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News for 17 December 2019

All the news for Tuesday 17 December 2019

India all set to start their FIH Hockey Pro League journey

The FIH Pro League second season gets underway in January 2020 after a hugely successful first edition. We caught up with the coaches and players from the participating teams as they prepare for the new look FIH Pro League season to get underway. In the following interview, India’s captain Manpreet Singh and goalkeeping legend PR Sreejesh, talk about the forthcoming season and what the Pro League means to them and the team.

India (FIH World ranking: 5) will be making their FIH Hockey Pro league debut this season. Their 2020 campaign starts with a home fixture against the Netherlands on 18 January 2020 in the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.

How important is it for India to be a part of the FIH Hockey Pro League?
Manpreet Singh: “I think it is very important for us to have the chance to play against the top 10 teams. Also, the juniors will learn the preparation needed for the game and also will learn a lot of things from the best players in the world. It will also be a good lesson before the Olympics.”

What are your ambitions in this competition?
PR Sreejesh: “We will be playing all the top teams so we definitely want to put up a very good show. But we definitely want to be on top, that is what we are trying to do. That is our ambition for this tournament.”

Which fixture are you most looking forward to and why?
PR Sreejesh: “With the Pro League, the best part is that you are playing other teams and you are travelling so I think all the matches are going to be important. When you play the Australian or New Zealand team or the European teams, every team is going to be different. We are just looking forward to the first phase of the Pro League when we are playing in Bhubaneswar and that will be our priority.”

What was your #My Pro League Moment from the previous season – as a viewer/fan?
Manpreet Singh: “I am a fan of the Belgium team because they played very well last season and we can learn a lot of things from Belgium, and the other teams as well. The shooting opportunity, creating a goal [scoring] opportunity, and defensive play – a lot of things we have watched the previous season. I think the final match I watched was Australia versus Belgium and that was really good.”

What is your message to the fans?
Manpreet Singh: “To the fans, I just want to say, ‘Please come and support us in all the home matches as you have been doing all the time. Come with your heart and support us in Bhubaneswar”
PR Sreejesh: “In the world, I think Hockey is getting a new platform to perform and FIH Hockey Pro League is one of the best platforms for all the teams to come and showcase their performance. So, please come, cheer us, supoprt us and stay with us.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

Olympian Van Sickle Retires from USWNT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following a tremendous career, U.S. Women’s National Team defender and Rio 2016 Olympian Caitlin "Poppy" Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) has officially announced her retirement from the senior squad after competing in 148 international matches.

"I would describe Poppy as the consummate professional," said Larry Amar, USWNT Assistant Coach. "Whether she was making individual improvements, holding the team standards, encouraging or motivating her teammates, learning team tactics or just letting her competitive thoughts be known - she did it with an air of dignity, integrity and the right mixture of fun. On and off the pitch, Poppy gave her all to our team, not only for herself, but for the greater good of the team."

"Caitlin, you are a valued member of this team," continued Amar. "You selflessly gave your time, energy and effort every day. You took the time every day to make sure you were the best you could be for the team and then extended that effort to your teammates who needed it. On and off the field you earned respect because of the action you took - and not just by your words or expectations. We will certainly miss you and in the same breath, we say congratulations and wish you all the best in whatever you choose to do next."

A Delaware native, Van Sickle was originally a basketball player and desired to excel but fell in love with field hockey when she first started playing in 4th grade. She began playing competitively in 7th grade and played at Tower Hill High School, where she helped the team to three state championships. She was named all-state her sophomore, junior and senior years and was also dubbed player of the year her junior and senior seasons.

Van Sickle went on to play collegiately at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a Tar Heel she was a three-time team Most Valuable Player (2010, 2011, 2012), three-time first-team All-America (2010, 2011, 2012), three-time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defensive Player of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012), three-time All-ACC and All-ACC tournament and 2012 ACC Tournament MVP. In her time wearing Carolina blue she helped win two ACC Championships (2011, 2012) and played in the NCAA title game all four years, winning a championship in 2009.

