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News for 29 November 2019

All the news for Friday 29 November 2019

Hockey rankings process changed

The winner and loser in a match can gain or drop anything between 10 to 200 points, which will be calculated by an algorithm based on the Elo rating system, which is a method for calculating points based on the relative skill levels of the competitors.

B Shrikant

Mandeep Singh of India tries to beat a Russian defender to score a goal for his team during FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2019(Men), at Kalinga Stadium.(PTI)

Losing a match could mean loss of ranking points for a country in the new ranking system for international hockey that will come into effect from January 1 next year. Depending upon the importance of the event the teams are playing in, and their relative rankings before the match, the opposing teams will gain or lose points in case of a win or loss — a higher-ranked team will drop more points if it loses to a lower-ranked team but gain fewer points if it wins the match.

The winner and loser in a match can gain or drop anything between 10 to 200 points, which will be calculated by an algorithm based on the Elo rating system, which is a method for calculating points based on the relative skill levels of the competitors.

In the old ranking system, points were allotted on the basis of final position in an FIH-conducted (international hockey federation) event or a recognised Continental Championship. Thus the change in rankings would take place only after an FIH event, some of them annual while others were quadrennial. Bilateral test matches or invitational tournaments were not considered for rankings.

In the new system, besides the FIH-conducted events, points could be earned or lost by playing in any FIH-recognised match, even bilateral matches and invitational tournaments involving four or more teams.

“The principles of the algorithm are that there will be a number of points exchanged between teams who play against each other in an official match, and the number of points is dependent on factors like the result, the relative ranking of the two teams and the importance of the match. Teams will gain more points for beating those ranked above them,” the FIH communication department informed HT in an email response on Thursday.

The new system will have standard amount of points for a win, draw, win in shootout, defeat in shootout and defeat in regulation time. The standard points for a win or loss in regulation time are taken as 10, five for a win/defeat in shootout and four for draw in regulation time. The respective standard points will be treated by two multipliers: A. One calculated on the basis of relative rankings of the two opponents, with the team ranked lower getting more points in case of a win and the defeated team losing the same amount of points that the winner gained. B. The second multiplier will be the importance of the tournament match—minor events have been given smaller multiplier number as compared to major events like the World Cup and Olympics.

Thus, the multiplier for a bilateral Test match will be one while that for invitational tournaments involving four or more teams will be two (x2) – thus the points a team will gain in such a tournament will be double of the points it may get when playing the same opponent in a bilateral match.

The multiplier for a FIH Pro League match will be five (x5), six (x6) for Continental Championships and World Cup and Olympic qualifiers while a multiplier of 10 (x10) has been allotted for matches in mega events like the World Cup and Olympic Games.

The two opponents in a match will gain or lose same amount of points depending on the result of the match. “Yes, in every official match, the number of points gained by one team will be equal to the number lost by the other,” the FIH said.

Hindustan Times

Kenya staring at sanctions from hockey body


Kenyatta University's Gloria Juma (left) vies for the ball with Blazers' Rachel Ousa during their Kenya Hockey Union Women Premier League match at City Park Stadium on November 17, 2019 Blazers won 2-1. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya might be staring at sanctions from African Federation Hockey (AFH) after the late withdrawal of defending champions Blazers, formerly Telkom from the annual Africa Cup of Club Championship which gets underway this Sunday in Ismailia, Egypt.

Blazers, who were the only remaining Kenya representatives at the 10-day event, pulled out of the event last Sunday due to financial constraints.

Kenya Hockey Union chairman Nashon Randiek said they are waiting communication from the AFH, but expressed his fears that the union might get a penalty and forced to part with some money.

“The sanction is imminent. After all, we are all aware that participating clubs are given window of a month to withdraw from the event. But failure by Blazers to pull out well ahead of time for only them to withdraw early this week leaves the Union at an awkward place and vulnerable," said Randiek

Should AFH issue the penalty, it will be the second time the union is facing such predicament having been penalized in 2013 after failing to send the junior sides to the World Championship in Namibia.

The union paid 2000 Euros (Sh226,000) to the African body.

“It’s becoming a routine for many local clubs not to honour the club championship and it's not sitting well with us. While we are aware they may be facing financial constraints, I think in future they should start making friendly budgets to their respective sponsors and make proper logistics once they know their at the conclusion of the Premier League," said the former national team player.

Besides Blazers, Strathmore University, champions Butali Sugar Warriors, Kenya Police all pulled of the event due to financial constraints.

