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News for 25 June 2020

All the news for Thursday 25 June 2020

Global hockey community united in its support of Olympic Day

Photo credit: Hockey India

Were these normal times then the hockey world would have been in a high state of anticipation with just over a month to go before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 got underway. The IOC’s national day of celebration in Olympic year is a fantastic prelude to the main event.

But, although these are far from normal times, the international hockey community has pulled out all the stops when it comes to celebrating the greatest multi-sport show of them all. Hockey players and hockey fans from across the world showed innovation, creativity and a determination to celebrate the annual IOC Olympic Day with a whole range of hockey-focused events and activities.

Central to the hockey activities were the three themes of this year’s IOC campaign: #StayStrong, #StayHealthy and #StayActive. All three – mental strength, healthy living and getting fit – are particularly pertinent to people across the globe right now, as just about everyone has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the Pacific Islands, the National Associations of Tonga and Vanuatu organised hockey activities in some of the smaller village communities that lie just outside the city.

Neighbouring Tonga saw the Tonga Hockey Federation join forces for the fourth consecutive year with the National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) to run activities that promoted Olympic values. Hockey players of all abilities came together with participants from a wide range of other Olympic sports in events organised by sports federations. There was also a hockey festival for primary school children, which was the culmination of several weeks of coaching activity – that had taken place before lockdown was imposed.

In Pakistan, national team players past and present were encouraged to communicate with fans around the themes highlighted during Olympic Day. Using video clips, online discussions and written messages, the athletes demonstrated their stick and ball skills and shared their online fitness training tips. Olympians were asked to write essays of up to 300 words about their own experiences of the Olympics.

Also in Asia, the Chinese Taipei Hockey Association was in a position to bring people together to enjoy playing hockey. To mark Olympic Day, the National Association held a series of competitions for people ranging in age from 10-55, with participants of all levels having a go at the sport.

Things got very artistic in Paraguay as the Paraguay Hockey Federation published a series of flyers showing how hockey can help people get, and stay, fit and healthy. The message was loud and clear – hockey is good for the mind and body.

Another PAHF nation, Argentina, has a proud tradition at the Olympics and this was summed up by a message posted on social media by Las Leonas superstar Delfina Merino. Two images – the Olympic Hoops and the pitch at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 – combined with the simple message: ‘Feliz dia Olympic’.

Merino also joined forces with team mates Maria Granatto and Carla Rebecchi as well as Great Britain's Susannah Townsend and the Netherlands Jeroen Hertzberger to take fans through a real-time Olympic Day workout through various Instagram Lives.

Across the European Hockey Federation, individual athletes and teams took to social media to spread the Olympic Day message. The French Federation called on its athletes to send video messages supporting the IOC campaign of #StayStrong, #StayHealthy and #StayActive. Alyson Annan, Head Coach of the Netherlands posted an image of the gold medal winning Australia team from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with the words: “A privilege and a honour to be part of such a great team.”

In the Czech Republic, the National Association held a two-day hockey camp for U18 girls. Development officer Karolina Paterson explained that the camp was not purely about playing hockey but was aligned to the wide message of living a healthy lifestyle and keeping fit both physically and mentally.

Meanwhile, in the African nation of Botswana, the message was clear and simple. All forms of social media were harnessed by the Botswana Hockey Association to push out powerful videos that showed that hockey is very much a sport to be enjoyed by everyone.

And in South Africa, the National Association was delighted to receive more than 400 video clips in response to its request for members of the hockey family to post video clips of themselves staying active. At the same time, across the nation, schools participated in a national online competition where participants could show case their skills.

We might have to wait a while longer for the Olympic Games to burst into action in Tokyo, but this Olympic Day has shown that the appetite for Olympic action within the hockey community is as strong as ever.

FIH site

New Zealand legend Gemma McCaw calls time on international career

Following an illustrious career for the Black Sticks which started in 2008 at the age of 18, New Zealand striker Gemma McCaw [née Flynn] has decided to call time on her impressive career. McCaw went to three Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016) with the New Zealand side and played an integral role in helping the team to fourth-place finishes at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympiads.

