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News for 14 October 2020

All the news for Wednesday 14 October 2020

Entry list confirmed for next Easter’s Euro Hockey League festival

The entry list for the 2021 ABN AMRO Euro Hockey League next Easter has been finalised following nominations by the national federations.

This season will take in changes to account for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which led to the postponement of the EHL FINAL8 in April and eventual cancelation in October this year.  

With qualifying leagues around the continent affected in different ways, each national federation was free to employ their own selection criteria for their representatives for next Easter’s events.  

EHL Women will run in its normal FINAL8 format with eight of Europe’s best clubs battling it out to be the first continental champion under the Euro Hockey League umbrella.  

It is a stellar line-up. Dutch giants AH&BC Amsterdam were the last winners of the European Club Cup in 2019 in the Wagener Stadium and meant they had their 14th top tier Euro title dating back to 1975.

HC ’s-Hertogenbosch are the other Dutch side and they are the modern masters of the competition, winning 16 titles since the year 2000.  

Hoping to break the Dutch dominance are Germany’s Club an der Alster – Club Cup bronze medalists in 2019 – and UHC Hamburg who were runners-up in 2017 and 2018.

Spain’s Club de Campo are European regulars with bronze medals in 2015 and 2018 the highlights from seven appearances in the last decade in the top competition.

Surbiton represent England for a sixth successive campaign and will be hoping they can break into the medal positions following a best of a fourth place finish in 2017.

Ireland’s reigning champions Pegasus have plenty of experience in European competition with 20 previous campaigns with a fourth place in 1982. Their last entry in the Club Cup was in 2016 when they finished eighth.

Belarus’s HC Minsk are newcomers to this level following a trio of bronze medals in the EuroHockey Club Trophy in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

EHL Men will be split into a FINAL12 event with the addition of an EHL Cup competition (which we will announce the confirmed entries and format on Thursday).  

The FINAL starts with four initial matches – titled the KO8 – between clubs ranked 5th to 12th for the right to face one of the top four seeds in the FINAL8.

The FINAL12 round will feature: 2019 bronze medalists Mannheimer HC (Germany), 2016 champions SV Kampong (Netherlands), newcomers La Gantoise (Belgium) and English champions Surbiton (England). That quartet will be drawn against either Dinamo Kazan (Russia), Saint Germain (France), Grange (Scotland) or Three Rock Rovers (Ireland).  

The successful KO8 sides will come up against one of the seeded clubs in the FINAL8: Uhlenhorst Mülheim (Germany), three-time winners HC Bloemendaal (Netherlands), Royal Léopold (Belgium) or Atlètic Terrassa (Spain).  

The draw for the respective competitions is currently scheduled to take place early in the new year.  

ABN AMRO EHL Women’s FINAL8 participants: AH&BC Amsterdam (Netherlands), HC ’s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), Club an der Alster (Germany), UHC Hamburg (Germany), Club de Campo (Spain), Surbiton (England), Pegasus (Ireland), HC Minsk (Belarus)  


KO8 participants: Mannheimer HC (Germany), SV Kampong (Netherlands), La Gantoise (Belgium), Surbiton (England), Dinamo Kazan (Russia), Saint Germain (France), Grange (Scotland), Three Rock Rovers (Ireland)  

FINAL8 participants: Uhlenhorst Mülheim (Germany), HC Bloemendaal (Netherlands), Royal Léopold (Belgium), Atlètic Terrassa (Spain)  

Euro Hockey League media release

Finland seek eligible players for EuroHockey 2021 tilt

By Richard Bright

Finland have appointed Beeston’s Colin Clarke as head coach

The Finnish Hockey Federation (SHOL) is inviting every potential player from across the globe who has a desire in playing international hockey to get in touch.

Finland Hockey is looking for players who hold a Finnish passport or eligible to play for the nation ahead of their participation at the EuroHockey Championships in Malta next summer.

Finland recently appointed Colin Clarke to lead the men’s national team while the federation has also built a team of coaches for its women’s and age-group teams.

