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News for 13 July 2020

All the news for Monday 113 July 2020

Indian head coach claims "top-level" FIH Pro League will aid Tokyo 2020 preparation

By Nancy Gillen

Indian men's hockey team head coach Graham Reid claimed the "top-level competition" of the FIH Pro League will help Tokyo 2020 preparations ©Getty Images

Indian men's head coach Graham Reid claimed the "top-level competition" of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League will help his side prepare for next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

The FIH Pro League is set resume on September 22, having been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

India will not play their first game until 2021, however, going up against Argentina on April 10 and 11.

They are then set to face Britain on May 8 and 9, before travelling to Spain to play matches on May 12 and 13.

The team will take on Germany in away matches on May 18 and 19 before finally playing home ties on May 29 and 30 against New Zealand.

Tokyo 2020 is then scheduled for July 23 to August 8, having been postponed due to the pandemic.

Reid, an Australian former hockey player who became Indian head coach in 2019, suggested the return of the Pro League was a benefit for Olympic preparations.

"It's very encouraging to have international competition restarting and the Hockey Pro League will give us that tough top-level competition as a lead-up to the Olympic Games next year," he said, as reported by New Kerala.

India are set to compete in the men's Olympic hockey contest for the 21st time next year ©Getty Images

Despite the close proximity of matches next year, Indian captain Manpreet Singh viewed the schedule as a positive.

"I feel after the four-week gap between our matches against Argentina and Great Britain, we will play back-to-back matches almost every weekend right until the end of May and that's the kind of momentum we are looking for ahead of the Olympic Games," he said.

"We will test our body and mind during this time to see how we can cope with the pressure of playing back-to-back high-intensity games and manage the load well.

"This will be an ideal test for us before the Olympics."

India have impressed during their maiden Pro League season, winning two, drawing two and losing two to sit in fourth place in the standings.

Tokyo 2020 will be India's 21st Olympic appearance in the men's hockey contest, with the country claiming eight gold medals, one silver and two bronze.

They have not finished on the podium since triumphing at Moscow 1980, however.

Inside the Games

Pro League ideal test for us before Olympics: Reid

Manpreet Singh, India captain

Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Graham Reid said that the tough competition against top nations in the FIH Hockey Pro League season will help his team prepare best for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“It’s very encouraging to have international competition restarting and the Pro League will give us that tough top-level competition as a lead-up to the Olympic Games next year,” Reid said.

India made an emphatic start to their maiden Pro League campaign earlier this year with wins against Netherlands, Belgium and Australia before Covid-19 halted the competition.

They will resume their campaign with an away tie against Argentina on April 10-11 next year. They will then face Great Britain (May 8-9), Spain (May 12-13) and Germany (May 18-19) in away matches before hosting New Zealand (May 29-30). “We also have the Asian Champions Trophy still planned for November 2020 and a trip to Malaysia to play the Netherlands and a 4-nation tournament in New Zealand in February 2021,” Reid said.

The Tribune

I always looked up to Sardar Singh – hockey defender Vishal Antil

Vishal feels the Junior Team was mentally and physically ready to succeed at the Junior Asia Cup in Dhaka which was to be held in June

Vishal Antil (Source: Hockey India)

In 2017, when Vishal Antil, a talented attacking midfielder, came into the Junior National Coaching Camp in SAI, Bengaluru, he would closely observe his Senior compatriot Sardar Singh who trained at the same campus. The former India Captain’s discipline, his focus on the game and professionalism made Antil look up to him. “You didn’t really have to interact with him to learn but just watch him go about his everyday routine. He was so disciplined and focused, he never let outside factors affect him mentally and he always took care of his body. The lights in his room would be switched off at 9.30 PM everyday, these are qualities of a great player,” recalled Antil of his idol.

“For a junior player new in the national fold, there was so much to learn from Sardar though I never got a chance to interact with him or mustered courage to go speak to him, but I would always observe him and I always looked up to him and his discipline was infectious,” says Antil who was part of the Indian team that won the Bronze Medal in 2017, and the Silver Medal in 2018 at the Sultan of Johor Cup, Malaysia.

