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News for 29 May 2020

All the news for Friday 29 May 2020

Hockey legends to talk about how to be World No 1

By Jugjet Singh

FILE PIX: S. Kumar.

TWO-TIME World Best Goalkeeper David Harte and the legendary S. Kumar will be the "mouth-watering" speakers during a Malaysia Hockey Confederation's (MHC) Webinar on June 5.

The moderator will be Arul Selvaraj, a former national men's juniors and seniors coach.

Irishman Harte is no stranger to Malaysian hockey fans. Those who have met him, when he was playing in the Malaysia Hockey League, know how friendly and accommodating, the gentle 1.96m giant is, for pictures and autographs

The Webinar will be held at 8pm Malaysian time, and the topic is "What it takes to be a world No 1 goalkeeper".

"This will be my second Webinar with the MHC, and I believe it will be another exhilarating experience," said Arul, who is based in Dublin, Ireland.

MHC held their first Webinar on May 16 and the topic was "Creating a Winning Touch."

"Having a good goalkeeper is what a team need to be confident in attack and also defence, and Malaysia always have had a steady hand between the posts with Kumar as an excellent example," said Arul.

Arul coaches University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the MHL, and with David Harte on his side, his team snatched a treble: Charity Shield, League title and TNB Cup this season.

"Harte and Kumar have vast experience playing in many top-notch tournaments and fans, as well as hockey coaches, can pick their brains during the Webinar," said Arul.

Harte was named FIH Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016 and 2017.

Harte, who captained Ireland to their first Olympic Games in 108 years when the Green Machine qualified for the Rio Olympics, also won Goalkeeper of the Tournament awards at the 2014 Champions Challenge in Malaysia and the 2015 EuroHockey Nations Championship.

Kumar, who is Malaysia's most distinguished goalkeeper, retired from competitive hockey in February after a 20-year career spanning 321 international matches since 1999.

The Tampin-born Kumar is now attending Level Two online coaching courses, as he wants to help the nation nurture goalkeepers.

One of Kumar's most memorable achievements was being named as the Best Goalkeeper in the World League Round Three in London, where he helped Malaysia finish fourth and qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

New Straits Times

Nothing beats first time representing your country, says rising star Lalremsiami

On Friday 3March 2017, an immensely gifted 16-year-old from the north-east Indian state of Mizoram was given her first taste of international hockey. India’s Eves were playing in the second of a five-match series against Belarus in Bhopal, and Head Coach Sjoerd Marijne was keen to see what she was capable of. It was an opportunity that she grabbed with both hands, scoring a final minute penalty corner to give India a 2-1 victory over the Belarusians.

The player in question, Lalremsiami, is now 20 years old. She has not just established herself in the Indian national team, she is also recognised as one of the most exciting young prospects in the game. Seven months after her debut, she was part of the India team that won the 2017 Asia Cup title in Kakamigahara (JPN) before a busy 2018 saw her play and compete in the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup 2018 (London, ENG), 2018 Asian Games (Jakarta, INA) and the 3rd Youth Olympic Games (Buenos Aires, ARG), winning silver medals in both Jakarta and Buenos Aires as well as being named Asian Rising Star.

2019 was another fine year on the field for the youngster, winning the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima (JPN) as well securing a ticket to the now-delayed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 thanks to a thrilling 6-5 aggregate victory over USA in Bhubaneswar. Her stellar performances saw her named the 2019 FIH Women’s Rising Star of the Year, another accolade in the life of a young player still very much in the early stages of her international playing career.

Off the field, however, 2019 was tinged with tragedy. Lalremsiami’s father passed away back home during the course of the competition in the FIH Women’s Series Finals event in Hiroshima. Despite her grief, the young athlete showed incredible mental resilience to continue playing. After the event, she said: “I wanted to make my father proud. I wanted to stay, play and make sure India qualified.”

Speaking to FIH from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus in Bengaluru – where the Indian men’s and women’s national core probable athletes are following individual training plans in their rooms, being monitored online by their coaching staff – Lalremsiami looks back at her career and encourages young players to stay happy and never stop believing in themselves.