“I chose to play in college mainly because I was given the opportunity to go to my dream school, UNC,” said Van Sickle. “Since my parents could remember, I was always obsessed with UNC and when I started getting serious about field hockey I reached out to Karen Shelton. She gave me the opportunity to attend the university and from there I could not have asked for a more fulfilling experience.”

Van Sickle’s journey to Team USA started when she wove her way through the Olympic Development Pathway. After joining Futures in 2004, she participated in the National Futures Championship, multiple Junior National Camps and was a member of High Performance for six years. In 2010, she was named to the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and a year later went on a tour with the squad. Following her performance at the Women’s National Championship in 2013, she was named to the USWNT.

She earned her first international cap wearing the red, white and blue at the Four Nations event in Auckland, New Zealand. That same year she helped USA to a second place finish at the Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina, falling to the host nation in the final. In the years following, she participated in multiple test series and international tournaments along with world championship experiences. In 2015, she aided the squad to a fifth-place finish at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals and was named an alternate athlete to the Pan American Games. A year later she was part of an incredible performance at the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophy in London, England. As the lowest world ranked team, USA clinched the bronze after a shootout win over Australia. Continuing with that momentum, USA impressed the world that August at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games earning a historical fifth place finish.

In 2017, Van Sickle was part of the team that stunned the world hockey scene at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals when they upended the only two teams to upset them at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in two shootouts to earn gold. Also in that year she played in the last edition of the FIH Hockey World League Final. The next year she competed in the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup and in 2019 was part of the first season of the worldwide league, the FIH Pro League. In August, she helped USA to a third-place finish at the Pan American Games in Peru and was part of the squad that performed an impressive comeback at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier against India, but the effort ultimately fell short.

Van Sickle retires from Team USA having competed in 148 international matches. During her six and half years, she recorded nine goals and was a key element on the defensive line and as a penalty corner inserter.

While reflecting on her career, Van Sickle said her experience with Team USA was one she would not trade for the world.

“Craig Parnham gave me the opportunity to be a part of a culture that truly changed my life,” commented Van Sickle. “Representing my country was always a dream of mine, but I could never have imagined how much it has shaped my life and made me into the woman I am today. The teammates and coaches I have met through playing field hockey will be my friends/mentors for life.”

“Some of my fondest memories are not even the biggest competition moments, but rather the day in and day out hard work we put in, the hundreds of meals, training sessions and time spent traveling with my teammates and all of the laughs we shared along the way,” continued Van Sickle. “I will cherish those small moments we shared more than anything else.”

Van Sickle is a Rio 2016 Olympian and said participating in that athletic milestone is something she will never forget.

“I look back now and am so thankful I was a part of something so special,” remarked Van Sickle. “Representing your country on a world stage is a dream of any athlete but being with such a talented and hard working group who truly cared about one another like family really was the ultimate for me. Being surrounded by world class athletes every minute of my day was inspiring.”

Van Sickle’s career would not have been possible without the support of countless individuals. First and foremost, she would like to thank her family. Her mother, father, sister Taylor, Mom Mom and Pop Pop and the rest of her family who followed her journey throughout the years.

“Thank you so much for being my number one fans and always supporting me wherever I was in the world,” said Van Sickle. “You have always encouraged me to follow my dreams and for that I am forever grateful. Your work ethic and dedication to be the best you can be inspired me every single day. I look up to you all and appreciate all you have sacrificed for me to be where I am today.”

“I would also like to thank all of my coaches along the way who have influenced my career by giving me the chance to be myself, but for also pushing me to be my best,” continued Van Sickle. “Robin Adair, Karen Shelton, Craig Parhnam and Janneke Schopman. You all have had a positive influence on my career and made me into the player and athlete I have become throughout the years. Thank you for giving me that chance.”

Van Sickle’s future plans are still being worked out but hopes to be a college coach one day where she can help the youth of the United States develop and have the opportunities to experience some of the same things she did as an athlete.

USA Field Hockey would like to wish Van Sickle the best of luck in her future endeavors.

