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News for 22 April 2017

All the news for Saturday 22 April 2017

Handling youngsters will be key aspect: Sreejesh

Manuja Veerappa

BENGALURU: The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup starting in Malaysia next week will be a test of character for the junior players in the rank and will also offer a fresh challenge to skipper PR Sreejesh.

The goalkeeper, who will lead the side in the six-nation tournament from April 29-May 6, says handling the youngsters will be a key aspect of his game plan as a leader and senior member of the squad.

"I work differently with each player. If I scream at Raghu (VR Raghunath) during a match that pumps him up and he plays better. I can't do that to a junior player. I need to be more intelligent in handling them. There are a couple of players like Gurinder who tells me that if I shout at him he will play well. So it's more important to deal with players differently. For me, it will be a challenge to work on their mentality during the matches," said Sreejesh, who was given the leadership role in the run-up to the Champions Trophy last year.

Sreejesh added that the seniors will have to guide the juniors in handling pressure and emotions. "That comes with experience. They will be in high spirits when we win and a loss can hit them hard. So, we as seniors will have to guide them."

Although India are going into the tournament with three new faces — Gurinder Singh, Sumit and Manpreet — the skipper believes it helps the team's cause that both the senior and junior teams were based out of SAI, South Centre here, over the past couple of years.

"The junior players have been with us for a while and they know the team well now. It will be a good experience for them to play in the international tournament. The efforts should be 100 percent. Rather than thinking about the opponents they should concentrate on giving their best."

Last month, while announcing the team for the tournament, chief coach Roelant Oltmans had revealed that the team will try something new in the season opener.

Concurring with Oltmans, Sreejesh explained, "Like the coach said, we will be trying new things. Sometimes we can go wrong or we can get it right. It's how we execute on that particular day. But we are going with a podium finish as the target."

On playing formidable teams like Australia, the 30-year-old said, "Beating a top-ranked team is not easy. That's where we need to show our improvement. But there are other teams and not just Australia. But we do have some plans for Australia."

Chikte replaces injured Karkera

Young Mumbai goalkeeper Suraj Karkera, who was picked in the team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, has been ruled out of the tournament due to injury. His place in the team has been taken by fellow junior Akash Chikte. Confirming the replacement, chief coach Roelant Oltmans said, "Unfortunately, Suraj has been replaced by Akash Chikte because of an ankle injury. He was injured during practice on last Saturday. Doctors have said it's not advisable to play him in the tournament."

The Times of India

Indian hockey team bids to mould all-rounders: Chief coach Roelant Oltmans

Switching positions will be the name of the game for the Indian hockey team as it builds up towards the important 2018 season, says its Dutch chief coach, Roelant Oltmans.

Navneet Singh

Indian men's hockey team will play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from April 29 to May 6.(PTI)

The Indian men’s hockey team will emphasis on all-rounders, versatile players who can be slotted into any position, as the team builds up for the important 2018 season, its Dutch chief coach, Roelant Oltmans said on Friday.

Oltmans will use the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup international hockey tournament from April 29 to May 6 as a platform to take players out of their comfort zone by playing them in different positions. The six-nation tournament will feature hosts Malaysia, Australia, Great Britain, Japan, India and New Zealand.

The Dutch hockey expert wants to encourage players to excel while playing in new positions. Oltmans feels small changes made to the main plot will make a huge difference in crunch situations.

Testing calibre of players

“Since we are in the process of building the team for the 2018 season, it’s important to test the calibre of the core group of players and then adjust the strategy accordingly. We need more all-rounders in the team,” he told HT from Bengaluru where the national camp is currently on.

There are three important competitions in 2018 --- the Commonwealth Games in Australia (April 4-15), Asian Games in Indonesia (August 18 to September 2) and the World Cup (November) in India.

Sticking to Indian playing style

Oltmans doesn’t want to impose the European style of play and will stick with the traditional continental system. “Our style will be very much Indian, but players should have the ability to shift gears when changing position during the match,” he said.