Hi Lalremsiami, thanks for talking to us. It has been nearly three years since you made your debut for India, despite the fact that you have only just turned 20! How do you reflect on these incredible moments, and what is your biggest future ambition with the India team?

Lalremsiami: “I believe it‘s been a learning curve for me personally and for the team. In the past few years we have been playing together for a while now, and it shows in the way we play. I believe I have been very fortunate to play for India at such great tournaments early in my career. I think ultimate goal for any hockey player is to represent your country at the Olympics and try to do well for the country.”

Who or what first influenced you to pick up a stick and play hockey?

Lalremsiami: “During my school days we had hockey as a sport. That is how I started playing hockey.”

Who has been the biggest influence on your career and why?

Lalremsiami: “The biggest influencers and my biggest supporters have been my parents. They have always pushed me to do my best and keep going, no matter what. I cannot ever thank them enough for all they have done for me.”

How would you best describe your playing style or attitude on the pitch?

Lalremsiami: “I think of myself as a calm person. I try to keep cool in any situation, and always play [my] best. We always focus on our goal and try our best until the end, not giving up.”

What moment on the pitch are you most proud of and why?

Lalremsiami: There has been a few moments in my [short] career. I don’t think anything beats the feeling of the first moment you represent your country, wearing the Indian jersey. I have been fortunate to have been part of the team that played in the World Cup [London, 2018] and qualifying for the Olympics [last year] made all of us very proud.”

What would be the best advice you could give to aspiring young hockey players?

Lalremsiami: “Train hard, work hard, believe in yourself. Set yourself small and achievable goals, and work towards them. But, most importantly, be happy doing all of these things, and never give up on yourself.”

What have you been doing to stay active and healthy during the ongoing COVID-19 global health crisis?

Lalremsiami: “As you are much aware, the Indian women’s hockey team has been involved in a fundraising campaign to help feed 1000 families. We did small and exciting challenges using social media, and now we achieved our goal. As usual, I am doing workout to stay active, and keep myself fit and healthy.”

Profile*: Lalremsiami – India
Position:  Forward
Shirt number: 20
Age: 20
International appearances: 64
International Goals: 22
Place of birth: Kolasib, Mizoram (IND)

You can follow Lalremsiami on Facebook and Instagram.

* Information correct as of 29 May 2020.

FIH site

Ashley Jackson: “That will forever be one of my greatest memories"

Ashley Jackson Returns 2019 FIH Pro League

Ashley Jackson’s return to international hockey was an emotional moment for many last year, most of all for the player himself.

He made his return to the Great Britain fold in a thrilling 2-2 draw with The Netherlands last June, having not pulled on an international shirt since the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Despite having played more than 230 times for England and GB at the time, the midfielder admitted being overcome by a wave of feelings as he sang the national anthem for the first time in nearly three years.

Speaking to the Ian Sloan Hockey Podcast anout the game, the 32-year-old said: “That is right up there with one of my favourite memories.

“Once the anthem started and we were in our line I got very emotional and I did not expect that to happen. The last time it happened was before the EuroHockey final in 2009 [England won gold that day].

“I was excited and happy to be there and I wanted to play but to have that emotion come over you and for it to be unexpected was really powerful for me and showed that I did love what I was doing and that I wanted to be great at doing it.

“That will forever be one of my greatest memories.

“Going into the game, it felt a little bit like my first cap. There was a lot going on, people all over the place, it was very fast. A remember doing a couple of pitch lengths and was basically knackered. But before long it felt comfortable again. Once I got past the first couple of minutes of the game it felt very comfortable and just felt like another game.

“If I was not supposed to be there to do what I could do then I wouldn’t have been there. It was a case of just delivering my game and enjoying myself while I was doing it.

“It was a great game to be part of, against the Dutch and it was nice that Seve van Ass was on the other team. It was good fun.”

Since then Jackson had played every game for Great Britain as they continued preparations towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, only for the Games to be pushed back by a year due to Covid-19.

As well as using the break to look after his body, Jackson has also watched the hit Netflix series ‘The Last Dance’ which followed legendary basketball player Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls team during the 1997/98 season.