USFHA media release

Record Pan Am Elite pick for T&T’s Browne

By Nigel Simon

Former T&T captain, England-based Kwandwane Browne, was selected for a sixth time to the Pan American Hockey Federation Elite Team, a record he shares with Canadian defender Scott Tupper. Nigel Simon

For­mer T&T cap­tain, Eng­land-based Kwand­wane Browne, was se­lect­ed for a re­mark­able sixth time to the Pan Amer­i­can Hock­ey Fed­er­a­tion’s Elite Team, a record he now shares with Cana­di­an de­fend­er Scott Tup­per.

Since 2007, Pan Amer­i­can Elite Teams have been named every two years to recog­nise the top play­ers in Pan Amer­i­can com­pe­ti­tions in both gen­ders. This year’s teams were se­lect­ed af­ter hock­ey spe­cial­ists at the 2019 Pan Amer­i­can Games in Li­ma, Pe­ru, were con­sult­ed.

The 2019 men’s Pan Amer­i­can Elite Team is led by vet­er­an Browne, who played the last match­es of a long and il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer for T&T in Li­ma.

Browne was on the first PAHF Elite Team back in 2009 and on­ly missed mak­ing the 2015 Elite squad due to in­jury.

At the oth­er end of the spec­trum, six play­ers made their first ap­pear­ance on the Elite ros­ter, in­clud­ing Li­ma lo­cal hero Fab­rizio Corno, cap­tain of the Pe­ru­vian team at the Pan Amer­i­can Games.

Pan Amer­i­can Cup fi­nal­ists Ar­genti­na and Cana­da have the strongest rep­re­sen­ta­tion with five and four play­ers re­spec­tive­ly. The achieve­ments of the USA and Chile, semi­fi­nal­ists in Lan­cast­er, were re­ward­ed with the nom­i­na­tion of two and three play­ers re­spec­tive­ly.

Al­to­geth­er, the 2019 Pan Amer­i­can Elite Team is made up of play­ers from six dif­fer­ent coun­tries: Ar­genti­na (5), Cana­da (4), Chile (3), USA (2), Trinidad & To­ba­go (1) and Pe­ru (1). The women’s Elite Team is head­ed by Ar­gen­tin­ian stal­wart Silv­ina d’Elia, who was out­stand­ing in an­chor­ing her team in the key match­es in Li­ma, scor­ing two goals in the fi­nal. She is sur­round­ed by four team­mates, Agusti­na Al­ber­tar­rio, Juli­eta Janku­nas, Rosario Luchet­ti and Car­la Re­bec­chi.

Chilean Camil­la Caram is the on­ly play­er ap­pear­ing for the fifth time on the Elite ros­ter, while her team­mate Clau­dia Schuler was cho­sen for the fourth time as goal-keep­er (fol­low­ing 2009, 2013 and 2017). Cana­di­an strik­er Bri­enne Stairs is al­so mak­ing her fourth Elite ap­pear­ance.

Pan Amer­i­can Cup fi­nal­ists Ar­genti­na and Cana­da dom­i­nat­ed the vot­ing, with five play­ers se­lect­ed for Ar­genti­na and four for Cana­da, while se­mi-fi­nal­ists USA and Chile were recog­nised with two and three play­ers re­spec­tive­ly.

Al­to­geth­er, five coun­tries are rep­re­sent­ed on the Elite Team: Ar­genti­na (5), Cana­da (4), Chile (3), USA (2) and Uruguay (2).

The Trinidad Guardian

Shocked Malaysian women hockey players want coach Dharmaraj to carry on


KUALA LUMPUR: National women hockey players Nur Aisyah Yaacob and Kirandeep Kaur are shocked that K. Dharmaraj will not be their coach any longer.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have decided not to extend the contract of Dharmaraj and five other local coaches – Stephen van Huizen, Mohd Nasihin Nubli, Nor Saiful Zaini, Lailin Abu Hasan and Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi, whose services end this month.