In that way, all players would be in sync with the system by the time the next season approaches. “Performing different roles without spoiling the rhythm during matches is important. The midfielder should be able to move up to support the forward line and vice versa,” Oltmans added.

The chief coach though wanted to keep the finer points of the tactics under wraps. “Otherwise, we will not be able to surprise our rivals,” he joked.

Fitness is paramount

Gone are the days when the national team lost steam halfway through matches and fitness has become an integral part of preparation.

The team management uses the GPS gadget to evaluate fitness. Since January, the hockey team has been using it for every drill.

The Yo-Yo endurance test— to evaluate a player’s ability to withstand a series of short runs with short, active breaks --- is also being used.

Almost all the players are able to score above 20, which is considered excellent. Some players even reach 23 points. The test is done on a regular basis.

Oltmans emphasises on building a strong core. “All the players have excellent fitness. We can match the best in the business,” he added.

Hindustan Times

Bitter home truths

Hockey, players suffer as the number of tournaments is inadequate and quality low

Indervir Grewal

Gurbaj Singh (left) and Ritu Rani credit their stint in foreign leagues for their comeback into the national side. file photo

The two biggest comeback stories in hockey this year have been those of Gurbaj Singh and Ritu Rani.

Gurbaj became the most expensive buy at the players’ auction for this year’s Hockey India League (HIL), bought by Ranchi Rays for $99,000. Ritu made a return to the national team, five months after retiring from international hockey.

Both having been out of the national squads — over a year in Gurbaj’s case — their comebacks came as a surprise. Both Ritu and Gurbaj credited their stints in foreign leagues for helping them maintain their fitness levels and get match practice.

Shortcoming in India

While Ritu went to play in Austria, Gurbaj went to Malaysia. The Austrian and Malaysian leagues are not among the top in the world by any means. The fact that the two players went there highlight a big shortcoming in India — the lack of a proper tournament structure.

Ritu recently said that one of the reasons behind her going to Austria was that in India, women didn’t have many domestic tournaments. In fact, the scenario isn’t much better for men.

Apart from HIL and the Nationals, there are only a handful of tournaments in India every year. This shortage of competitive matches makes it even harder for India hopefuls like Ritu and Gurbaj to break into the national team because the players they are competing with for a place in the team — the national campers — get top training and regular matches.

Junior in the cold

But the most harm is being done to the chances of young and upcoming players such as Varun Kumar, Krishan Pathak, Parvinder Singh, Ajit Pandey, Armaan Qureshi, Vikramjit Singh and Santa Singh. All seven were part of the Junior World Cup-winning team but were not selected for the senior national camp.

“Currently I am training at my village (Mithapur in Jalandhar district), and sometimes I go to Surjit Academy,” said Varun, a former trainee of the Jalandhar-based academy.

Despite feeling a little “disheartened”, as his former coach at Surjit Academy said, Varun is keeping himself motivated by preparing for the senior Nationals. But it is “hard”, considering the amount of hockey these youngsters would get to play.

Their teammates from the junior team who have made it to the senior camp might end up playing three tournaments till June, assuming they get selected for the team.

However, for youngsters such as Varun and Parvinder, it will only be the Nationals in June, after which there will be a lull until September-October.

Hockey India’s website shows a busy national calendar. However, only a few events, like Surjit, Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri tournaments, are permanent fixtures every year. Most of the tournaments don’t feature the top teams like BPCL, Air India and IOC; and almost all have a knockout format. So, someone like Varun, who played for BPCL last season, will play only two-three matches on an average in each tournament.

Suspect quality

However, more than the number of tournaments, it’s the “quality of the matches” that is a concern for most India hopefuls. There is a growing disconnect between the hockey that is being played at the international level — the Indian national team level — and what is being played at the domestic level.