Not only did he find it a great watch, Jackson admitted that it has made him look forward to eventually getting back on the training pitch once it is safe to do so.

“That is really inspirational and really does motivate you,” he said about the programme.

“It’s a shame we can’t be on the pitch. Say we didn’t train for a week, everyone went away and watched it and then came back to training I think there would be a noticeable difference. It would be really interesting to see, as most will have watched it, how the group are when we get back together and when training looks.

“I love training when it gets to around selection time. It gets feisty, it gets hot under the collar, emotions start to come out, passion starts to come out and the hockey gets better. It starts to become more like the big, important games.

“As long as you have the respect for each other and recognise that everyone is trying to make themselves better and everyone around them better and the team better, they’re moments that you can’t recreate. They just have to happen organically and, ultimately, I believe they bring everyone together.

“One of the quotes from The Last Dance from Michael Jordan is that if you can’t accept his challenge in training, how can you accept the challenge of the opposing team in a play-off game? I think that’s gold.”

With the prospect of appearing at a fourth Olympics on the horizon, Jackson is also determined to combine the inspiration from the programme with the disappointment of Rio 2016 to ensure it’s his best Games yet.

Having finished fourth at London 2012 – GB’s best result since winning gold in 1988 – the team could only finish ninth in Rio four years later and England and GB’s record goalscorer is determined to avoid any sort of repeat.

“I do not wish to go to another Olympics Games and do what happened in Rio,” he said.

“I’m not back playing international hockey because I want to experience that again. And if I thought that that was going to happen or if I thought I couldn’t have any influence on that happening or our results I absolutely wouldn’t be back.”

Great Britain Hockey media release

From First Gold Medal to Continued Preparation, U.S. O-60 Women’s Masters Team Reflects

One year ago, the U.S. O-60 Women’s Masters Team won the first ever gold medal in international masters history. As the team prepares for the World Masters Hockey World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, now taking place in September 2021, they reflected back on all the things that made last year’s trip a success.

On making the team:

“I immediately felt welcomed into a new family. A family of intelligent, kind, inclusive, funny, talented athletes whose years of experience in the [field] hockey world I was in awe of. The love and support each woman showed me daily will never be forgotten.” - Josie Worthington, Owings Mills, Md.

“The experience was extra special for us because we started out playing [field] hockey together when we were 12 years old. Back then, they did not have girls’ sports in junior high school and our hockey player moms taught us how to play. Until Belgium, the last time we had played on the same team was with our 1976 Quakertown High School Buxmont Championship team.” - Diane Angstadt, Middletown, Pa. & Jane Shaw Cygan, Quakertown, Pa.

“I have to say that I was nervous that I wouldn’t meet the challenge. I had never played internationally before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My main thought and the one that made me step up my game was the thought that I didn’t want to let these amazing, strong, teammates of mine down!” - Sue Mota, Flemington, N.J.

On playing at the Grand Master Hockey European Trophy and traveling to Belgium:

“The tournament hosts welcomed USA with open arms, the opposing teams were friendly and supportive, and it was a joy to be playing against other women our own age who possessed our same passion for field hockey. -  Linda Kreiser, Middletown, Pa., captain

“Warming up before a game in the forest of Antwerp was an incredibly unforgettable experience. Singing our national anthem while standing shoulder to shoulder with my teammates still gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.” - Sandy Martinez, Lakeside, Calif.

“Going to Belgium was a wonderful experience that gave me a chance to play internationally and to meet players, both men and woman, from around the world. To be a part of the first U.S. O-60 Women’s Masters Team and to bring a home a gold medal was truly amazing. - Pam Sherry, Collegeville, Pa.

“Food, glorious food! When in Belgium... get the waffles! Part of our adventure into Antwerp Central was finding a true Belgian “wafel” - and after much searching, we found the perfect place at Broodjes Wafels., but truthfully the place found us. After a long walk to the cathedral from the train station, pauses for pictures and “quick” souvenir stops (look! magnets! postcards!) we needed a place to sit (ice for Di’s knee). A very kind and helpful waiter explained the difference between the Belgian and French wafels - lighter and crisper versus denser and sweeter. We were very happy to have the light and crispy style with chocolate and whipped cream on the side. Delicious to the last crumb.”  - Deb Atkins, Quarryville, Pa.