Clarke, a former GB under-21 coach, is currently head coach at Beeston women and head of hockey at Nottingham Trent University and will combine his new international role into his expanding remit.

Clarke said: “I am really looking forward to working with the Federation and the Finnish National Team with a focus towards the European Championships and creating a player pathway to create Finnish International players of the future.

“Our short-term aim is to bring a youthful squad together in preparation for the European Championships in 2021, whilst increasing the performance player pool, to create a sustainable and competitive national squad.”

Scandanavian hockey was celebrating last year when Partille became Sweden’s first EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup champions as they stunned hosts SV Arminen in the final in Vienna.

Any interested players should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Hockey Paper

Canadian Olympic Committee appoints ex-hockey player Levy chief people officer

By Geoff Berkeley

Sandra Levy has been named chief people officer for the Canadian Olympic Committee ©Getty Images

Two-time Olympian Sandra Levy says it is a "dream come true" to work for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) after being appointed chief people officer.

Levy who represented Canada’s women’s hockey team at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992, steps into the role vacated by Cathy Stewart.

According to COC, Levy will be responsible for the "future evolution" of the organisation’s "people strategy", including diversity and inclusion programmes.

During her 11-year hockey career, Levy claimed two medals at the Pan American Games, winning silver at Havana 1991 and bronze at Indianapolis 1987.

Following her retirement, Levy was part of the "mission team" for the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games - where she provided legal support for athletes - before being named Canada’s Chief de Mission for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

The COC highlighted that Levy had also held the role of director of special projects for the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid Corporation and was a director and chief of the Human Resources Committee for the Toronto 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games Organising Committee.

"From watching Montreal 1976 as a child and being so inspired by it all to realising my dream of becoming an Olympian and now working for the COC - this is a full-circle moment and a dream come true," Levy said.

Former hockey player Sandra Levy represented Canada at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 ©COC

"Having had the opportunity to be involved in many different levels in the sport world, joining COC feels like coming home.

"I really look forward to working with the dedicated and talented members of Team Canada."

Levy is a trained lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience as a human resources executive, working for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, RioCan Management Inc and Manga.

David Shoemaker, COC chief executive and secretary general, said the organisation has been able to "lean" on Levy’s "experience and expertise" over the years.

"We are incredibly lucky to have her join our team permanently," said Shoemaker.

"She holds an incredible resume of transforming organizations through her people-first approach but perhaps most importantly, she has a depth of understanding of the Canadian Olympic Movement and the values-based governance we strive to achieve every single day.

"I would certainly be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to congratulate Cathy Stewart on a wonderful career to date, and thank her for the tremendous impact she has had on both our organisation and the Canadian sport community.

"We wish Cathy and her family nothing but the very best."

Levy is set to be begin her role as chief people officer on November 9.

Inside the Games

Hockeyroos captain Kenny retires after "disappointment" of Tokyo 2020 postponement

By Geoff Berkeley

Jodie Kenny made 235 appearances for Australia's women's hockey team during her career ©Getty Images

Australia's women's hockey co-captain Jodie Kenny admitted she struggled to get to grips with the "disappointment" of Tokyo 2020's postponement after ending her Olympic "dream" by calling time on her international career.

Kenny wanted the Games to be her swansong as she aimed to win her first Olympic medal at the third attempt.

But she was then forced to reconsider her retirement plans when the Olympics were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking in May, Kenny said she was still hoping to lead her nation in the Japanese capital.

But after months of deliberation, the 33-year-old has decided to retire from international hockey.

"Missing the Olympics is a huge disappointment," Kenny said.

"That is probably what took me six months to make this decision.

"I had to get over that disappointment and get to the point where I could actually see what I have achieved.

"Going to an Olympics and winning a medal would have been the pinnacle and has been my dream the whole time [only] for that to be taken away in such random circumstances.

"It has been such a crazy, emotional year.

"I'm just trying to take all of the positives out of it.

"I really wanted to get to Tokyo and I tried physically and emotionally to get myself into the head space to continue.

"But the Olympics is still a long way away and it's not just any lead up, it's an Olympic campaign and it's extremely intense.