Almost all domestic tournaments do not feature India’s best players because they are on national duty. This year’s men’s National Championship will be held in June in Lucknow. The top players will have to skip it because the Hockey World League Semifinals, a qualifying tournament for next year’s World Cup, is scheduled for June in London.

But more than the international tournaments, it is the national camps that keep these players from participating in domestic tournaments. The women’s National Championship is underway at Rohtak, Haryana, while the India team probables have reported for the national camp in Bengaluru.

Whenever the national teams are not playing, there is a camp going on; in fact, the 40 days’ break after the Australia tour in November last year was the longest in two years for the senior team players.

Inferior training

The reason for long camps is that the coaches can’t afford to give long breaks to the players as the level of training at the domestic circuit, including in the department teams, is much lower compared to what the national campers undergo.

That is not the case in most hockey playing nations, especially in Europe. At the junior World Cup, the major European teams’ coaches regularly credited their organised and highly competitive domestic leagues for their national teams’ consistently high level of performance; and they have uniform training structures from the junior to the senior level.

That’s one reason why European teams don’t need long national camps — the German and England teams had come together only about a week before the junior World Cup. Playing the leagues in Europe is a big commitment.

“We miss many tournaments because our best players are unavailable; that’s a big issue,” said a former India player who is employed by BPCL. “Most of our players are in the national camps most of the year. They are unavailable even for the inter-petroleum tournament, which is very important for us.”

The only tournament that is guaranteed to feature all of India’s top players is HIL. HIL is in some way undermining the role of the departments, which provide job and monetary security to many players in India. These departments are not getting any recognition or publicity; and by overlooking their contribution to the sport, HI is running the risk of alienating them.

HIL is a great tournament for the exposure and financial help it provides to the Indian players; but it is not a substitute for a national league. Indian hockey is seeing its best period in recent years, but to climb further in the hockey world, HI needs to streamline the domestic circuit.

There is a great need for proper domestic leagues in all categories — men, women, juniors, sub-juniors — and with separate divisions; and the departments must be involved at some level.

Development squad a shot in the arm for fringe players

Despite not being picked for the senior national camp, Krishan Pathak, Varun Kumar, Parvinder Singh, Ajit Pandey, Armaan Qureshi, Vikramjit Singh and Santa Singh have something to look forward to — being included in the development squad. A development squad — for the players, especially juniors, who have not made it to the senior camp — is an old concept in Europe; and there have been talks about introducing it in India. HI has said that a proposal has been sent to the Ministry and the SAI.

The Tribune

Nationals for the sake of it!

The junior men’s event is currently undergoing in Bhopal, where the temperature is over 40°C

Indervir Grewal

The National championship is the most important tournament on the domestic circuit. At a time when the event has become a rarity in many sports, Hockey India (HI) must be appreciated for organising the event in all the categories every year. However, the way HI has been organising the event has left a lot to be desired.

The Nationals in the junior categories are organised not long after the final exams, especially the board exams; in some cases, even during the exams. Every year, there are complaints from coaches that they don’t get enough time to get the players fully fit after the exam break. There are also cases when players had to miss some of the exams.

‘Too hot’

The Nationals in all the categories have been held between March and June. In certain categories, the tournament is being held in parts of northern or central India, where it is the hottest in March-June.

The junior men’s event is currently undergoing in Bhopal, where the temperature is over 40°C. Matches have been scheduled for 10.30am or 3pm. Punjab played their first match at 11am on Friday after a delay. “It is too hot. I can’t imagine how it would be for the teams playing at 3pm,” said one of the officials accompanying the Punjab team.

The senior women’s event is undergoing at Rohtak, Haryana, and the temperature is over 40°C here as well.

If it’s bad in April, imagine how it would be in June, when Lucknow will host the senior men’s event. Despite repeated efforts by The Tribune, HI did not respond to any query.