On winning:

“With only two weekends of total team practices, I was amazed at how well gelled as a team both on and off the field.” - Jeri Myers, Parkesburg, Pa.

“Each game we kept getting better and better. We were able to come together from all regions across the country to accomplish something great. Everyone had the same mindset, to play great [field] hockey to the best of our ability. During the final game the team never stopped playing from the time the whistle blew to start the game, to the time the whistle blew to stop the game. Receiving our medals and standing on the stage with Kreis[er] holding the trophy is a true cherished memory!”  - Cathy Jackson, Wilmington, Del.

“Playing the 0-60 European Trophy championship game in the Dragon’s club beautiful hockey stadium was such an amazing experience. I told myself over and over not to be distracted by the game clock which faced the second half goal I was defending. And when the gold medal game ended, I looked for our center back Rudy to say, “We did it!” The celebration was beautiful!” - Lorraine Lewis, Bethesda, Md.

Looking ahead:

The team is staying connected with regular Zoom calls, weekly workouts and daily group chats. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to travel and train together in preparation for the World Cup in Cape Town in 2021. Check out the U.S. O-60 Women's Masters Team's ' Staying in Touch' video!

USFHA media release

Iren runs riot with goals – and wants more

High target: Iren Hussin (left) wants to be a regular with the Malaysian national women’s hockey squad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Iren Hussin has a habit of scoring goals.

The Kota Belud-born girl first hit the limelight when she converted 10 penalty corner goals to finish as top scorer in the National Under-16 tournament in 2016, earning herself a place in the national team to the Under-18 Asia Cup that year.

At the Philippines SEA Games indoor hockey even last December, she netted six goals as Malaysia swept to gold. Only Nur Aisyah Yaacob, with eight, had more goals than her.

The Sabahan who took up hockey at the age of 12 in 2013, plans to continue with her habit.

Now 19, she was called up for national junior training in February for the Junior Asia Cup, which had been scheduled to be held in Kakamigahara, Japan, in April.

The tournament has since been postponed but Iren remains hungry for more success.

“Scoring six goals in the SEA Games has motivated me to continue delivering for Malaysia in tournaments.

“I also want to be a regular player in the national junior as well in the national team. I will continue to train harder to be a solid defender and a penalty corner drag flicker,” said Iren, who has four older siblings – three brothers and a sister.

“I want to represent Malaysia in bigger tournaments like the Asia Cup, Asian Champions Trophy, Commonwealth and Asian Games,” said Iren, who is doing her pre-university studies at Malaysia Sabah Sports School in Kota Kinabalu.

Iren played for Sabah in the Under-19 Malaysian Junior Hockey League from 2015 until last year.

She has also played in the National Women’s League for four years, representing Terengganu for two years from 2017. She featured for home state Sabah last year.

The Star of Malaysia

Team GB women’s hockey gold edged out in best women’s sport moment

By Rod Gilmour

Nearly four years after Team GB women etched themselves into history, the hockey squad’s memorable, stop-the-nation performance has been voted second best British women’s sporting moment of all time in a BBC poll.

Great Britain were voted behind Jess Ennis-Hill’s captivating heptathlon gold at the London 2012 Olympics – which means that the Rio Olympic final win over the Dutch has been regarded as the best female team moment of all time.

The vote was announced on Five Live around the same time, albeit on a Thursday night, as Danny Kerry’s squad twice came back to level the final at 3-3 before Maddie Hinch’s heroics and that now famous leap by Hollie Pearne-Webb as she swept in the final shoot-out to spark wild scenes in millions of households and thousands of pubs across the UK on Friday August 16, 2016, as the match famously moved the BBC News across channels.

Speaking on Five Live, then captain Kate Richardson-Walsh said, like several other team-mates, that she still hadn’t watched that final back.

She said: “It’s so emotional. I’ve replayed every mistake I made that day in my head. Maybe when I’m a bit older we might sit down and watch it with our little girl.”