Though Antil was out of action with an ankle fracture for almost 6-7 months in 2019, and also missed the Sultan of Johor Cup last year where the team returned runners-up, he was gearing up to do well for the team in the Junior Asia Cup in Dhaka which was indefinitely postponed due to the Covid19 pandemic. “This team has been playing together over the past three years and we had shaped up well as a unit. We have also done well against good teams like Australia and lost closely to Great Britain in Sultan of Johor Cup. I feel, barring Malaysia who could have given us a tough fight, we were poised to do well and win the Junior Asia Cup,” expressed Antil.

Vishal Antil (Source: Hockey India)

Even though India has a direct entry for the Junior World Cup next year by virtue of being the hosts, winning the Junior Asia Cup would setup a good momentum to defend the title feels Antil. “Winning the Asia Cup and earning a berth for the Junior World Cup would be a matter of confidence and going into the Junior World Cup as Continental Champions would be ideal. We will be working hard to achieve this feat when the event is rescheduled,” the midfielder from Kurar Ibrahimpur, Haryana added.

Having picked up hockey at the age of 12, Antil honed his skills as a player in Chandigarh Hockey Academy and now vies to earn a spot in the Senior Core probables group. “I was called for the Senior Camp in 2018 before the World Cup where I got to learn about the structure and expectations to play at this level. Lalit Upadhyay, Harmanpreet and Sumit helped me lot during those days and watching seniors like Sreejesh and SV Sunil, how they remain focused on every session was a learning experience for me,” he expressed.

With the Junior National Camp yet to be called, Antil like his other compatriots awaits to return to training. “Currently I am training in Sonipat along with Sumit (midfielder from Senior Core Group) but I would definitely love to return to SAI, Bengaluru and resume training along with my team. The next 18 months is crucial for the Indian Colts with the Junior World Cup coming up, though I won’t be in the age bracket for the World Cup once the event comes, I would want to contribute to the team in whatever way I can,” he said.

The Bridge

August decision for Junior Asia Cup

By Jugjet Singh

WHILE the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) will be held on schedule this year, the Junior Asia Cup faces an uncertain future.

Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) chief executive Datuk Tayyab Ikram said the dates for the Junior Asia Cup, a qualifier for next year's Junior World Cup, will be decided in mid-August.

"The Junior Asia Cup dates will be reviewed in mid-August.

"It all depends on the Covid-19 situation then," said Tayyab.

The men's ACT will be held on Nov 17-27 at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The men's Junior Asia Cup offers four tickets to the Junior World Cup while the women's tournament will hand out three seats.

Malaysia are among the favourites to reach the semi-finals of the men's Junior Asia Cup. The other contenders are India, South Korea, Japan and Pakistan.

The Malaysian women will find it slightly difficult. The women's team will be led by four seniors in Nur Maizatulhanim Syafi, Nur Amirah Syakirah, Kirandeep Kaur and Siti Zulaikha Husain at the Junior Asia Cup.

India, South Korea, China and Japan are among the contenders for the three women's Junior World Cup spots.

New Straits Times

Hockey player Devindar Walmiki going Dutch, literally

Walmiki will stay in Wassenaar, an affluent suburb near The Hague. “We have rented a flat in a three-storey apartment there.

By Firoz Mirza

India's Devindar Walmiki, left, fights for the ball with Argentina's Juan Ignacio Gilardi during a men's field hockey match. | AP

CHENNAI: At a time when training outdoors is still a distant dream for most Indian sportspersons, hockey player Devindar Walmiki is set to leave for The Netherlands on Thursday night to compete in the Hoofdklasse (Dutch top division league). Interestingly, he had got stuck in The Netherlands for almost four months before returning back to Mumbai on June 14. With his club HGC extending his contract for the 2020-21 season, the India midfielder has to join the side for the league beginning on September 6.