The Tribune

Rajasthan to face Hockey Him in women Snr National Final

ROHTAK: Hockey Rajasthan will face Hockey Him in the final of the seventh Senior National Championship 2017 for Women 'B' division after registering convincing wins over their respective rivals, here today.

In the first semifinal of the day, game, Hockey Rajasthan produced a master class to beat Hockey Madhya Bharat 5-1 and book their place in the summit clash.

Situ Poonia (13th minute, 48th) and Raju Ranwa (20th, 57th ) scored two goals apiece for Hockey Rajasthan while Hockey Madhya Bharat's lone goal came from the sticks of Kratika Chandra in the 38th minute.

Later in the day, Hockey Him spanked Hockey Coorg 6-0 to enter the final.

For Hockey captain Sarita scored four goals including a hat-trick (4th, 30th, 48th, 53rd) while Sharmila Devi (7th), Saroj (16th) were the other goal getters.

The Times of India

Andersons shock BJSS 2-1

By Jugjet Singh

ANDERSON Thunderbolts shocked Overall champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 2-1 in Division One of the Junior Hockey League (JHL) Friday.

It was a high-octane match, and the fitter Andersons won the day with beautiful penalty corner set-pieces.

The Anderson goals were scored by Azrai Aizad (22nd) and Aiman Shahmi (28th) both off penalty corners, while the BJSS penalty stoke was taken by Arif Sabron (24th).

Anderson coach Nizam Hashim said initially their target was to finish top-four, but after yesterday's performance he believes his charges can make the final.

"We will now push the boys harder after they showed today (yesterday) that they can overcome a tough side. BJSS are no pushovers, and now I believe we have a side which can play in the final," said Nizam.

BJSS coach Lokman Yahaya believes the defeat is just a hiccup in his plans.

"We played badly in the second and third quarter and paid the price. However, we still have six more matches to go and I am confident my players will bounce back strongly," said Lokman.

Last season, BJSS finished second in the League.

RESULTS -- Division One: BJSS Thunderbolts 1 Anderson Thunderbolts 2, SSTMI Thunderbolts 2 MSP-Thunderbolts 1, Olak-NurInsafi 5 BJSS Juniors 1.

Division Two: Group A: MSS Kedah 3 PHA-USM 1, MISCF-UFL Penang 1 MSNSSN Young Lions 6, USM Juniors 1 KPs Stingers 1.

Group B: MCKK 0 Anderson PHA 8, Felda Juniors 3 Terengganu Juniors 2; Group C: Bentara Luar 0 SSTMI Juniors 4, Johor Baru HA 1 Young Hurricanes 2, Datuk Taha 4 TBSS Tampin 3.

SATURDAY -- Women: Group A: SSTMI v CBN Hockey Club (SSTMI, 5pm), USM Juniors v MSN Kedah (Lela Pahlawan, 5pm), Sabah SS v KL Wipers (Likas, 4pm); Group B: Uniten-KPT v SMKGR (KPM, 5pm), Johor Juniors v USM (Batu Pahat, 5pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Champions BJSS suffer shock defeat against Anderson

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending overall champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolt suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Anderson Thunderbolt in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division One match.

With the defeat BJSS, with five points from three matches, dropped down to fourth place in the 10-team standings as Anderson registered their first win in two matches.

Muhd Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal gave Anderson the lead off a penalty corner in the 22nd minute at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium yesterday.

But two minutes later BJSS were awarded a penalty stroke after forward Arif Sabron was brought down in the semi-circle. Arif made no mistake from the spot.

Anderson got the winner when Muhd Aiman Shahmi Marzuki sounded the board off another penalty corner in the 28th minute.

Anderson coach Mohd Nizam Mohd Hashim praised his players for collecting full points against their more fancied opponents.

“My players played exceptionally well today after losing our opener to MBPJ 3-1. Today’s win proved that my players can beat any top team in the MJHL,” said Mohd Nizam.

BJSS coach Lokman Yahya said the defeat has put a dent on their title hopes.