The BBC had run its a week-long poll with a formidable line up of powerful women’s sport performances over the years, including England cricket’s thrilling 2017 World Cup win, Beckie Adlington’s surging freestyle Olympic gold in 2008 and Europe’s equally-enthralling Solheim Cup golf win last year.

Hockey was left to contend with the most historical of the entrants, Virginia Wade’s Wimbledon win in 1977, England’s last second win over Australia to clinch Commonwealth netball gold in 2018 and Ennis-Hill. All formidable feats.

Far from being a definitive list, 18 athletes and BBC pundits had nominated one sport before it was opened up to a reader vote.

Ennis-Hill and Team GB completed a one-two for Olympic moments.

Richardson-Walsh added: “The power of the Olympics and the Paralympics – the nation gets completely gripped by it.

“I’m so gutted we haven’t got Tokyo this year because we have such great support in this country. The support completely blew our minds because we had no idea and to hear it now is just amazing.”

The BBC had run comments on its live text, with plenty opting for hockey, including Forever Dormo, who wrote: “Women’s GB Hockey team’s Gold Medal at the Rio Olympic Games was the standout women’s sporting moment. I’d say it was No 1, Kelly Holmes’ double 800/1500m gold in the Athens Olympics is at 2 & the Women’s Cricket World Cup win in 2017 comes in a great 3rd. ALL SOLID GOLD.”

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The Hockey Paper

Museum to have hockey legend’s portrait soon

The SGPC has announced to instal the portrait of hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior, who passed away on Monday, at the Central Sikh Museum in the Golden Temple complex here.

Gobind Singh Longowal, SGPC chief, said: “Balbir Singh Senior represented India in Olympics and hockey tournaments in his ‘Sikhi saroop’. The purpose of installing his portrait in the museum is that the younger generation should idolise him.”

The SGPC, meanwhile, has offered its inns to accommodate Punjabis who have been quarantined on returning to India.

He said Punjabis had complained about poor arrangements at hotels, where they have been quarantined. “Our inns have been transformed into quarantined zones as per the guidelines of the Union Health Ministry. They can be quarantined there free of cost,” he said.

The Tribune

New ‘normal’ sweeps away many barriers to hockey participation

Sarah Juggins

It’s the new normal! In the wake of the Covid-19 situation, we are starting to reinvent many of the ways in which things get done, and that includes hockey.

Of course, the very essence of the sport will always involve physical competition between two teams but, when it comes to education, development and learning, some aspects are likely to be carried out in a very different way as we move towards into the next stages of this Covid-19 era.

When the virus first struck, there was a sensation of reeling from a blow. How could we continue to interact and engage with people when social contact was potentially life-threatening? Very quickly, however, technology stepped in to provide the answer and hockey was quick to jump on-board.

That the hockey community has been able to respond so quickly to the necessary restrictions imposed by governments around the world has been testimony to the innovation and creativity within our sport. But increased employment of technology has also been something that was perhaps waiting to happen and just needed a cataclysmic event to move things forward. Covid-19 seems to have pushed the digital world further forwards in three months than we would normally have moved in three years.

PAHF has embraced this approach wholeheartedly with a strong line-up of experts to host and run webinars and online workshops keeping the hockey community connected. The various online activities are all designed to inform, entertain and enhance learning among the hockey workforce – in the modern lexicon, this is to ‘edu-tain’.

Of course, online courses are nothing new; before Covid-19 struck, PAHF was delivering online courses. In the past two years more than 500 people have taken part in an online educational course organized or supported by the continental federation. It is just that now, with restrictions in place, such courses are a necessity, not a nice-to-have extra.

However, driven by a number of passionate hockey experts, the PAHF online program has accelerated. Since March 31, there have been 29 webinars delivering education and information to umpires, coaches, technical officials and goalkeepers. These have been delivered in both Spanish and English and have attracted more than 1,600 participants.

Among those delivering the webinars are some of the most exceptional practitioners in their respective fields.

With Chiche Mendoza, a FIH Master Coach, as the Coaching Advisor, the panel of international coaching experts include: Javier Telechea, Juan Manuel Casas, Ernesto Lucero, Anthony Marcano, Vicky Carbo, William Gaudette, Nico Tixe and Veronica Planella.