The decision came in the wake of the Malaysian men’s team’s failure to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games last month.

Aisyah and Kirandeep said the national team want Dharmaraj to carry on with his job.

They have improved in every aspect of the game under his guidance.

Aisyah is still reeling from the shock.

“Dharmaraj is a dedicated coach, who has helped the national team perform well in tournaments since he took over the team in January, 2016,” said Aisyah.

He also led the team to finish second in the World League Second Round in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 to qualify in the World League Semi-finals for the first time in Belgium last year.

“Our world ranking improved from 20 in the world to 18 this year,” she said.

“He gave me a chance to play with the national team in 2016, and I’ve great respect for him.

“I was out of action due to knee injury last year but he called me to join the national indoor team in October.

“Then, with just a short preparation time, he guided us to win gold in the SEA Games in the Philippines.”

Kirandeep was also surprised that the MHC are letting Dharmaraj go.

“He is more than a coach, he always motivates us.

“He helped the team to put up a strong challenge against Asian and European teams,” said the 16-year-old Kirandeep from SMK Bukit Bandaraya.

“In the FIH Series Finals in Banbridge, Ireland, in June, we put up a good fight against Ireland, the world runners-up, before going down 2-1.

“I was only 15 when Dharmaraj called me up for national training in June last year and he gave me the chance to play in the Asian Games in Jakarta last year.

“He switched my position from forward to midfield and I made progress in my game.

“We want Dharmaraj to continue to train the national women’s team as he has a proven track record,” she added.

The Star of Malaysia

HNZ Board looking toward the future

2019 is rapidly coming to a close and 2020 dawns nearer and nearer.  It has been a successful year for our Vantage Black Sticks teams, putting in some strong performances in the inaugural FIH Pro League as well as building towards (and achieving) their ultimate goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.  We can all look forward to seeing some quality International Hockey next year.

The purpose of this note is to outline a recent process the Board has gone through to identify the skills required on the Board over the next two or three years as natural succession comes into play.  I am really hopeful that by sharing our needs early, the Hockey Community can put our collective thinking caps on and encourage those with the necessary skills to put themselves forward to assist with the governance of our sport.  Often we leave this process too late and capable people do not get the opportunity to consider the contribution they can make before the formal process gets underway. 

At the AGM in April there will be three vacancies: an elected female position, an elected male position and an appointed position which, to ensure our board diversity is maintained, will be a female position. The elected female position has been vacant since the 2019 AGM and Shane Collins has indicated that she will stand for that position as her appointed term comes to an end.

The elected male position comes about as Andrew Gaze will not be seeking re-election given broader commitments.  Andrew has made a tremendous impact on Hockey with his deep commercial and sponsorship experience.  Our commercial revenues have grown strongly over this time, with a number of quality commercial partnerships in place and further opportunities to chase.

Over and above the full board roles that exist, there is also an opportunity for people to be co-opted onto Board sub-committees – particularly Audit Finance & Risk; People and Culture; Commercial; and Major events.  These sub-committees provide a great opportunity for people to get a taste of Hockey Governance without being formally on the board.  Previous board members have progressed to the full board through these committees and found it to be a simpler process with less time needed to get up to speed with the full board role. This also provides a great opportunity for us to broaden our diversity both from a geographic, cultural and age perspective.

So as we enter 2020, the key skills the Board feels it needs over the next period are as follows:

    Commercial, Sponsorship and marketing experience
    Sophisticated Project or change management experience
    Independent Governance experience (i.e. not necessarily from within hockey) particularly in the context of financial and risk frameworks
    Connectivity with Government and other grassroots funding organisations

We also remain conscious that in addition to having a strong mix of skills, our board continues to require deep hockey/sporting DNA and connection, with a strong understanding of what drives our hockey communities.

Please think hard about people in your communities who you feel could help Hockey as a sport to keep moving forward.  We are blessed with a great game and great people and an even bigger opportunity to move forward in these modern times.

Merry Christmas and have a happy and safe holiday break.

Chair Hockey New Zealand Board

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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