"You don't know until you've been through one what it actually takes and you've got to be one hundred per cent in it and I couldn't give that anymore."

Kenny is eighth on the Hockeyroos' all-time list for matches played having racked up 235 appearances.

She also scored 111 goals for her country.

After becoming a mother in 2017, Kenny has spent the past three years residing in her hometown of Brisbane away from the Hockeyroos' base in Perth.

Kenny said the Hockeyroos had become a "huge part" of her life but felt it was the right time to move on and focus on her family.

"Making this decision to retire was a mix of everything," said Kenny.

"Emotions, motivation and uncertainty around what next year will look like with COVID and the extra commitments around travel and quarantine periods.

"My heart was still wanting to go on and play but my head just wasn't anymore.

"I wanted to leave on a high and not keep dragging myself to training if I didn't have the motivation that's required and my energy being directed elsewhere.

"I have been with the Hockeyroos for 10 years, so it has been a huge part of my life.

"I'm so passionate about it and I still am, but I just can't give everything I need to it anymore.

"I have missed a lot of things from being away with the Hockeyroos but I no longer want to miss those times and that's when I knew that my priorities were shifting towards having more family time and another child."

Kenny scored Australia's last-gasp equaliser in the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal match which the Hockeyroos went on to win in a shoot-out.

Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said Kenny was a "supreme athlete" and someone who "lived and breathed green and gold".

"My experiences with her over the past four years began after she finished in Rio and gave birth to her son," added Gaudoin.

"She was keen to come back and she came out and played just under 12 months later and was one of our best players against Spain in January 2018.

"She walked straight back in and just had that fire in her eyes to want to be the best and to win and be competitive.

"That [leadership] is something that has been really important for our group."

Inside the Games

U.S. Women's National Team Member Rigg Joins University of Mary Washington Field Hockey as Assistant Coach

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Former standout collegiate player and current U.S. Women's National Team player Miranda Rigg joins the UMW field hockey staff for the 2020 season.

“When Coach Tierney presented me with the opportunity to join the staff at Mary Washington I was thrilled”, says Rigg. “She has done great work with this program over the past few years and I’m excited to see what’s next. With these uncertain times for many I’m thankful to get back on the field doing what I love.”

"We are so excited to have Miranda with us especially during this time as we will be able to offer our players more individualized training in small group settings," added Jamie Tierney-Harris, University of Mary Washington Head Coach. "Miranda has great knowledge of the game but also a passion for field hockey that we think she will naturally fit into role as coach. She just loves to be involved with field hockey any way she can and we appreciate her dedication and commitment to the UMW program."

Rigg was a four-year member of the James Madison University field hockey team where she received All-CAA honors all four years. At JMU, she ranks eighth all time in goals scored and seventh all time with 101 career points.

In January 2020, she made the U.S. Women's National Team in which she is a current member. She graduated from JMU this past Spring with a degree is Sports and Recreation Management and a minor in Business. She is from the Fredericksburg area and graduated from James Monroe High School.

Content courtesy of UMW Athletics

USFHA media release

Jones and Johnston Awarded Place on EHF Umpire Programme

(L-R) Victoria Johnston, Kim Collins (IHUA), Amy Jones.

Congratulations to two of our umpires Amy Jones and Victoria Johnston both of which are mentees on our Elite Umpire Development Programme funded by Women in Sport. Having joined their Provincial Panel before Lockdown in March 2020 both Girls have been awarded a place on the EHF Umpire 4 Nations (U4N) one year programme finshing with the Push Tournament in Breda from 20th-22nd August 2021. The programme includes mentoring, observational learning and practical appointments. They Join Richard McNabb who had a place on the programme last year which was interupted by Covid-19.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Hockey Ireland EYHL Update

The Irish Hockey League Sub Working Group (IHL SWG) met Monday 12th October ’20 to consider the failure of the following teams to fulfil fixtures on the outlined dates:

  • of Cork Harlequins (Ladies) to fulfil the EYHL fixtures v. Muckross, Sat 26th September, and v. Belfast Harlequins, Sat 10th October
  • of Cork Church of Ireland (Ladies) to fulfil the EYHL2 fixtures v. Monkstown, Sat 26th September
  • of UCC (Ladies) to fulfil the EYHL2 fixtures v. Trinity, Sat 26th September
  • of Pembroke Wanderers (Men) to fulfil their fixture v Banbridge, Sat 26th September.