Goalkeeping advice is being doled out by Argentina legend Laura del Colle, along with Ines Delgado and Tomas Santiago; while Soledad Iparraguirre, Diego Barbas and Roger St Rose are the highly experienced umpiring gurus.

Laura Pigretti is offering all her wisdom and advice as the Technical Officials Advisor. Among her team of mentors and trainers are Willard Harris, Maureen Craig-Rousseau and Rene Zelkin. Laura Macchiotti oversees all the webinars in her role as PAHF Moderator.

The amount of experience offered by this team is phenomenal and includes multiple Olympic Games, World Cups, Champions Trophies and Pan Am Games. The fact that up to 27 different nationalities are joining the webinars at any one time is testimony to the success and appeal of the series of online events.

In addition to the webinars, PAHF has also hosted its first Open Space Session. Attracting 14 participants from six national associations, Open Spaces is an open environment where the PAHF Education Panel gathers together a group of coaches, officials and umpires to discuss, openly, a whole range of issues around hockey.

PAHF’s Laura Macchiotti describes Open Space as: “An opportunity to engage in a new and more meaningful way; to discuss, share experiences and work together to develop further their careers.

PAHF invited participants to share knowledge and experiences, bring queries and advice, ask, confirm clarify and recommend.”

While the webinars are free for anyone to tap into, the online courses have fees attached. These courses all lead to further qualifications and run throughout the year – irregardless of the Covid-19 situation.

Among the online courses – which take place in Spanish and English – are Development Coach Levels 1, 2 and 3; Video Analysis; Fitness for Hockey Players; and Neuroscience applied to motor learning and training.

Argentina’s Laura (Lau) del Colle has been running coaching courses for nearly 15 years but she explains that she has had to radically re-think her delivery. “This is a new situation for all coaches around the world,” she says. In a bid to help educators, coaches and tutors deliver their courses online, Laura has launched an online course called Santander IE Best Practices in Digital Education, which helps support the transition to a digital educational environment.

Her own goalkeeping academy, Arqueros Okey, has also gone online and Laura is now using video conferences to train potential goalkeepers in their own homes. For the Olympic silver medalist, online courses will never replace the physical training sessions but they are a great complementary teaching aid. And they allow people from across the world to learn about the sport.

“In my opinion you can connect coaches, players and goalkeepers from all over the world by video conference. It is a really useful way of sharing knowledge and experience with the hockey family.”

As a nurse, Rene Zelkin, from the USA, has been on the frontline of the battle against Covid-19. But she has still managed to find time to get involved with the delivery of online courses for aspiring technical officials. She says there are definite benefits that have emerged as a result of taking the courses online.

“I have found the courses particularly engaging. As a member of the PAHF Competitions Committee, we have always worked to create courses for different regions within PAHF. The challenge has always been distance – due to the expansive area covered by the PAHF region. The knock-on effect has been high demands on travel and time – all of which is ultimately very costly.

“With the online courses, the ability for participation has been increased due to ability to participate from all over the PAHF region, while remaining in your own home. Costs and travel have been eliminated. The most important thing is the ability to have a stable internet connection.”

Rene says there are obvious limitations to delivering training via a digital medium, not least the missing engagement and interaction that happens when people are physically on a course together. Group work suffers in particular.

However, she adds: “Through the use of interactive technology like menti.com, participants can give feedback anonymously.  This increases participation and fosters learning. Additionally, use of questions throughout the presentation and pre-work to prepare the participants helps to increase active learning.”

While it is a situation that has been thrust upon us, the emergence of online education courses and webinars has achieved something that the PAHF hockey community has been seeking to do for years – it has opened up elements of the sport, connected people from different nations and broken down national borders in a way that had previously only been dreamt of.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

FIH and NAGRA sign a ten-year partnership to deliver a game changing digital experience for fans

The International Hockey Federation (FIH), the world’s governing body for the sport of hockey, and NAGRA, a Kudelski Group (SIX:KUD.S) company and the world's leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen video solutions, have signed a ten-year partnership that brings together the established sports leadership of the FIH and NAGRA’s market-leading digital media solutions to deliver a ground-breaking fan engagement service. The new platform will be the “home of hockey”, creating a central community for the 30 million players, fans, and officials worldwide. It will also benefit the global growth of the sport through new awareness, expanded fan engagement, and new sources of revenue for the FIH.

