 3-0 in the first game at home with Emily Dark, Vikki Bunce and Charlotte Watson on target. Wanderers also have Watsonians in their sights as they gun for a top five finish should results go their way.

With CALA already relegated this weekend`s opponents Erskine Stewart`s Melville might fancy adding to their ten points, but they will still face the play-offs to stave off the drop. Erskine Stewart’s Melville are a guaranteed finisher in eighth spot.

Grange will be the fourth side in the play-offs, they finished runners-up in the second division, while GHK are automatically promoted having finished in pole position.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Zeller’s Rot-Weiss plot toughest possible route to EHL glory

Having eliminated both the reigning EHL champions SV Kampong and the Spanish double winners Real Club de Polo, Rot-Weiss Koln’s Christopher Zeller is now facing up to a date with the Belgian champs, KHC Dragons in the FINAL4.

Awaiting in the final, should they get there, are either the English champions or the 2016 Dutch Hoofdklasse winners.

It makes for the toughest possible route to EHL glory but the German legend says that his side would not have it any other way.

“It will be very hard but maybe its good for us to have only really good opponents and you have to be 100% every game and every minute,” he told the EHL website. “For us, that’s the right way to do it!”

Zeller missed the EHL KO16 last year but was back this year and played a key role in their performance, finishing off Jonas Gomoll’s amazing one-handed cross to put his side in the lead against Polo.

Looking back on that win and the success against SV Kampong, he said there is more to come from his side: “It was a great tournament here in Eindhoven with a big crowd and two exciting games against very good opponents. We are of course happy to reach the FINAL4 and can hopefully make the finals.

“Especially against Polo, it wasn’t the best hockey that we have played. We seemed a little scared – I am not sure why – but we had a great opponent who put us under a lot of pressure which made it difficult. It was important to play a good defence and only one goal conceded against Polo is a good performance.”

They next face Dragons in a repeat of the 2013 FINAL4 game in Bloemendaal, an epic 4-4 draw that the Belgian side eventually won in a shoot-out.

“Dragons in Dragons is a really big challenge; we know them from the past years in the EHL! Maybe this time, it will be the other way around!”

Euro Hockey League media release

Lleonart and Baart move on from Polo

Real Club de Polo will have to cope without two star men next season with the news that Xavi Lleonart will move to Bloemendaal while Sander Baart goes to Braxgata.

Lleonart was injured for the EHL in Eindhoven but the Spanish speedster will be back in time from his shoulder injury for the new season and will join Bloemendaal along with Tim Swaen from Tilburg.

They will replace Australians Daniel Beale and Blake Govers who return down under after their season with the Dutch side.
Polo, meanwhile, has confirmed that after his spell with Bloemendaal comes to an end, he intends to return directly to Polo.

Baart, meanwhile, will move to Braxgata. He had intended to move to Antwerp in Belgium but a registration error meant he could not play in the Audi league and so made a quick switch to Polo.

Antwerp have since been relegated but Baart followed through on his intention to return to the country where he learned the game, linking up with Brax for the next three seasons.

"It is with great regret that I must announce that I cannot meet the challenge I set last season with Antwerp. I hope that the club can rebound quickly and return to the highest level.

“But the challenge offered to me for three seasons at Braxgata is a great one. I am looking forward to taking part in their ambitious club project and helping it to reach the Belgian and European summit."

Euro Hockey League media release

Colts edged out 3-2 by New South Wales

By Nabil Tahir

KARACHI: Pakistan Junior Hockey team’s winning streak on their tour of Australia came to an end on Thursday when they lost 3-2 to New South Wales (NSW) in Hobart in what was their second match of the U18 Australian Hockey Championship.

After back-to-back victories in the warm-up match and the championship opener, the Colts’ confidence was visibly high as they attacked from the onset against NSW and took the lead via a penalty corner in the 27th minute when Ghazanfar Ali converted.

The second half saw NSW come back into the game, and they made their greater possession and attacking intent count in the 38th minute when Lain Carr converted a penalty corner to level the scores 1-1.