“We have six more matches to play and we need to win them all,” said Lokman.

Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) stayed on course to retain the title after they edged Pahang Hockey Academy (AHP-MSP-Thunderbolt) 2-1 at the SSTMI pitch in Bandar Penawar.

With the win they moved up to third spot with seven points from three matches.

The Star of Malaysia

Hawes hails massive step forward for Wimbledon

Wimbledon coach Ben Hawes described his team’s pair of victories over German opposition last weekend in Eindhoven as another “massive step forward” for the club.

The west London outfit only emerged from the regional conferences to the English Premier League three seasons ago but have since landed silverware of some sort in each campaign.

And, with a 3-1 win over UHC Hamburg and and a shoot-out success against Mannheimer HC in Eindhoven, they became the first English club to reach the FINAL4 since Reading in 2011.

Speaking about their run, Hawes said: “In just our second year in the EHL, we came in with expectations. Last year in Amsterdam, it was hope but this year we expected to compete and felt the top eight was definitely where we belong. Anything better was a bonus!

“It was a tough game against Mannheimer but I felt we should have won it in normal time, especially when they were down to nine men and we rushed our decision-making in and around the circle. In the end, to score all five shoot-outs under that pressure is a massive testament to the guys who stood up.”

Looking back on their stunning rise through the ranks, Hawes is quick to praise the vision of his assistant coach who oversaw much of their early progression. It included getting an Olympian like Hawes on board, initially as a player, to buy into the project they had in mind.

“It started with Ben Marsden and he got a few of us in when we were in the lower divisions. There was a real vision to firstly make the Premier League in England and then, within one year, we had won the playoffs.

“We’ve done that twice now and won the league as well. It’s come pretty quickly but we’ve invested a lot of time and energy in where we are at.

“Our facilities are probably miles behind where we are in terms of performance but if you had the choice, you would probably prefer being in the FINAL4 of the Europe!”

His side topped the English league’s regular season to guarantee a return to the EHL next season for a third campaign. This weekend they battle to win the playoffs title for a third successive season.

After that, they will have a tricky six-week break from competitive action before the FINAL4. Phil Roper, Ian Sloan and Henry Weir will depart next week for the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia.

As such, Hawes has plenty of plans to iron out in the coming weeks.

“This is a total step into the unknown. First we have playoffs this weekend and then we will start thinking ahead and preparing the guys as best we can. It's totally new for us, the club and this group of players and they absolutely deserve to be there after this week.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Wimbledon success results in extra Finals fixture

Wimbledon celebrate winning the MHL 2016

The fantastic success of Wimbledon's men in the Euro Hockey League last weekend means that England Hockey could well have a 3rd qualifier in next season’s EHL competition.

In order to determine who could take that third European place, we have lined up a 3rd/4th play-off at this weekend's League Finals.

The game is scheduled for 1:45pm on Sunday afternoon on Pitch 2 at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. With European qualification potentially at stake, there will be all to play for!

The play-off will be required if Wimbledon win their semi-final match. If they do not win their semi, they would automatically be the third ranked team, so the play-off is not required.

The Hockey League Finals now has 15 games lined up in two days of action-packed hockey. The biggest prizes in England are up for grabs, with Surbiton looking to win a fourth straight title, and Wimbledon aiming for another title, especially on the back of their great performance in Europe last weekend.

How much are tickets?
Under 18s advance tickets are only £1, with adult day tickets from £15.

Which adult tickets are best value?
It's only £22.50 for a two-day ticket which gives you access to up to 15 games of hockey!

How do I upgrade my Saturday ticket to a two-day ticket?
If doing it before the weekend, ring 0844 871 8810. If doing it on Saturday, go to the See Tickets booth next to the South Stand steps (but this will be more expensive as per the weekend prices as opposed to advance prices)

Can I access both pitches with my ticket?
Yes, although please bear in mind seating on Pitch 2 is more limited.