After Rio 2016, McCaw took time away from the game. However, after giving birth in December 2018, she made a stunning return to the turf in 2019 at New Zealand’s Ford National Hockey League, (NHL) showing that she had lost none of her incredible speed or her eye for goal as she finished as the competition’s leading scorer, earning a National Contract for the 2020 hockey season in the process.

In her return game for the Black Sticks, McCaw wasted little time in reminding everyone what they had been missing since 2016, scoring a superb goal against Belgium’s Red Panthers in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020. Before the interruption, she played her 250th match for New Zealand in a drawn game against Great Britain women.

in a message to her fans and followers on Instagram. McCaw explained the reasons behind her decision.

“When I came out of retirement to re-join the Black Sticks last year, I was so excited to be back playing and working towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. No one could’ve imagined a global pandemic getting in the way of that dream, but there are things beyond our control. Lockdown taught me many things, but most importantly those seven weeks at home brought into focus just how important family is. So, with that in mind, I’ve made the decision to end my Black Sticks journey here.

“I am so glad I gave it another shot and I’m proud to have done this as a Mum, but I feel it’s time now to focus on our family. I’d like to thank my coach Graham [Shaw] and my teammates for their support as well as my family and friends. A very special mention to my husband [former New Zealand rugby star Ritchie McCaw] for his unwavering encouragement and being the best Dad to Lottie that we could ever ask for. To my little girl, I love you beyond words, thank you for travelling so well and being my motivation each step of the way. And last but certainly not least, my heart-felt thanks goes to my amazing mum, who gave up a year of her life to support us. This would not have been possible without you. It takes a village, and I’m so grateful for mine #thankyou

Speaking about the news, Black Sticks women’s head coach Graham Shaw said: “Gemma really impressed me with her hard-working attitude from the very start. She is not only a great player but a fantastic person that will be greatly missed in the Black Sticks program. I would like to wish Gemma and her family all the very best for the future.”

In her final performance for the Black Sticks, McCaw played an instrumental role to helping the Kiwis beat second-ranked Argentina 5-3, in front of her adopted hometown at Ngā Puna Wai in Christchurch. She finishes her international career with 254 caps and a hugely impressive 72 goals.

On behalf of the international hockey community, the FIH would like to congratulate Gemma McCaw on her superb career and wish her every success in the years ahead.

More information about Gemma McCaw’s retirement can be found here.

FIH site

'Very special': Black Sticks great Gemma McCaw announces international retirement

Sam Wilson

Gemma McCaw has called time on her long Black Sticks career after making 254 appearances and scoring 72 goals. Kai Schwoerer/Getty-Images

Black Sticks veteran Gemma McCaw has announced her retirement from international hockey.

The surprise announcement on Wednesday night follows the postponement of this year's Tokyo Games, where McCaw had been aiming to make her fourth Olympics appearance.

McCaw said it had been "very special" to represent her country but it was time to hang up her stick and spend more time with family.

"When I came out of retirement to rejoin the Black Sticks last year, I was so excited to be back playing and working towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," McCaw wrote in an Instagram post.

"No-one could’ve imagined a global pandemic getting in the way of that dream, but there are things beyond our control. Lockdown taught me many things, but most importantly those seven weeks at home brought into focus just how important family is. So, with that in mind, I’ve made the decision to end my Black Sticks journey here.

"I am so glad I gave it another shot and I’m proud to have done this as a mum, but I feel it’s time now to focus on our family."

The 30-year-old McCaw was part of the New Zealand team in Beijing in 2008 and also helped the Black Sticks achieve fourth-place finishes at the London and Rio Games.

She made her international debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and went on to make 254 appearances in the black singlet, scoring 72 goals.

Following the 2016 Rio Games she decided to take time away from the game, giving birth to her first child with her husband, All Blacks legend Richie McCaw, in December 2018.

But McCaw made a stunning return to the field last year in the National Hockey League, finishing as the competition's leading scorer.

After a three-year-absence, she then returned to play for the Black Sticks in February, scoring in her first game back, a 2-1 loss to Belgium in Auckland.

Her final international appearance came in a thrilling 5-3 win over world No 2 Argentina in Christchurch on March 1, weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the world of sport to shutdown.

McCaw said she looked forward to "spending quality time with my family, keeping fit and healthy and focusing on my work in the health and wellbeing space" now that she had retired.

"I will also enjoy watching my team play and can’t wait to cheer them on next year."