“I planned the return while flying back home last month. I will reach on July 17 and undergo a period of 14-day quarantine before joining the squad the next day,” said Walmiki, who was part of India’s 2016 Rio Olympics squad.

Given the situation in the country and across the globe due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 28-year-old had an option of staying back in The Netherlands, but chose to return. “I had to sort out a few issues in Mumbai, so I returned. I directly checked into a hotel near the airport and stayed there for seven days before isolating myself at the home for another week.” The midfielder claimed he is the first player from the country to be recalled to play consecutive seasons in the top tier of Dutch league.

“The league will commence in a few more weeks. The experience of playing under a master tactician such as Paul van Ass and with players from every corner of the globe has been enriching, to say the least. I am of the opinion that playing in the Dutch league is an important learning curve in my career and my performances there should be good enough to earn me a call-up to the selection trials for the national team in the near future. That is of course, the ultimate aim,” he added.

Walmiki will stay in Wassenaar, an affluent suburb near The Hague. “We have rented a flat in a three-storey apartment there. Players from Australia and Argentina also reside there. Everyone has a separate room. I will stay in my room for 14 days and continue with my physical training before joining the team.”
Deciding to leave the home at such a tough time was not easy, but Walmiki said it was possible because of the support from his family. “Obviously, they are worried but at the same time they understand I need to do this to ensure my return to the national fold. Things are not that bad there and they know I will be safe. I plan to return in the first week of December as the league gets over on November 29.”

New Indian Express

Headaches mount for Hockey Ireland's top brass

By Stephen Findlater

Hockey Ireland look set for a series of appeals over the allocation of European placings for next season in the wake of an independent panel’s decision to overturn the governing body’s decision to declare this season “null and void”.

Announcing that decision in early May, HI handed Three Rock Rovers the men’s top seed and a place in the Euro Hockey League with Lisnagarvey the second spot while Pegasus retained the women’s first spot with Loreto second.

That was on the basis of the 2018/19’s final rankings, the last formal result available to Hockey Ireland.

Lisnagarvey, however, appealed this decision successfully with the independent panel awarding them the first seed with Rovers taking second while the women’s places remain unchanged.

It has opened a can of worms with numerous clubs now seeking further information as they consider challenging the outcome.

Such appeals, though, have been put on hold until details of Garvey’s Letter of Appeal or the ruling being made available to the likes of Three Rock, Loreto or Banbridge. Neither have been forthcoming at the time of writing.

It appears Garvey argued the season should not have been declared null and void in terms of European allocations.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, while no champions were decided in their competitions, but places in the Euro Hockey League were determined by on-field results in 2019/20.

The Ulster side were runaway leaders of the Irish Hockey League with a five-point lead with two games in hand.

If they have earned the top seed on that basis, though, second placed Banbridge will be aggrieved they did not get the second ticket instead of fourth placed Rovers.

Similarly, Loreto were leading the women’s league with two games to go but did not receive a similar upgrade.

For Rovers, they have a number of potential lines of inquiry. First off, the league only offers the winner the second European spot with the first place decided by the unplayed Champions Trophy.

Next, the timeframe of the appeal looks to be three weeks beyond the limits laid out in the Hockey Ireland byelaws; the initial board decision was made on May 6th, leaving June 11th as the final deadline for a decision. The hearing did not take place until June 1st.

Neither Rovers nor the Hockey Ireland Competitions Committee – who made the initial “null and void” suggestion to the board – were present at the hearing to make a submission.

Chief Executive Jerome Pels is acutely aware clubs are likely to make their case with his board “considering if further action or decisions are needed” to mitigate against a spate of submissions from clubs.

Elsewhere, the wait for the new fixture calendar rolls on with no indication of what plans are in place for the 2020/21 season.

Second tier clubs in both the men’s and women’s EYHL Division 2 had proposed making the competition a full-season event rather than being an add-on to provincial leagues. No formal decision has been made either way on that front.