Carr repeated the trick three minutes later, again drilling a shot in via a penalty corner to give his team the lead for the first time in the match.

Now trailing for the first time on their tour Down Under, Pakistan upped their attacking ante but weren’t able to hit back immediately.

The equaliser did come, however, in the 66th minute when Afraz Hakeem entered the circle and scored a field goal.

Their joy was only short-lived though as NSW’s Ky Willott scored a field goal of his own in the 69th minute to put his team back in the lead at 3-2, with the scores remaining unchanged for the remainder of the match.

Despite the defeat, head coach Kamran Ashraf found solace in the team’s reaction to falling behind for the first time. “Our ability to come back after conceding a goal was really promising,” he said. “The boys did make some mistakes in defence but we think of it as a learning curve.”

The Express Tribune

Lokman wants BJSS T’bolt to grab full points in next two matches

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolt are unbeaten in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League but coach Lokman Yahya is not exactly jumping for joy.

BJSS Thunderbolt are third in the 10-team Division One with five points from two matches.

Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) lead with nine points on goal difference but they have played three matches. Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), also on nine points but from five matches, are second.

BJSS Thunderbolt started off well by whipping UniKL 4-0 and then holding league champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolt to a 2-2 draw before winning 6-5 in the penalty shootout to gain an extra point.

Lokman’s side face Anderson Thunderbolt today and then BJSS Juniors on Sunday.

“We have not played to our true potential so far. We were a bit sluggish in the opening match but we made some progress against SSTMI,” he said.

Lokman’s target is to get maximum points against bottom side Anderson and ninth-placed BJSS Juniors.

“I also want to see a better performance. We will take one match at a time. Anderson have good strikers and midfielders but their defence is not that strong.

“I hope to see our forwards take advantage to get the goals. I also want to see penalty corner flicker Arif (Sabron) converting more goals,” said Lokman.

The Star of Malaysia

Head start for Bombay in the Junior Nationals

The seventh Hockey India Junior National Championship which started today in two venues in Bhopal city, Madhya Pradesh, witnessed head start for Mumbai, which beat formidable Manipur 4-3 in an exciting early morning encounter.

At the historical Aisbagh Stadium, Bombay met Mnaipur after Odhissa defeated Bengal 6-2 in the opener.

Uncharacteristically, Manipur which had three National Hockey Academy trainees, was sedate in its approach. Capitalizing on the chances, Mumbai struck twice early on, first from the first penalty corner another from on the run forehand shot from Dilip in the 15th minute.

Ibungo in the 20th minute and Bhakar in the 51st minute helped the reorganized side to level (2-2). The match picked up pace here on, and the Manipurians were on ascend. They could break from both the wings while the Bombay team relied on midfield control and central attack.

As a result the last ten minutes saw three exciting goals.

First Devnor struck after tripped from goalie in an concerted attack, but the Bomaby team objected quoting back stick. Coach Mulla and Manager Solomon Alexander pulled the team out of play for awhile before calming down.

Shortly, Ibungo was apparently punched by a Mumbai player after managing to dispossess Ibungo’s attack on the right side of the circle.

Umpire Rajan Ekka flashed green cards to both Ibungo and Jersey No.2 of Bombay. Many players were seen pacifying the furious duo.

With the acrimony behind and with 3-2 score against them, the Mumbai teams have faced the stark reality missing out a dream opener. But Prince and Dilip Pal who scored the first goal for Mumbai had different ideas. Working on the right flank and using calibrated crosses first equalized in the 65th minute before Dilip Pal’s stunner came in the 67th minute.

Mumbai’s goalkeeper did a tremendous job in ensuring the exciting success.


'India-Pakistan standoff will damage world hockey'

KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has called on the sport's apex body to take note of India's refusal to play them at the international level, saying it will "damage" world hockey.

The country's hockey fraternity felt that Hockey India's calls for an unconditional apology from PHF over the 2014 Champions Trophy incident is unjustified.