The IHL SWG, while acknowledging the concerns raised by each Club, are of the opinion that the following fixtures should have been fulfilled

  • Cork Harlequins v. Muckross, Sat 26th September
  • Cork Harlequins v. Belfast, Sat 10th October
  • Church of Ireland v. Monkstown, Sat 26th September
  • UCC v. Trinity, Sat 26th September

The opinion is based on
– the clearance received from Sport Ireland for the league to proceed under current Covid-19 restrictions,
– the clarification received in relation to travel,
– and the Covid-19 Protocols undertaken by each hosting club to ensure as safe an environment as possible, under the circumstances, for the participating teams.

On each of the above occasions Cork Harlequins, Church of Ireland, and UCC were instructed that the fixtures should proceed and on each occasion these Clubs declined to comply with the instruction.

The IHL SWG, as per Irish Hockey League – Regulations 2020/21: Covid-19 Appendix, has agreed on the following action, where the Club refers to [Cork Harlequins, Church of Ireland, and UCC]

  • The Club are in breach of regulations and should face the prescribed sanction.
  • A 5 – 0 defeat to be applied to the fixture and home advantage to be forfeit for the return fixture later in the season.
  • The sanction shall not be applied immediately.
  • The sanction is to be suspended and only applied should there be a subsequent breach of the regulations by the Club in the current season. This sanction shall be applied immediately upon the Club being found to be in breach of the regulations plus any additional sanction the IHL SWG may deem appropriate for a repeat offence.
  • The Fixture Secretary, IHL SWG, will reschedule this fixture and it must be played on the date appointed. The fixture may be played on an earlier date if agreed by both clubs and the EYHL.

As per Hockey Ireland Bye-Laws, the Club, and the relevant opposing team of each Club, have 14 days from the date of this notification, in which to appeal this decision to Hockey Ireland.

On the matter relating to Pembroke Wanderers’ decision not to travel following instruction from the HSE for the panel to self-isolate pending the results of the contact tracing procedure, the IHL SWG has decided that this was the correct decision in the circumstances.

It is the decision of the IHL SWG that the fixture be rescheduled. The IHL SWG will liaise with both clubs in relation to agreeing a suitable date.

As per Hockey Ireland Bye-Laws, Banbridge Hockey Club and Pembroke Wanderers Hockey Club have 14 days, from the date of this notification, to appeal this decision to Hockey Ireland.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Cracknell steps down as Banbridge men’s coach

Gordon Cracknell gives a team talk last season. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Gordon Cracknell has stepped down as Banbridge men’s coach, citing the time demands as they key reason for the decision.

In a statement, the club say they “regrettably accepted Gordon wish to stand down. Gordon took on the unenviable role of filling the top job at Havelock Park last season following the departure of Mark Tumilty after nine successful years in charge.  

“Gordon brought his own style of coaching to the Club and after a settling in period led Bann to Kirk Cup victory and at the same time inflicting Garvey’s only defeat last season and was setting Bann up for a real tilt at the EY Champions Trophy before the season was brought to a premature end.”

Club President Mark Evans added “I would like to thank Gordon for his commitment to Banbridge Hockey Club. He had great success by winning the Kirk Cup last year, however, unfortunately the season was cut short and he did not get the opportunity to add to this.  

“We understand the time demands and work commitments that he has, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gordon for his efforts and wish him every success for the future.”  

In the interim, the current senior coaching team of Scott McCandless, Suzanne Evans, Gareth Lennox and Colin Walker will look after the management of the squad, starting with Saturday’s date against Monkstown at the Merrion Fleet Arena.