It has the knock-on effect of provincial branches being unable to plan their seasons as the radical change could see several clubs removed from their local leagues, requiring a mass restructure.

The Irish Examiner

Walking Hockey marches on despite pandemic set-back

The Walking Hockey revolution took place around three years ago when, led by the dynamic Alan Gormley, clubs across the UK bought into the idea that, even if you were injured or lacking full mobility, you should still be able to play hockey.

Walking Hockey is exactly as the name suggests - you play hockey, walking. It’s designed to help people keep an active lifestyle regardless of age, health and ability, as well as getting those back into hockey who had to stop due to injuries or other reasons.

As well as the health benefits associated with most forms of physical activity; keeping fit and active and weight loss for example, there are also many social health benefits that come with playing Walking Hockey. Taking time to socialise, meet new people or even build confidence are all part and parcel of taking part in this version of the game.

Since its introduction at Bromsgrove Hockey Club, Walking Hockey quickly spread to numerous clubs across the UK. Gormley found himself travelling the length of country demonstrating to members how they could introduce the activity into their own hockey club.

Once a club adopted Walking Hockey, the numbers flocking to the activity were often huge. Gormley cites Portsmouth, where the membership base grew rapidly from zero to 150 participants over the course of a season.

It wasn’t long before word spread further afield and Gornley found himself addressing groups in New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa and the USA.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to many Walking Hockey clubs at the moment and Gormley himself has stepped away from a leading role within the movement, but Walking Hockey has developed a life of its own.

“Walking Hockey is now played in about 15 countries,” says Gormley. “Tournaments are happening in the UK and Australia and these are being driven by club members. There is a lot of interest from countries around the world. The UK still has the largest amount of players but the Netherlands is fast catching up.”

Unfortunately, as Gormley explains, a combination of the pandemic and a lack of financial support has meant that further development and promotion of Walking Hockey has had to take a back seat in many areas. Established Walking Hockey teams are surviving but, with clubs focussing on core activities as they return to play after lock-down, the rate of growth of Walking Hockey has slowed.

It is a situation that leaves Gormley feeling disappointed and frustrated. “Due to a lack of financial support, I’m having to leave it to those who have already started. I’m very worried because national governing bodies will be focussing on the core game in these very difficult times, but there are now even more people out there who will benefit from what we offer.”

On the plus side, Gormley does feel there will be a significant rise in interest once lock-down restrictions have eased. He is developing a walking sports centre, offering a number of walking sports, in his home town. The interest among the local population is perhaps a good indicator of the importance of this form of socially inclusive sport.

“The feedback I get from people who have joined Walking Hockey groups focuses on the fun, friendship and fitness,” says Gormley. “Social aspects are particularly strong: combating loneliness, depression, and helping people regain self confidence. Fitness features regularly in discussions as does the sheer enjoyment of playing a sport that they thought was long gone.”

While Walking Hockey might have temporarily plateaued under the force of the pandemic, it is an activity that seems to have gripped enough people to be sustainable in the future. With a gender split that is virtually 50/50 and the age of participants reaching into the 80s, this is a truly wonderful example of hockey’s inclusivity.

FIH site

Hockey Olympians used in secret project to trial energy substance

By Rod Gilmour

Great Britain hockey Olympians were used as ‘guinea pigs’ in a behind-closed-doors UK Sport project trialling a ketones-based drink in the lead up to the London 2012 Games, an investigation by the Mail on Sunday has alleged.

It is not known how many hockey players were signed up but the newspaper has claimed that 91 elite sports people across eight Olympic sports were involved in the trial.

It is alleged that the athletes were given an energy-enhancing product in drink form called DeltaG, despite claims that UK Sport was unable to offer guarantee as to its legality and side effects due to the fact that it was only in early research stages.

A spokesperson for GB Hockey told the Mail on Sunday: “Athletes from GB Hockey were offered the opportunity to try DeltaG and did so in the 2012 Olympic cycle.