The top two teams at the completions of Premier League earn automatic tickets to the Club Championship.

Daily Nation

Six matches decided on opening day of National Junior Hockey C’ship

LAHORE - As many as six matches were decided in Pakistan's 36th National Junior Hockey Championship, which got underway on Thursday here at the National Hockey Stadium.

In the first match of the day, KPK (A) beat Army (B) 1-0. From the KPK (A), the only goal was scored by Jibran. In the second match of the day, Punjab (A) thrashed Islamabad 5–0. Husnian Shaihd was emerged as top scorer from the winning side as he scored a quartet while the remaining one came from M Bilawal.

In the third match of the day, MPCL crushed AJK by a big margin of 17–0. From MPCL, Muhammad Anees, Abdul Rehman and Afraz hammered a hat-trick each while Arshad Liaqat, Shuaib Khan and Muhammad Abdullah banged in a brace each and Umair Sattar, Arbaz Ahmed and Ahtisham Aslam netted a goal apiece.

In the fourth match of the day, Army (A) thumped Punjab (B) 10–0. From Army(A), Shahid Ali slammed in four goals while Usama Irfan contributed a brace and M Umer, Muzamil Hussian and M Usman hit a goal each. In the fifth match of the day, Wapda thumped Punjab (D) 12-1, in the sixth match of the day, Port Qasim routed Balochistanby 6-2 while in the seventh and last match of the day, Sindh (B) crushed Gilgit-Baltistan 15-0.

Earlier, Punjab Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs and Tourism Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti inaugurated the championship. Other notables present on the occasion were Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, Secretary Asif Bajwa, Chief Selector Manzoor Junior and other officials. Rai Taimoor was warmly received by the PHF officials upon reaching the National Hockey Stadium. He was also introduced with participating teams. PHF chief Khalid Sajjad Khokhar thanked the minister for extending valuable cooperation for the holding the event.

He said he is glad that the event is being organised after a gap of three years. “Definitely, the National Junior Hockey Championship is a good opportunity for young players, who must avail this opportunity and remove the flaws of their game.”

Bhatti said: “Hockey is our national game and we are aware of its importance. It is true that Pakistan is passing through a struggling period but we are quite confident that Pakistan will overcome its slump in hockey in near future.

We are planning to arrange interactive sessions of national hockey heroes with young boys at colleges and universities. These sessions will help a lot in inspiring young generation to play hockey.”

Bhatti said: “We are planning to introduce league system in hockey and the private and corporate sector will have key role in this event. The involvement of private and corporate sector in hockey league will help a lot in resolving financial issue of hockey players and federation as well.

The Nation

Five new clubs launched in quick succession in Munster to build on recent Irish success

Michael Houghton says he has hit upon a framework that will play a key role in building a long-lasting dividend from the Irish hockey’s recent successes.

He has created a platform for five new clubs in north Munster in the past 12 months with Castletroy, Ennis, Thurles, Nenagh and Tralee all set to host junior sections.

The basis for the first club came following a stint as Limerick Hockey Club chairman where waiting lists were in place due to limited pitch time and coaches. It was something he felt had to be eradicated.

“There was huge demand and no reason for it. I checked with Limerick Hockey Club if they were ok [to form a club based at UL] with it. I just put it out there and it quickly took off.”

Castletroy had its genesis last December and affiliated with Hockey Ireland three months ago. It now has 100 male and female members taking part in Munster underage competitions this season from Under-9 up to Under-12 level.

While that has been a big success, Houghton – a tech entrepreneur by trade – had his interest piqued when Hockey Ireland development officer Phil Oakley mentioned a decade-long desire to form a first club in Clare, asking “can I have a crack at it?”

He co-opted pitch time on St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield’s astroturf and, within five weeks, has 40 regular Ennis members and a crew of volunteer coaches.

It follows a template at Kinsale under the stewardship of Kieran Harte, father of Irish internationals Conor, David and Emer and something emulated at Baltimore in 2017. Traditionally, not having a full-size pitch was a limiting factor but, now, new clubs are finding alternative options to make hockey available.

“Growing up in New Zealand, we were never brought up on a [full] pitch. We did hockey in school halls or a tennis court or wherever. We utilised as much alternative pitch space as possible.

“Matches do need to be on a full pitch but, for the juniors, they are playing blitzes at different venues and they are used to travelling so that is not a major barrier.”