Deployed and operated by NAGRA as a “sports-as-a-service” offering, the multi-faceted digital platform will be developed for web, mobile and smart TVs. It will include live matches, replays, highlights, videos, archives, news, articles, live scores, results, and statistics, as well as innovative social sharing functionality where fans and participants can capture and share instant moments online. The new service will be launched simultaneously with the resumption of live international matches. In addition, the platform will provide the FIH, Continental Federations, National Associations and clubs with a centralized management service for their millions of participants and fans.

“With more than 30 million participants, the International Hockey Federation has always had great ambition for the worldwide promotion and development of its sport. Improving our digital engagement for the whole hockey community, and primarily our fans and athletes, has been one of our key objectives,” said Thierry Weil, FIH CEO.  “We are thrilled – especially in this challenging period – to engage in a long-term partnership with a global technology leader to achieve our goals. I want to thank NAGRA for their commitment and trust, we view this as a game-changing agreement that takes our digital development to the next level."

"This is the start of a wider journey that goes beyond just sports streaming,” said Jean-Luc Jezouin, SVP Sales Development for NAGRA. “With this partnership, we are taking field hockey into a realm of global digital transformation and harnessing the power of player participation as well as fandom. NAGRA's cloud-based video content management technologies and services and drive for innovative business transformation will enable the FIH to deliver a new level of engagement for the sport and provide hockey fans with an unmatched experience.”

About the International Hockey Federation (FIH)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is the world governing body for the sport of hockey, recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Founded in 1924, FIH today has 137 member National Associations. For more information on the Hockey Revolution, please visit: fih.ch/inside-fih/our-strategy


NAGRA, the digital TV division of the Kudelski Group (SIX:KUD.S), provides security and multiscreen user experience solutions for the monetization of digital media. The company offers content owners and digital TV service providers worldwide with secure, open and integrated platforms and applications over broadcast, broadband and mobile platforms, enabling compelling and personalized viewing experiences. Please visit dtv.nagra.com for more information and follow us on Twitter at @nagrakudelski and LinkedIn.

FIH site

International Hockey Federation in 10-year deal to launch new digital platform

By David Owen

The International Hockey Federation is to launch a new multimedia platform ©Getty Images

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is teaming up with NAGRA, the digital TV arm of the Kudelski Group, a Swiss technology company, to create a new multimedia platform that it hopes will develop into the "home" of the sport for its 30 million fans and practitioners worldwide.

The 10-year deal will see the development of a platform that embraces a website and mobile phone app as well as smart TV.

It is anticipated that content will include live matches, replays, highlights, videos, archive, news, live scores and statistics, together with a social-sharing capability enabling fans to capture and share "instant moments" online.

The new platform will also provide hockey administrators from the FIH down to club level with a centralised management service.

Launch is set to coincide with the resumption of live international hockey following the COVID-19-induced shutdown.

The federation, which last month announced that the second season of its Pro League had been extended through to June 2021, is currently hoping to be able to play some Pro League matches in the last quarter of 2020.

It acknowledges, however, that this will depend on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is an important day for the FIH," Thierry Weil, FIH chief executive, told insidethegames.

"The digital world is becoming more and more important.

"Improving our digital engagement for the whole hockey community, and primarily our fans and athletes, has been one of our key objectives.

"We are thrilled – especially in this challenging period – to engage in a long-term partnership with a global technology leader."

Jean-Luc Jezouin, a NAGRA senior vice president, told insidethegames: "Over the last 30 to 35 years…media and entertainment has gone very massively to direct-to-consumers.

"Sport is starting to do the same."

Of the FIH deal, he said: "This is the start of a wider journey that goes beyond just sports streaming.

"With this partnership, we are taking field hockey into a realm of global digital transformation…

"NAGRA's cloud-based video content management technologies and services…will enable the FIH to deliver a new level of engagement for the sport."