“GB Hockey were reassured by UK Sport’s participation in the programme and comfortable with assisting their drive for excellence. DeltaG was not adopted for a sustained period of time.”

The newspaper reported that 28 of the 91 athletes using the drink withdrew from the scheme after experiencing side-effects which included vomiting.

Athletes who used DeltaG signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) which prevented them from ever speaking about their involvement in the secret project.

The DeltaG product is a synthetic version of ketones, which is a naturally occuring build up of fatty acids produced by the liver.

The Mail on Sunday‘s investigation revealed that rowers and cyclist who were tested in lab-based trials showed a “one to two per cent performance benefit”.

The secret project detailed: “The (UK Sport) aim is to implement the use of DeltaG with targeted athletes and sports in the period leading into and during London 2012 with events greater than five minutes’ duration and multievent athletes. These sports include cycling; hockey; sailing; athletics; swimming; modern pentathlon and select others.”

A version of the product has since been approved by Wada. Ketones are now widely used in the sporting world.

According to its website DeltaG “provides an alternative source of energy in the form of ketone bodies which break down slowly to provide sustained energy release over several hours. Glucose stores are set aside and used later, enabling endurance athletes to go farther faster.”

In a statement issued in response to the story, UK Sport denied putting elite athletes’ welfare at risk and said it had consulted with both WADA and the UK Anti-Doping before using the product to make sure it was in line with guidelines – and that the health of athletes would not be put on the line for the sake of an improved medal haul.

UK Sport said in its statement: “As the nation’s high-performance sports agency, UK Sport invests in expert institutes who deliver research and innovation projects to support the success of our national sports teams. These projects range from designing world-class technical equipment for our athletes, to supporting athlete health and performance.

“These research and innovation projects are conducted in line with the highest ethical standards, within the rules of international sport and are assessed by an expert independent Research Advisory Group. Consultation takes place with UKAD and WADA wherever necessary to ensure projects comply with international anti-doping regulations.”

The Hockey Paper

BAME players challenge England Hockey on racial inequality

By Rod Gilmour

Sajjad Rashid is one of 15 BAME hockey players to sign open letter

A group of BAME players have written an open letter to England Hockey expressing disappointment at the lack of representation at the top of the game.

Addressing the letter to EH chairman Royston Hoggarth and to the wider board, Sajjad Rashid outlined grievances on behalf of 14 players which claimed that skilled BAME athletes have felt “disenfranchised and disengaged” for decades due to the lack of diversity within the national governing body.

Rashid met Hoggarth four years ago where he highlighted an “engaging dialogue” over diversity. However in the intervening years Rashid and others had noted that “EH has not been successful in progressing minority representation at the top.”

Last year, research undertaken by UK Sport and Sport England found that BAME people accounted for just 5.2 per cent of board members across 130 publicly funded organisations. England Hockey has no BAME members on its board.

As part of its diversity action plan, England Hockey aims to “achieve a more diverse Board by attracting BAME candidates with the right skills and experience” in the medium term, as well as to have a diverse representation at all levels by 2024 in the long term.

However, the letter outlined that there is currently “little transparency from EH on diversity demographics of the people it employs, interviews or asks to represent the country on the pitch.

“As an example, are current EH employed coaching and playing support staff representative of the BAME community? This is not just an issue for EH but many Clubs too. Like other major sports in the UK, not having representation from BAME backgrounds as coaches at the top level, discourages selection of players at the national and international level from BAME backgrounds.

“Without broad representation of role models in the sport, there is little to attract new and junior players from BAME backgrounds to the game.”

Further challenging the board on racial inequality, the letter stated that the “opportunity is here now for the Board to be at the forefront of change in the sport” in order to promote inclusion from the top to the grass roots which, they feel, has under representation.

“This lack of diversity, which has been there for decades has potentially contributed to players from BAME backgrounds feeling disenfranchised and disengaged,” wrote Rashid. “The limited number of skilled players from BAME backgrounds to have made it to the international level for the Men’s team should be seen as a disappointment in English hockey.