McCaw said returning for the Black Sticks earlier this year was a memory she would cherish forever.

“Since coming back into the team, it was a real highlight to run out on the field and sing the national anthem alongside my team-mates in front of my family and seeing my daughter [Charlotte] in the crowd."

She would miss the camaraderie with team-mates and "working together each week to make your team and country proud".

Black Sticks coach Graham Shaw said McCaw would be "greatly missed" and wished her well for the future.

"Gemma really impressed me with her hard-working attitude from the very start. She is not only a great player but a fantastic person."

McCaw's standout season came in 2009 when she was nominated for the FIH Women’s Young Player of the Year Award. Other highlights of her long career include a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and bronze in Glasgow four years later.

View her retirement post on Instagram


Gemma McCaw calls time on hockey career

Hockey star Gemma McCaw has announced her retirement from the game. Photo / NZ Black Sticks

Hockey star Gemma McCaw has called time on her career, retiring after a brief return to the Black Sticks.

McCaw broke the news on social media on Wednesday night, saying the Covid-19 pandemic had derailed the Olympic hopeful's plans.

"When I came out of retirement to rejoin the Black Sticks last year, I was so excited to be back playing and working towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," she wrote.

"No one could've imagined a global pandemic getting in the way of that dream, but there are things beyond our control. Lockdown taught me many things, but most importantly those seven weeks at home brought into focus just how important family is.

"So, with that in mind, I've made the decision to end my Black Sticks journey here. I am so glad I gave it another shot and I'm proud to have done this as a Mum, but I feel it's time now to focus on our family."

The longtime player, whose career spanned twelve years, thanked her coach Graham, her teammates, family and friends for their endless support.

McCaw's husband, former All Blacks captain Richie also received a special mention.

"A very special mention to my husband for his unwavering encouragement and being the best Dad to Lottie that we could ever ask for.

"To my little girl, I love you beyond words, thank you for travelling so well and being my motivation each step of the way.

"And last but certainly not least, my heart felt thanks goes to my amazing mum, who gave up a year of her life to support us. This would not have been possible without you. It takes a village, and I'm so grateful for mine."

After debuting for the Black Sticks at 18, McCaw, nee Flynn, represented New Zealand at three Olympic Games - Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

A Black Sticks statement said she played an integral role in the team clinching a fourth-place finish at the London and Rio games.

She took a step back from the game after her third Olympic outing, giving birth to daughter Charlotte, "Lottie" in December 2018.

Just months later, she made a stunning return to the turf at the 2019 Ford NHL, where she would finish as the competition's leading goal-scorer and earn herself a National Contract for the 2020 hockey season, the statement said.

"In her first game back in the Black Sticks singlet, McCaw made a grand return as she slotted an outstanding goal against the Belgium Women," a statement said.

"Before the interruption in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League McCaw would go onto bring up her 250th match for the New Zealand Women in a drawn game with the Great Britain Women."

McCaw said it was incredibly special to have played for the Black Sticks.

"To return to international hockey after having Charlotte was quite the journey, but I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do that, and it wouldn't have been possible without the amazing support from my family."

Her incredible speed and athleticism combined with outstanding 3D stick skills made her more one of the most lethal strikers in international hockey, resulting in an impressive 72 goals over her career.

McCaw has racked up many awards over her career, including a silver at the Delhi Commonwealth Games (2010) and a bronze at the Glasgow Games (2014), as well as a nomination for the FIH Women's Young Player of the Year Award.

The New Zealand Herald

Former India captain Viren Rasquinha raises funds for hockey coaches, players

Due to the Covid-19-enforced lockdown, players, coaches and staff at the local level have struggled to make ends meet.

File image of Viren Rasquinha | IANS

Former Indian hockey team captain Viren Rasquinha has stepped forward to help out the hockey players, coaches and staff working at the grassroots level in India after most of them were left struggling to make ends meet during the Covid-19 enforced lockdown.

No sporting activities have been permitted since the Indian government enforced a nationwide lockdown in March. Even though the restrictions have been eased to an extent in different parts of the country, sporting activities have remained shut. Their family incomes have also declined during this period.

“Most of the sportsmen in India come from a poor background,” Rasquinha told Scroll.in.