How do I buy?
Click this link to access our See Tickets page.

England Hockey Board Media release

Orange, Police seek to extend unbeaten run

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Hockey queens Telkom Orange and former men’s Premier League champions Kenya Police will be out to extend their winning streak this weekend.

Orange clash with Vikings tomorrow while Police take on Parklands HC today in their respective Kenya Hockey Union league matches at City Park Stadium.

Champions Orange who are seeking to achieve their goal of winning the title without conceding a goal will be seeking to make it happen. They had a successful weekend out a week ago drubbing bitter rivals Strathmore University Scorpions 2-0 and University of Nairobi ladies 11-0.

Orange assistant coach Josephine Ataro said that they are working hard to retain their crown as well as meet their goal of not conceding goals. “So far so good, we want to retain our title and this time we are also determined to make our dream of not conceding any goals a reality,” Ataro said.

Orange who have dominated women’s hockey locally and continentally are chasing a 20th league title.

In another women’s tie Mombasa Sports Club (MSC) ladies begin their title quest against Sliders today before taking on Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) tomorrow. MSC will be hoping for a perfect start start and return to the league after missing last season’s contest.

Police who are currently top on the log will be out to maintain their unbeaten run as they seek to reclaim the trophy they last won in 2013. The law enforcers have been impressive this season winning all their matches and a victory today will enhance their chances of winning this season’s gong.

In another men’s matches encounter, Greensharks will be hunting for victory against Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU).

The Standard Online

Three Rocks Rockets ready for take-off

Siobhan Madeley is well-known among European hockey clubs and national associations as the Communications Manager for the European Hockey Federation (EHF). At her home club, Three Rock Rovers in Dublin, Ireland, she takes on a very different role.

“I suppose I am programme coordinator” she says in an interview with RTE, Ireland’s national radio station. The programme she has been coordinating is an ambitious and inspiring one – to start a team for children with intellectual disabilities.

Just a few months down the line and not only is a team in place but they are just a few months away from competing in the Euro ParaHockey Championships in Amsterdam in August. The range of intellectual disabilities among the squad members includes Downs Syndrome and Autism, but for Siobhan and her team of volunteer coaches, everyone is aiming for the same goal – to give as many people as possible the chance to play hockey.

The squad was formed in November 2016 and soon grew from four to 14. “I guess we were both excited and nervous,” says Madeley. “None of us had really worked with children with disabilities before. We work with our juniors so we know about coaching children and its pretty much the same thing to be honest.”

From September, Three Rock Rovers is offering coaching for children with intellectual disabilities from the age of eight, where they are coached with mainstream children and, then at the age of 14 the coaches and parents will decide if the players will stay in mainstream hockey or join the 'Three Rocks Rockets' team.

During the interview, which took place pitch-side during a lively training session, it was evident that the players had quickly built a great team spirit and developed a love for the game.

“Its a good sport, its a sport where you can make good friends and it is good fun,” said one of the team members, while another player added that it gave her the chance to develop her self-confidence as she learnt new skills.

“It’s helping with the team work aspect,” says one parent. “He is a only child and he isn't able to just hang out on the street with his peers, that is something he will never be able to do, so this is a chance for him to socialise.”

“Every Tuesday after work I am absolutely buzzing,” says Team Manager Hannah O’Byrne. “I can’t put into words how much I adore the coaching. Around this area there is nothing else provided for kids with disabilities so this is a chance for the kids to run around for an hour and the parents can have a cup of coffee and a chat on the side-line. I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be.”

For Siobhan, the next step is all about organic growth of the sport. “What we need now is for other clubs in the country to start similar teams so we can play against other clubs. We believe that is the future, it should be organic.”

When it comes to coaching, the Rockets are spoilt for quality. Besides Siobhan, the Head Coach is Niall Denham, TRRHC Men’s First Team Coach and Irish Under-16 Coach, who is in his final year of EHF Top Coaches Programme; and international umpire Alison Keogh. Other members of the men’s and women’s teams also pitch in.