“This is much deeper and has not only led to a lack of inclusion all the way down the hockey ladder but worse, through fueling feelings of exclusion for some from BAME backgrounds.”

The letter highlighted that of the 15 players, many had “deep rooted experiences” of racism within the sport “suffered on the hockey pitch on Saturday afternoons, Clubhouses and Committee rooms up and down the country. These experiences range from racial slurs, to perceived officiating bias and also the feeling of exclusion in Clubhouses after games.”

The letter also recommended for EH to engage directly with members of the BAME hockey community, past and present. It continued: “By EH recognising and understanding the feelings of discrimination only then can the path forward be established. Please take the opportunity to reflect and really truly commit to diversity and inclusion changes from the top to the bottom with positive action.”

On Monday, UK Sport and Sport England confirmed that the first joint review of the Code for Sports Governance will be undertaken effective immediately.

The key factor of the review will be the make-up of governance boards, with chief operating officer Simon Morton stressing the need for sporting organisations to be reflective of society.

Morton said: “We are particularly mindful of the need to ensure that boards are reflective of society across the UK. We’ve seen the power of the Code to effect positive change to the gender balance of sports boards, and its right that we consider how this approach can be broadened.”

In a statement confirming the imminent review, UK Sport and Sport England factored  three key areas that will be focused on.

A review of elements of the Code – including those that focus on “the boards of sporting organisations, aimed at ensuring greater representation of those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, those with a disability or long-term health condition, and female representation” – will be undertaken, as well as a check on governance best practice from when the Code was launched three years ago.

The Hockey Paper

Dennis Kemp – one of Australian hockey’s oldest gems

Historian John Sanders delves into the hockey journey of Dennis Kemp (pictured bottom right), one of the living survivors from Australia’s 1956 Olympic hockey team.

First selected for Australia in 1954 and then competing in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, Dennis is one of the few surviving and oldest members from that team (88 years of age at the time of writing).

Growing up in Western Australia, Dennis played football in the Cobbers’ Temperance League as a boy. He continued with Australian Rules in his first year high school, however was introduced to hockey halfway through the year and that is when and where his love of the sport stemmed from.

His first (and only) hockey club was Perth Hockey Club. Dennis went on to play first division, State Colts, State Seniors and then for Australia.

In his time at Perth Hockey Club, Dennis has been Vice President, Committee member, Floreat Editor, WAHA Delegate, Club Coach, First team Coach and Vice Patron. He was made a Life Member in 1964.

Dennis made his A grade debut for Perth HC 1949 and was a regular in the top team from 1950 to 1967. Perth HC was arguably the strongest team in the WAHA competition during what was possibly the strongest domestic league in Australia.

During this period Dennis was selected as captain of the Perth A1 team from 1953-1967 and from 1961-1963 he acted as Club Coach as well as Captain. Dennis retired from club hockey in 1980.

After representing his school - Perth Boys High he was selected in the 1950 WA State Colts (Under 21) team to go to Sydney where they finished runners-up. The following year Dennis was selected as captain of the victorious Colts team for the Australian Championships in Hobart.

Aged 19, Dennis had been outstanding as Perth's left-half. Easily distinguished on the field by the white handkerchief he tied around his forehead to keep his hair from his eyes, he also made a name for himself as a coach. For the last two seasons he has coached two Floreat Park women's teams.