“I was made aware that almost all the players playing in local clubs in Mumbai were struggling to put food on their tables. Their respective father’s incomes had dried up and there was a danger of hockey losing talented players. So I decided to help out,” he added.

Rasquinha through his non-profit organisation Olympic Gold Quest in collaboration with Go Sports Foundation is set to reach out to 200 beneficiaries that include players, coaches and groundsmen who contribute to keep the game alive at the grassroots level and help groom young talent.

The former midfielder set a target of contributing Rs 10,000 to every beneficiary so that these players are able to sustain their families during this period.

On Tuesday, Rasquinha announced that he had managed to collect funds in excess of Rs 22 lakhs.

“My first thought was to help out on a personal level but after running the idea with the OGQ board, and Nandan Kamath the Managing Trustee of GoSports Foundation, we decided to take it up as a joint initiative. We felt it was important for people in sports to work together during this crisis,” Rasquinha said.

“We reached out to our trusted intermediaries across India and identified promising and deserving players who were serious about the sport. The aim is to ensure we keep them in the sport and they’re not lost,” he added.

The former midfielder reached out to Conroy Remedios the coach of Republicans Sports club in Mumbai, K Arumugam who runs One Thousand Hockey Legs, an NGO based in New Delhi, former Indian hockey player Dilip Tirkey who runs an academy in Odisha, Bharat Chikara who coaches in Haryana and Jude Felix Hockey Academy who helped him identify players, coaches and other deserving staff members from the zones where they operated.

“We made a conscious effort to make sure 25 percent of beneficiaries are women. And we have been able to approximately reach that figure,” Rasquinha said.

The payments are expected to reach the beneficiaries in the next few days.


Ian Sloan: "I would love to coach England & Great Britain"

Ian Sloan Rio 2016

Ian Sloan may potentially be approaching only the mid-point of his international career but already he’s formulating plans for what he will do once he hangs up his stick for good.

And while some athletes will look for a life away from hockey once their playing days are over, the 26-year-old admitted on the latest episode of Inside The Circle: The Podcast that the game will see much more of him for a long time to come.

“To be totally honest, in terms of my personal career as a coach I would love to be an international coach. I really would love to coach England and Great Britain in the future,” the midfielder said.

“I’ve been coaching at Wycombe HC for six seasons now and I’ve recently been offered the role of player-assistant at Wimbledon HC next season which will be really cool.”

Alongside those two jobs, Sloan has recently launched his own coaching company – 5 Yards – with fellow Wimbledon player and senior international Ed Horler.

The two ran a four-day camp during May half-term before setting up weekly sessions with Hannah Martin, Sam Ward and Lily Owsley appearing as guest coaches.

While his future ambition is to coach the best senior international players this country has to offer, Sloan also said that he’s loved working with youngsters at all levels of the game too.

“Throughout all of the coaching I’ve done I’ve loved working with younger players. Wycombe have a really good junior system and have had Liam Sanford and Liam Ansell come through there into the GB teams.

“That’s been one of my favourite parts of coaching, seeing a young player develop a passion for the game, develop a really good attitude to learning and seeing how much they’ve progressed, whether that’s at Wycombe or they’ve gone to university or are playing in the National League, Premier League or wherever that is.

“That’s made me feel quite proud to have had an impact in that. It’s just about my passion for the game, my love for the game.

“I am a bit of a hockey nerd so I love the tactical part of it, the thinking about how to improve people’s technique and making the training sessions really fun and competitive so people can really enjoy hockey as much as I do. I’m not sure that’s an achievable goal though!”

While lockdown has given the former Cookstown HC player the chance to develop his coaching and find new ways of helping the next generation, this is something he also normally spends  a lot of time working on.

This is because all the GB athletes are encouraged to use their spare time away from training to develop other skills to help them prepare for life after hockey.

He said: “One of the best things about the GB programme as a whole is that we have Emma Mitchell, who is our Performance Lifestyle Advisor. Her job is to help us athletes have something outside of just playing hockey.

“As everyone knows, we’re not on a footballer’s wage so we have to have something to do when we retire. It’s also very good for our mental wellbeing to have something alongside our playing. Let’s say that this time next year I get injured and can’t go to the Olympics, it will be a very dark time for me. But if I have another side project or if I have something else happening in my life that will really balance it out.