The Rockets and their coaches and supporters are currently busy fundraising to raise the money necessary to send the Rockets on their way to Amsterdam where the Euro ParaHockey Championship takes place between 20-23 August 2017. For more information on Three Rock Rovers Rockets, click here.

This is yet another example of the amazing development work being doing across the world which is helping develop the sport in line with the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy, which you can find out more about here.

FIH site

Irish international hockey star (107) presents new trophy

Trinity graduate Doris de Courcy-Wheeler steeped in the history of hockey and society

Johnny Watterson

Dorothea Findlater at the presentation of the Wheeler Plate to Linda Caulfield, president of Dublin University Ladies Hockey Club. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dublin University was founded in 1592 and the hockey club has been around since 1893. So who better than Ireland’s oldest former international hockey player, Dorothea Findlater, to present the inaugural Wheeler Plate.

Findlater turned 107 years old on December 27th, 2016, making it 81 years, give or take a few months, since she was selected to win her first Irish cap in 1936. That earned her an epic “slow boat” trip to the US.

“We had great fun. It was most enjoyable,” says Doris, who lives at home on Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock. “It took a week to get to America.”

A graduate of Trinity in 1932, the then Doris de Courcy-Wheeler met and married Dermot Findlater, one of a well-known family of Dublin merchants. Doris’s mother Lena Knox was a hockey player as were her two aunts Nita and Ella, who also played for Ireland between 1899 and 1902, which gives Doris a life experience of knowing people born across three centuries.

“No one could stop the Trinity Trio,” she says looking out over the college, which she entered in 1928. The tear-away trio of the ’30s were Doris, Peggy French and Margaret McKay.

“Oh yes things have changed quite a bit,” she says of the playing fields. “It’s much more groomed. It used to be wild shrubs and things.

“We were called ‘the Trinity Trio’ because we scored an awful lot of goals between us. We were very good friends. I was here for general studies. A bit of everything.”

Hilary Term 1932

Doris has kept a page from her final exams, which are dated Hilary Term 1932.

Question one: “Freedom to conduct life’s adventure in his own way and make the best of it. Consider this statement.”

Apt, although little sign of gender equality in the phrasing of exam questions.

Still, Doris was far from the only woman on campus.

“There were quite a lot of women here, some doing quite intelligent things,” she says. “Maths and languages . . .that sort of thing.”

A well-recognised figure in Carrickmines Golf Club, up to a couple of years ago she could be seen practising her putting on the green beside the clubhouse. Her father was Capt. Harry de Courcy-Wheeler, a renowned show-jumper, who would later be among those accepting the surrender from Patrick Pearse during the 1916 rising.

The Wheeler Plate goes to the winners of an annual hockey match between Trinity Ladies and a President’s Alumni Selection.

The Irish Times

New FIH CEO on first few months leading hockey

New Chief Executives often start their tenure with a frantic burst of activity as they seek to make immediate impact. After moving in to Hockey HQ in Lausanne, Switzerland, International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Jason McCracken is taking the opposite approach.

Here's what McCracken has spent his first days in office doing...

How will you spend your first 100 days in office?

"For the first three months I am just planning on listening. As a new CEO, you have the opportunity to do a pulse check on the organisation. You can get a view on our stakeholders' perception of the organisation and their view on our strategy.

"So the first 100 days will be spent listening and engaging with as many stakeholders as I can. Then I will synthesise that and share it with the new Executive Board and see where we are and if we need to make any tweaks to the strategy."

What is your preferred method of communicating key messages to staff and stakeholders?

Some tweaks are already happening. Take communications for example: "It's an idea I got from the Chief Executive of ANZ (Australian/New Zealand Banking Group),” says McCracken. “Rather than sending out loads of emails which clutter peoples' inboxes and rarely get read, he would get his message across in short video clips. Key messages were sent out in no more than 60 second clips. The take up by the 60,000 staff was massive. It saved them trawling through and reading loads of emails."