The PHF was taken aback recently when it learnt that India was not sending its junior team for a tournament in Malaysia in October because Pakistan was among the participating nations.

Hockey India officials made it clear that until Pakistan apologised publicly and unconditionally for the Champions Trophy incident, they would not participate in any event in which Pakistan is playing.

The PHF also received a setback recently when they were kicked out of the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia. India is also among the nations playing in the Azlan Shah event.

Last December Pakistan's junior team was not a part of the World Cup in India.

"I just hope that the Indian hockey officials see sense and stop this boycott because it will not help international hockey," a top PHF official said.

"Pakistan is no longer a power house in world hockey and has dropped in rankings, which is why everyone is treating it this way. But they forget the influential role played by Pakistan in making field hockey a popular sport in the world," he said.

Former captain and Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui said the Asian hockey federation needed to play a role in ending the stand-off between Pakistan and India.

"Hockey India is not being fair and they are trying to hurt Pakistan hockey but in the end it will damage world hockey," he warned.

Shahnaz Sheikh, who was the coach of the Pakistan team when the incident took place in the Champions Trophy in December, 2014, insisted that Pakistan had already apologised for their players' behaviour.

"We apologised and our players were penalised so what else do they want us to do," Sheikh, a former Olympian, said.

The Times of India

Karnataka hockey stadium gets new turf, new name

Sunil Subbaiah

BENGALURU: The Karnataka State Hockey Association stadium will now be known as the Field Marshal KM Cariappa stadium. It was renamed on Thursday during the inauguration of the newly-laid blue hockey turf by the Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES).

The grand ceremony, however, was marred by controversy after Hockey Bengaluru (formerly KSHA) - which holds the rights over the stadium land after having signed a 99-year lease with BBMP decades ago - slammed the DYES for ignoring them and not following due procedure.

"It is wrong on the part of the DYES to change the name of the ground without taking us into confidence. We are not objecting to the developments but they could have consulted us as the BBMP has leased the land to us. It's a clear violation of the agreement," fumed Hockey Bengaluru secretary K Krishnamurthy.

Krishnamurthy explained that the stadium cannot be renamed without a resolution passed by BBMP. "We are not aware whether DYES sought an approval from BBMP," he said.

"The agreement signed in 1977 is in the name of KSHA. Although KSHA has been renamed Hockey Bengaluru, KSHA still exists as a trade name with an aim to promote hockey," he said. "DYES came to an understanding with us during the 1997 National Games to develop the infrastructure and share the facility. The department has no rights over the land."

Revealing that Hockey Bengaluru was invited only an hour before the inaugural ceremony, Krishnamurthy said: "Field Marshal Cariappa is a hero for all of us. They have put his name on a flex board instead casting it in stone. This is not the way to honour a national hero. We were not even informed about their plans to change the name."

Blaming the DYES, he said: "Ever since the new director has taken charge we have been given raw deal. We were not informed when DYES called for tenders to upgrade the stadium."

Krishnamurthy said they will take up the matter with the sports minister after consulting MLA NA Haris, the patron of the club.

Meanwhile, the DYES director Anupam Agrawal countered Krishnamurthy's allegations saying they have followed the protocol. "We have an approval from the state sports minister to change the name of the stadium. We have not consulted KSHA because legally they don't exist," he said. "We wanted to rename the ground to Field Marshal Cariappa ground to honour his contributions," he said.

Stadium will be upgraded: Agrawal

DYES director Anupam Agrawal said his department will upgrade the Field Marshal KM Cariappa stadium gallery and refurbish the hostel which is home to Sports Authority of India trainees. "We have sought an additional Rs 1.5 crore to upgrade the gallery and the hostel. We will also upgrade the toilets and dressing rooms according to FIH standards. We are in the process of installing a hockey turf at Somwarpet and upgrading the existing facility at Ponnampet as Kodagu district is the cradle of hockey," he added.

The Times of India

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