Houghton says there is already a demand for extra pitch time in Ennis – perhaps at the Lees Road sports complex – while he anticipates big numbers at Nenagh College for open days in January.

He launched Nenagh’s sign-up site last week and already had close to 50 people registering interest within three days including several former players offering services as potential coaches with Hockey Ireland set to run introductory coaching courses.

 “We have a nice movement now in terms of how we set them up. I set up the Nenagh website, contacted the Nenagh Guardian and a couple of their local Facebook pages.

“We got 36 people within a day registering. Of that, we have five hockey parents who are willing to coach so we are looking to run open days in January. We have worked out a formula and can now replicate it.”

He sees real potential in Nenagh which has an old grit pitch with floodlights as well as a patch of astro. Should it go well, it could provide an impetus to get a full pitch there.

It rides fast on the coat-tails of the Irish women’s World Cup silver medal and Olympic qualification.

“When the Olympic result came in, I immediately thought ‘that’s one more hockey club!’.

“You see the thrill from the kids when Roisin Upton ‘liked’ some of the Castletroy pictures [on Facebook].

“But these clubs aren’t forming because we are doing something particularly special. Kids are just getting hold of it and, once they have somewhere to play, it gets shared in the Whatsapp groups and it suddenly takes off.

“Loads have a good part of the skill-set from hurling so it can be an easy game to transfer. It has those elements but without the contact and having to wear a helmet. Plenty of kids tend to like that!”

He also sees Thurles, with a hockey-playing school already in place at the Ursuline Convent, as a venue that could take off quickly. He anticipates Tralee may be a little tougher as the first junior club to be former in County Kerry.

This latest tranche of new clubs increases the total number to 24 in Munster, up from 13 in 2010. The majority cater primarily for youth members with girls’ numbers doubling in that time.

The next mission for the province, like many sports, is to translate that into more adult players where numbers have been stagnant. There is also the important transition phase for the clubs to find the volunteers and coaches to take over the full-time ownership from Houghton after the initial start-up stage.

Hockey Ireland can provide support to train up volunteers and fundamentals courses for coaches as well as engaging new players in the sticks for tricks programme.

From there, getting enthusiastic and passionate people like Houghton on board in each area is crucial to carry the torch and make a sustainable situation.

“At the moment, we do it all on a volunteer basis and then we hope that some of the parents will take on the running of it in each of the venues,” Houghton said.

“We have to make sure of that transition. Honestly, it is more about the love of the sport. But, having one club or five, it is all the same stuff. You organize a blitz on Whatsapp, you are doing the same accounts, organising the uniforms.

“With the insurance, it is now just one email to the broker with the new club details. Once you have the blueprint, it’s like a tick-box exercise. It is framework which could work for any club for any sport and we are getting better at it.”

The Hook

Passing of Marius Gallagher a sad loss for hockey

Former umpire went on to serve the sport with distinction in an administrative capacity

Johnny Watterson

Marius Gallagher: served as president of the Leinster Branch from 1990 to 1992 and then president of the Irish Hockey Union from 1995 to 1997.
Umpire Marius Gallagher had been involved in hockey from as far back as the 1970s until his peaceful death in Blackrock Clinic earlier this week.

As recently as November 13th, despite being clearly unwell, he went to a lunch in Dun Laoghaire attended by past international players.

Marius was an umpire who came from an era where he could flash the cards – which he frequently did – and then go into the clubhouse for a drink with the players. He was seen as the friendly curmudgeon, who held a grudging respect for characters who he regularly had to sin bin.

It was those players – very often the best of their era – with whom he would be seen in friendly conversation after the match. Take a bow former internationals Mark ‘Flecky’ Cullen and Dave O’Driscoll.

A former manager of the AIB bank at the back gate of UCD, Marius was also a very close friend of former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and the two regularly met.

Marius went to Aberdeen for Ferguson’s 40th and he would travel to Old Trafford more than 10 times a season where he was a season ticket holder. He also brought Ferguson over to Dublin to speak at Milltown Golf Club where he was a member.

Marius served as president of the Leinster Umpires Association from 1974 to 1975 and then again from 1986 to 1987 and he also served as president of the Leinster Branch from 1990 to 1992 and then president of the Irish Hockey Union from 1995 to 1997. He gained his FIH (international) umpire status in a tournament in Hong Kong.

It won’t just be a personality in the game that will be missed by many in the sport but his years of service to hockey both on and off the pitch.

The Irish Times

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