“In the squad we have quite a few guys who do something outside of hockey that’s completely different, we have a few guys doing some online university courses, others coaching and it’s part of our Individual Development Plan as a player to have that #More2Me aspect in there of something we’re doing outside of the game.

“I think that’s quite unusual in elite sport. The traditional method would be to say that you have to be 100% focused on your game and don’t have anything else distracting you from that. I think that’s sustainable in the short term but over the course of a four-year cycle or a 12-year career that can be pretty draining.”

Subscribe to Inside The Circle: The Podcast to hear this episode in full and catch up on any others that you may have missed:

Great Britain Hockey media release

Ellie Rayer speaks about staying active during lockdown for National School Sport Week at Home 2020

Ellie Rayer - Maidenhead 2019

This National School Sport Week at Home 2020 we spoke to England and Great Britain hockey player Ellie Rayer about the importance of looking after your physical and mental health especially during lockdown. She spoke about the challenges and the changes she has had to make since going into lockdown back in March.

‘This lockdown has been a completely new challenge for everyone but also a completely different experience for every individual at the same time! The importance of the ‘1-hour daily exercise’ that we had initially has been hugely apparent across the board.

Staying active, alongside and on top of training, during lockdown has been really important in maintaining both my physical and mental wellbeing during this lockdown period.

The rush of endorphins after a tough  running session, the serenity after some chilled yoga and the buzz of having some social interaction and training buddies with a virtual circuit session with team mates has been great. Being able to switch off to everything going on and channel all my focus and energy into something else has been invaluable.

Checking in and exercising with team mates, friends and family (following all guidelines) in new ways that I’ve not been able to before has kept things fresh and shown how important staying connected and looking out for those around you has been during this period.

A couple of times I’ve found myself feeling quite restless so getting out and exploring either on foot, on my bike or on my paddle board has been great and has definitely improved my sleep helping me feel more refreshed the following day.

I’m the type of person that struggles to sit still and loves being out and about spending time outdoors so I’ve embraced the opportunity of training differently and thinking outside the box to get sessions done! That being said I can’t wait to get back on the pitch with the girls at Bisham!’

England Hockey Board Media release

Hockey India modifies assessment criteria for tournament officials and umpires

Hockey India (HI) has made modifications to its assessment criteria for tournament officials and umpires, a part of the change in Officials Performance Report Templates.

The result in the performance report is one of the key factors for the assessment of the work carried out by the tournament officials and umpires in domestic tournaments.

In May, HI had announced the launch of classification of Hockey India registered tournament officials, which include technical delegate, umpire managers, technical officials, judges and umpires into three grades.

The grading will be done out of 100, (percentage-wise) with emphasis on umpires being based on performance reports (from all domestic tournaments), fitness test results and online test results while for other tournament officials, it will be based on performance reports (from all domestic tournaments) and online test results.

Along with the current evaluation criteria in the Officials Performance Report Templates for tournament officials, a new updated umpire assessment match report has been added.

The performance of the umpires will be assessed in each and every match they are officiating and the umpire managers will share their reports with the umpires and Hockey India after their respective matches are completed.

It will also be utilised during the umpires debriefing and the umpire managers will ensure that the umpires learn and improve after every match and don't commit the same errors.

The assessment match reports will serve as the basis for appointment of the umpire in the final phases of a particular tournament and help Hockey India ensure that the best performing umpires officiate in the semi-finals and finals of that particular tournament.

The umpire's performance will be monitored efficiently, leading to the selection of umpires during the crucial stages of a tournament. These modifications will contribute to improving the standard of umpiring and officiating in India.

"Improving the structure for the assessment of tournament officials and umpires' performances is a fantastic idea. The more competition we can create among the officials, the better they will become," said HI president Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.


Former Olympians demand hockey representation in new PSB set-up

KARACHI: Several Pakistan hockey Olympians on Wednesday expressed their annoyance and surprise at the absence of any representation of the national game in the newly formed newly formed Pakistan Sports Board set up and demanded that the composition on the board be reviewed at once.

In an amazing development this week which clearly defies logic, the government and the IPC Ministry completely overlooked any representation of the national game in the 11-member executive board of PSB constituted this week.