The Hook

UNC field hockey secures 2-1 win over Virginia in unusual back-to-back match

By Michael Meares

Redshirt junior back Cassie Sumfest (12) strikes the ball during the game against Virginia on  Monday, Oct. 12th, 2020 at Shelton Stadium. UNC won 2-1. Nour Zarrouk

UNC field hockey ground out a 2-1 victory in the second leg of an unusual back-to-back versus Virginia on Monday afternoon in Chapel Hill.

The Tar Heels, who were coming off of a 5-1 win over the Cavaliers on Sunday, had to face Virginia again the next day due to the ACC's modified schedule during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We haven’t played back-to-back against the same opponent in years,” UNC head coach Karen Shelton said. “UVA has done it twice already this season. So I think that was a little to their advantage, but, again, I think our team did fine.”

Senior Eva Smolenaars, who had the first goal for the Tar Heels on Monday, relished the opportunity to get better on such short rest.

“Normally we have at least one day in between,” Smolenaars said. “So it was definitely a great experience for us.”

Junior Erin Matson — who has drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan over the last two seasons as the Tar Heels went undefeated and won two national championships — created that initial opportunity for Smolenaars with a slick pass between two UVA defenders.

“She passed the ball to me, and it was a one-on-one with the goalie,” Smolenaars said. “The goalie actually did a really great job coming up, so it was hard and I didn’t really expect it. But I got around it and was able to get a shot on target.”

Matson assisted on the game-winning goal with about eight minutes left, passing the ball to redshirt junior Meredith Sholder, who quickly scored to put the Tar Heels up 2-1.

“It was a great buildup,” Matson said. “Meredith Sholder was in a good position. I knew as long as I got it somewhere near the cage, someone was gonna be there. I didn’t have an angle to take a true shot, so I just tried to get it over there and it was a clean deflection like we practice.”

The UNC team was facing off against a former Tar Heel in one of Virginia's assistant coaches, Rachel Dawson, whose No. 9 jersey was retired by UNC in 2008. Dawson was named the 2007 National Player of the Year after leading UNC to an undefeated national championship season. Now, she is part of the Virginia coaching staff that earned praise from Shelton following Monday's matchup.

“Well, credit to UVA for making some really good adjustments to make it tougher than it was yesterday,” Shelton said. “I thought it was a good game by two teams that fought hard. We had a lot of chances, and I thought we left a lot out there, especially in the first half.”

The Tar Heels have now won three games in a row after their impressive 47-game win streak was broken versus the Louisville Cardinals on Oct. 2. They aim to continue their new streak on Friday against Syracuse.

“The overall feeling is that we are really happy and we are looking forward to Syracuse on Friday,” Matson said.

The Daily Tar Heel

‘GB hockey shirt still has huge sponsorship appeal in women’s sport’

By Rod Gilmour

Selling point: Investec deal was landmark for women’s sport

The GB women’s shirt remains one of the most attractive available properties in women’s sport, according to the former commercial director at England Hockey.

Jonathan Cockroft left Bisham Abbey this summer to join Bowls England as its chief executive after almost a decade in hockey – a period in which saw the international arm grow exponentially following a breakthrough sponsorship deal with Investec and, of course, Rio gold.

Cockroft may have left to join a slower-paced sport, but there’s no denying that in the last 10 years, hockey’s stock has grown rapidly – even if the English domestic game remains unappealing at a commercial and marketing level. Not that it deterred Investec, the global investment outfit which clearly saw potential before on pitch international successes.

The relationship was forged when England Hockey visited the finance giant in early 2011 to pitch the whole sport to Raymond van Niekerk, then head of marketing. The women’s team element, says Cockroft, grabbed the firm’s imagination and an initial five-year, six figure deal was inked. “Raymond is a forward-thinking guy and saw an opportunity and vision and his belief has been well repaid over the years,” said Cockroft in his last interview before he joined bowls.

“It was trailblazing at the time, the Women’s Sport Trust heralded it as one of the biggest women’s sport sponsorships at the time and the view has changed over time of women’s sport.”

Investec continued the long game by ironing out a contract extension prior to Rio 2016 before the coronavirus pandemic hit and a natural four-year cycle provided an end to its association. “It’s a great opportunity for hockey to engage with a new brand and bring the men’s and women’s properties together, one of the sport’s selling points,” said a bullish Cockroft.