Launch is set to coincide with the resumption of live international hockey following the COVID-19-induced shutdown ©Getty Images

He suggested that the platform would also put at FIH's disposal a database covering most players of the sport.

"You can imagine [this] is a tremendous element for the federation to grow its sport and manage it," he said.

Asked whether the new platform would be free for fans, Weil said: "At the beginning it is a free service which will be delivered to fans.

"There will be times where we will charge for the service.

"As you can imagine, delivering all those elements which have been described will have some costs and therefore for certain elements we will need to start asking for small payments.

"We will only start asking for money when we are clear that the service we provide is worth the money we will ask for.

"First, we will open it for free, then we will showcase the services you can get on subscription, and after that we will need to analyse and set some clear goals together with NAGRA for what we want to do.

"If we provide the right service, I am convinced it will become also a source of revenue, but that is on a long-term basis."

According to Jezouin, NAGRA – which traces its origins back to a ground-breaking portable recorder launched in 1951 – has been involved in sport in a variety of ways for some 30 years.

Today, he says, La Liga Spanish football matches are distributed over NAGRA OTT systems.

"Nobody really knows it because it is going under somebody else's brand," he explains.

The group is also a long-term partner of the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Word of the new platform comes some 17 months after announcement of FIH.live, another global broadcast platform created in conjunction with mycujoo.

The FIH has told insidethegames that the deal with mycujoo will end on May 31.

FIH said mycujoo had been a "great partner", having played a "major role in our digital transformation journey" and "confirmed that there is a big appetite for digital hockey consumption globally".

Weil revealed this month that the FIH was reviewing all budgets and had gone into "complete savings mode" as it endeavours to cope with the financial shock unleashed by COVID-19 and Governments' response to it.

Inside the Games

Hockey well represented as IOC reveals Commissions for 2020

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has revealed the composition of its Commissions for 2020, with various members of the hockey family being named on these important working groups.

Joining an IOC Commission for the first time is FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, who has been chosen for the Olympic Channel Commission. Additionally, FIH Executive Board Members Marijke Fleuren and Tayyab Ikram have been reappointed to the Women in Sport and Olympic Solidarity Commissions respectively, with former Germany superstar Moritz Fürste, who as a player won Olympic gold at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, continuing his role on the ‘Sport and Active Society Commission.'

Dr Robin E. Mitchell, the President of the Fiji Hockey Association and a long time representative of hockey with the Olympic movement, continues to sit on the Coordination for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020 and the IOC Members Election Commissions respectively, as well as participating alongside Marijke Fleuren on the Women in Sport Commission. Dr Mitchell is also the Vice-Chair the of the Medical and Scientific Commission, and Chair of the Olympic Solidarity Commission.

In a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, Dr Batra – who became an IOC member in June 2019 – expressed his gratitude for selection. “I am deeply honoured and thankful to be appointed as a Member of the Olympic Channel Commission and happily accept this appointment”, said Dr Batra. “It is a matter of immense pride to further serve in the IOC in this additional role.”

European Hockey Federation (EHF) President Marijke Fleuren and Tayyab Ikram, the Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF), also gave their reactions to the respective reappointments.

Marijke Fleuren said: “I am honoured and grateful to Thomas Bach and his friends within IOC to be able to continue the work I am doing within FIH and EHF. I am in the unique position that I can swap the ‘talk’ about EquallyAmazing in a ‘walk’ by continuously delivering the routes handed out by IOC and our Erasmus+ partner SwinG to all our National Associations. Piece by piece I see women’s self-confidence growing, supported by men. I see them taking the hurdles and making the next step with their heads upright.”

Tayyab Ikram said: “I’m delighted to be part of the Olympic movement, particularly the Olympic Solidarity Commission as its main objectives are to assist sport development and athletes. And these objectives are also two key pillars of what I want to do in my life. This Commission plays an important role to accomplish the IOC vision.”

It is fantastic news that the hockey family continues to be well represented in the IOC Commissions – congratulations to all on their respective appointments.

For more information on the IOC Commissions, click here.

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