A new CEO, a new President and a new Executive Board - that is quite a lot of change within the organisation, how can you reassure people that change is a good thing?

McCracken comes into an unusual situation. It is rare that the arrival of a new Chief Executive coincides with a new President and a new Executive Board. "Of course there has been a significant change among the whole leadership,” he says, “But both Dr Batra and myself believe in the strategy and the products. We don't come to them new. I do get the sense there have been some anxious people around but we are all on the same page and we have the support of very talented people in this office."

For McCracken, the task ahead involves implementing the strategy, he is not about to introduce new ideas, but rather will use his considerable commercial experience to create more revenues of wealth within the sport, centred around the new events portfolio. "In my mind there is no conflict between sport and the business of sport," he says with the conviction of a man who had more than 20 years experience of both.

"If we are more commercial, we give ourselves more choices to do more stuff. We can develop hockey, we can grow the Academy, we can pay prize money. We can make the sport professional and the new Home and Away League will be the vehicle that does that. Believe me, it will be a real step change."

What will the new Home and Away League bring to the sport and how will it serve the sport as a whole, not solely the top nations?

"Our sport is far from soft. It is aggressive, fast-paced and skillful and it is time we applied those qualities to our commercial side and showed our partners just what a great sport they are working with."

In answer to the criticism that the Home and Away League might create a big division between the top teams and the remainder of the nations, McCracken is defiant. "There has always been top countries in hockey. The Champions Trophy involved the top six in the world; the World Cup is a competition between the top 12, so ultimately elite sport is always about being the best you can be and winning. That is what drives this elite sport.

"The shape of the Home and Away League is about bringing elite sport back to the people. Yes, they will be able to see it online but more importantly, they will also be able to physically sit in a stand and watch their team. It is bringing hockey home." He smiles, "I love that saying."

McCracken isn't all about the elite. He emphasises that the FIH will not waiver in its pledge to increase participation. "What hasn't changed is the need to develop the game at grass roots level. That is down to the National Associations but we will be there giving them support. It is about raising their level of participation. We are bringing new countries into the sport - half a dozen new National Associations in the past five years. We will keep doing that."

Certainly the new events portfolio, which will actually come into effect in 2018 with the replacement of the Hockey World League Round 1 events, is easier to understand. McCracken says the 'clutter' has been removed and he is very clear that the new event portfolio is going to be a game-changer for hockey. "The organisation has agreed a strategy, we are past the time for debate, now it is just about getting on and doing it."

What motivated you to quit a job in a huge company, up sticks and travel across the globe?

For those who do not know McCracken, the first thing to say is that his passion for hockey is boundless. He has played the game since he was five and now he is an umpiring veteran of two Olympic Games, plus one of the most respected Technical Delegates in the sport. His final appointment before taking over as head of the sport he loves, was as Technical Delegate at the Rio Olympics.

Away from hockey, he has owned his own IT company and worked within the finance and insurance sectors back home in New Zealand. At one point he was looking after funds of $23 billion NZD. The obvious question is what drove him to make this huge life and career change?

"It came at a point of time in my life that made it seem right. My family are growing up and leaving home. There was the timing of Kelly's [Fairweather] departure. I just thought that I want to make a difference in a sport that I love.

"It wasn't an easy decision, my wife had a successful career as Director of an HR company, we have left our friends, our parents and our families to come across the other side of the world. But we agreed we wanted to make some changes. We have downsized from a big house to a small apartment in a beautiful city. We are so excited about it, to be living in Europe and living a European lifestyle.

"This role will take me to the four corners of the world and I have friends in all four corners of the earth because of this sport. One of the things I am looking forward to is re-connecting with those people. It is very exciting to be doing something really cool and different."

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