Prominent Olympians including Manzoor Jr, Rashid Jr, Hanif Khan, Khawaja Junaid, Kaleem­ullah, Nasir Ali, Wasim Feroze, Ahmad Alam, Rana Mujahid Ali, Danish Kaleem, Shafqat Malik, Anjum Saeed, Qamar Ibrahim, Kamran Ashraf, Secretary KHA Haider Hussain and other international the players on Wednesday expressed their anger and demanded of the government to immediately review the composition of the new board and appoint a hockey representative as per the rules and to address the sentiments of the millions of hockey fans in the country.

“It is totally incomprehensible not to include the representation of the national game of hockey in the board,” said Olympian Manzoor Jr who spoke to media on Wednesday along with former captains Olympian Hanif Khan and Olympian Rashid Jr among others. “It is a blunder and extremely disappointing that while athletics, football and others sports have representation in the newly-formed PSB set-up, the national game of hockey which has brought the highest number of laurels for the country has been ignored,” they said.
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According to the notification, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) has also been appointed as a member of Pakistan Sports Board.

The former Olympians called for an immediate resh­uffle of the board and also questioned the presence of an official of a Lahore-based pharmaceutical company on the board which they said did not have any merit whatsoever.


New world-class hockey turf for Manawatū

A state-of-the-art hockey turf has been completed at Massey University. PALMERSTON NORTH CITY COUNCIL

Palmerston North's third artificial hockey turf has been completed at Massey University in New Zealand.

The turf was blessed on Thursday morning and an official opening is planned for the near future.

The turf was constructed through a joint agreement between Palmerston North City Council, Massey and Hockey Manawatū.

Both Massey and the council contributed funds to the construction costs, with the balance met through fundraising and grants, including from the Lotteries and Central Energy Trust.

The facility will be run in partnership by Hockey Manawatū and Massey.

There are existing turfs at Hockey Manawatū's base at Fitzherbert Park.

The new turf was laid by international company Polytan and is similar to one Polytan built in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics.

The new hockey turf at Massey University is finished. PALMERSTON NORTH CITY COUNCIL

The turf is hailed as one of the most technologically advanced surfaces in the world.

The electronic speed testing equipment within the turf is world leading.

Other interesting features include a shock pad, which utilises recycled rubber, and the asphalt was laid with laser machinery.

The straight lines were woven into the grass during manufacturing to allow a strong bond and there are two 30,000-litre water tanks to feed the sprinklers to keep the turf in top condition.

The water will come from Massey’s bore and will be recycled.

The turf will be used for community sport, as well as exercise-related teaching and research and to help attract hockey-playing students to Palmerston North.

It is the latest addition to the university’s sporting facilities, including the Sport and Rugby Institute, recreation centre, equestrian centre, Manawatū Community Athletics Track, netball and tennis courts, and 11 rugby and football fields.

Vice-chancellor, professor Jan Thomas, said the facility was of great value to the city and university.

“Hockey is popular in the region and with strong participant numbers the demand was there for another top-quality facility to play and train on.”

Massey’s accommodation, food halls and gyms also make it an ideal facility for national camps, programmes and international matches, she said.

The site of the hockey turf, before work began in June last year. Murray Wilson/Stuff

"It will assist with fostering excellence through providing a world-class facility for hockey players of all ages to hone their skills, and for student and staff engagement as the turf will be accessible for Massey’s community to use as a further source of recreation.”

Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said the new addition had great benefits for the city and wider region, which was a powerhouse for national secondary school sports tournaments given its central location.

"After Covid-19, projects like this that directly keep our residents in jobs are more important than ever. "

Hockey Manawatū general manager Neil Ulrich said most major national tournaments required three turfs, which the city now had.

“This presents the opportunity to host the likes of the New Zealand national hockey championships, national masters tournament, Rankin and Fed Cup secondary schools tournaments, as well as more inter-city competitions with teams from around the lower North Island."

The turf was just weeks away from completion when New Zealand went into Covid-19 lockdown, but contractors resumed work under alert level 3.


Hockey Australia partner with Legacy Lighting

Proud Australian values and synergies underpin an exciting new corporate partnership Hockey Australia has formed with ambitious lighting company, Legacy Lighting.