The selection of Dennis as Captain/Manager for a Colts team in 1952 was completely out of the ordinary. This trip was to Brisbane and the team went by train from Perth to Adelaide and then were due to fly on a small plane to Brisbane. Unfortunately, the plane struck very intense storms, was diverted three times and finally landed at Sydney airport to wait out the worst of the weather. Most players were airsick and knocked about during the flight. When it was time to board the plane again, several of the team were missing. They had locked themselves in the toilets, too worried about the situation to come out. Dennis had his first crisis but managed to persuade them onto the plane. In the end the team regrouped and was able to bring the shield home to W.A. [1]

The 1952 senior Australian Hockey Championships were to be held in Perth, and several of the Colts team were invited to take part in selection matches. This was unusual, but probably not unexpected, as the Colts had earlier defeated the proposed State side 4–0. Dennis was one of those chosen in the senior side. Ross Smith, a member of the South Australian team, shares the distinction with Dennis of both representing his State twice in the one year at the colts and senior carnivals. Smith, like Kemp, was captain of his State's colt’s team in Brisbane in June. [2]

This was the beginning of a long and successful series of Dennis representing his State at the highest hockey level. The self-funding nature of hockey tournaments, and the limited annual leave available from his employment as a draftsman in the WA Public Works Department, necessarily curtailed his appearances for the state.

Dennis represented Australia in 1954 in a Test Match in Sydney against New Zealand. Australia lost 3–1. He was then one of eight Western Australians chosen to play in the Australian team at the 1956 Olympics. The team finished a creditable fifth and notably—with no substitutions and blisters on his feet—Dennis played the second half of the Olympic Games play-off match against Great Britain in bare feet.

Dennis was invited to nominate for the Australian team in 1958 and Rome Olympics in 1960 but was unable to accept because of lack of finance and leave from work.

Dennis was Club Coach at Perth HC during the 1961, 1962 and 1963 seasons and A2 Coach from 1968 to 1971. He returned as A1 Coach in 1979.

Dennis was invited to coach the newly formed team, North Coast Raiders, which had just achieved A grade status. Raiders were largely an amalgamation of Perth and Scarborough, so Dennis had a connection. He spent two years in the position.

Dennis’ involvement in women’s hockey is largely unknown, but he was Club Coach of the Floreat Park Ladies Hockey Club for many years between 1951 and 1985. This usually comprised spending 3–4 evenings a week and sometimes Sunday mornings with the teams. He provided manuals for each player’s field position and held meetings for each team several times each season. He made a huge commitment to the club over these years and under his guidance the small club grew from two teams to 10 and won many premierships.

Dennis always tried to give his teams an advantage and when a hand-stop was finally allowed by the women’s association, Dennis taught the technique to the Floreat girls and ensured that it was practised well. Not many women’s teams used the technique at that time, if any.

For the Floreat Park Ladies Hockey Club Dennis was president from 1951-1959 and a Member of Selection committees while coach. In 1978 Dennis was also made a Life Member.

The Olympian’s Medal was an idea submitted by Dennis and supported financially by the Australian Olympic team members themselves until organisation of this presentation was taken over by the Association. [3]

The eight West Australian members of the 1956 Olympic Games team formed a close group on their return from competition. They decided to get together every year on the anniversary of the commencement of the games. This occasion was quite a big affair in the early days, with Alan Barblett the organiser. Wives, officials and other guests were invited. In 1962 this task was handed on to Dennis and he carried on with the responsibility every year until 2015.

The 50th Anniversary particularly was a great event. The Olympic club of W.A. began to hold an annual luncheon on or near this same date and with regret, and with dwindling numbers, the remaining three Hockey Olympians of 1956 decided that the time had come to join this celebration and cease their own.   

In 2000 Dennis wanted to honour the Olympic tradition and carry the torch prior to the Games being held in Australia. He was given a section of road close to Perry Lakes where he had done much of his coaching. He was 69 years old at the time but refused, he said, to let down the image of hockey and walk the 1 km distance involved as many of his age would do. Instead he spent three months training and ran the whole way to the applause of spectators. It was great to see many of ‘his girls’ from Floreat Park lining the road.

Dennis received an Australian Sports Medal for services to hockey in 2000.

[1] Personal recollections of Mrs Kaye Kemp.
[2] The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)  Thu 7 Aug 1952
[3] Notes from Mrs Kaye Kemp

Hockey Australia media release

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