Hockey Australia (HA) is delighted to join with Legacy Lighting, an Australian company specialising in LED flood lighting as well as heavy duty sport facility and stadium lighting.

“We’re thrilled to partner with another Australian company and we look forward to building and growing our relationship with them,” said HA CEO Matt Favier.

“Legacy Lighting have a great business that has been built steadily over recent times. Stadium lighting is a relatively new area, but they are a trusted brand in the lighting industry.”

A significant component of the partnership will consist of driving brand awareness of Legacy Lighting and exploring opportunities with community sporting clubs.

“A big part of what we are trying to do is raise awareness of our sport in the community, similarly to Legacy Lighting in their market, and we are confident we can help them do that,” said Favier.

“The values around participation, community sport and achieving high performance are really aligned in our businesses so we’re proud to work with a company who shares those values and also that is proudly Australian.”

“In these current times this partnership really talks to the opportunity that still presents itself if you’ve got a quality partner and opportunity, and that’s very much the case here.”

Legacy Lighting General Manager, Brett Tunley acknowledges the partnership as a great opportunity to be aligned with a highly reputable and world class performing national sporting organisation.

“With Hockey Australia’s heritage of success we thought it was a great brand to be involved with,” said Tunley.

“Tying in with the high performance aspect of Hockey Australia, it works really well with us being an Australian made product and also focussing on high performance within the industry, so I think there was a great synergy from the start.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us and Australian manufacturing. Hockey Australia is putting their confidence in an Australian manufacturer and we are putting our confidence in them so it’s very much reciprocal.”

“There are a lot of state governments who are being supportive of community sporting clubs. We see infrastructure being built up over the next few years and we think the partnership with Hockey Australia will give us a good springboard for that.”

Further to being solely Australian owned and made, unique aspects of Legacy Lighting include being one of the few sport-specific LED manufacturers in the world, their lights are designed specifically for Australian climates, while they also have the capability of mounting lights onto existing lighting poles.

For more information on Legacy Lighting visit legacysportlighting.com

Hockey Australia media release

The first floodlit hockey international

The Hockey Museum continues to tap into its vast collection of history to bring you the best stories

The first floodlit international hockey match took place on the October 25 1955 at the Arsenal Football Club’s stadium at Highbury, London. The match was organised by the AEWHA to celebrate their 60th anniversary and was very much in line with their enlightened policy of holding their international match on famous sports grounds.

The annual matches at Wembley had started four years earlier and they had been playing at the Oval before World War Two. This encouraged big crowds to attend the matches and this evening’s floodlit encounter was no exception with over 6000 people making their way to north London.

The visitors for this special match were the USA who had been on an extensive tour of England, playing the territories (divisions) and a few selected matches. The match was further honoured by the 32nd Band of the US Army who conducted the ceremonials for what must have been a very interesting spectacle.

The USA were well practiced from their tour while, for the English, it was their first game of the season. However, once the players settled down to the new conditions, the English team gradually took control and eventually ran out 6-0 winners. It should be remembered that in this era, the mid 1950s, the England women’s team remained undefeated at home with only a few away defeats.

Contemporary reports of the game tell us that the players settled down very well to the artificial lights and there were few adverse comments about the pitch, other than that the ball got dirty. It may be that the commentators did not want to displease the host club. The main comment about the light was of the blinding flash lights from the photographers behind the goals which apparently left the players dazzled for a time.

The photo here shows a fairly gloomy scene but that has more to do with the state of sports photography in the mid-50s than how the human eye interpreted it on the night. Both the players and spectators reported a good view of the scene.

As ever with historical hockey facts we believe this game was a first. It is also believed that the USA team were the first hockey players to arrive in England by air.

Not a week goes by without something interesting or unusual emerging from the history or heritage of our sport. We at the Museum call them ‘WOW moments’ and the discovery of the postcard above was certainly one.

The caption suggests it is of the Olympic hockey team and 1908 was the occasion of the London Olympic Games. But we have never heard of any reference to a 2nd XI and none of the players are familiar to us through international team photos.

However, examination of early magazines and handbooks revealed that it is a photo of the Olympic Hockey Club 2nd XI who were affiliated to the Kent County Association from 1908 until the 1920s. The club ground was given as Chapel Farm in Eltham.

If you know of any other reference to this club we would be pleased to discover more.

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