However, with the 2020/21 season having started and GB Hockey entering Olympic year, the national governing body was left without a top-tier sponsor. Cockroft envisages that it won’t be long – despite the pandemic crippling many potential suitor’s purses – and says that “exploratory chats” took place during lockdown. Current chief exec Nick Pink recently told THP that advanced talks were being held with interested suitors.

Cockroft said: “Over the course of the decade, rarely a month went by when there wasn’t someone knocking at the door wondering what was going on with the women’s shirt. It’s definitely one of the most attractive available properties in women’s sport.”

While the women’s shirt made hay, the men’s sponsorship proved a harder sell. A 2013 deal with Now:Pensions was cut short while the most recent partnership with Toshiba was short-lived.

“It’s more of a minority sport v major sport challenge,” says Cockroft. “All Olympic sports are scrambling around for a slice of the sponsorship pie. It’s evidence of the value of the sport. There is more competition with the men’s side. It has been frustrating but there is an opportunity to bring the two together.”

Despite the downturn, Cockroft remained optimistic of the future of hockey. “Sponsorship is only five per cent of hockey’s income so it’s not as cataclysmic as some of the reports suggest when sports like hockey lose a sponsor.”

Cockroft took the commercial role on the back of his experiences watching the 2010 Champions Trophy in Nottingham. Watching the Monday night matches, the Yorkshireman witnessed an “incredible product”.

“I had a strong belief it could be a major spectator sport and the platform for the players being remunerated fitting of their talents as well as inspiring more people to take up the game.”

So began the vision to bring the international game to the thousands of hockey players, which has since culminated with a home World Cup, the launch of the FIH Pro League and over 12,000 at Twickenham Stoop.

Cockroft says: “If we as a sport sell as many tickets for the Pro League on an annual basis as we did for the World Cup, the financial picture would be incredibly positive on what international matches can deliver for the business, which can then be reinvested into domestic game which is obviously of great interest [to The Hockey Paper].

“The challenge is convincing hockey people that it’s great to watch as well as play it. We know that they do have a great experience when they do and so it’s about continuing to bang the drum.

Flashback: England captain Kate Walsh looks ahead to the Investec World League in London

“There is no supply challenge in the sport. It’s about a critical mass of fans coming. If that grows that will be incredibly exciting.”

The potential ‘reinvestment’ into the domestic game remains to be seen. At this point, I remind Cockroft of a conversation which took place during the Hague World Cup in 2014, together with now former chief executive Sally Munday. One remark has always stood out, that it was all about the international game. “You obviously have a better memory than me!” he says.

“Over the years, we have tried in many ways to elevate domestic hockey commercially, Super 6s, the early 2010s investing in broadcast and there was some commitment to air the play-offs at EH’s cost,” he adds. “As it stands, it would be an incredible leap in investment for the domestic product to become commercially viable, with the size of the audience and the facilities. However much we want domestic hockey to be successful and playing a part of a commercial landscape as in rugby and football, we can’t do everything commercially.

“There is a disconnect [with clubs] and there is a place for some form of T20 hockey. It has been floating around with Hockey 5s and there is potential, but that comes with significant challenges.”

Cockroft hints to a franchise league where a team might have London in their name, which would “more affinity to it than something that has a parochial title to it,” adding that “there is no perfect template, but you need to create a model that is relevant to a mass of people.

He added: “I believe that the EH philosophy and generating profits from international hockey is the most sensible business approach to making things different in the domestic product.”

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The Hockey Paper

It's More Than a Game

By Regan McCrossan

Courtesy of University of Richmond Athletics

A year ago, life as a student-athlete looked a whole lot different. We were preparing for yet another game day together. My teammates and I were putting on our uniforms while blasting music and dancing in our locker room. No masks required, no social distancing and many more games to be played. Today, we have to show up to practice with our faces covered, six feet apart, and we have no games in sight.

Courtesy of University of Richmond Athletics

As an athlete, one of the most exciting parts of playing a sport is the competition. Being able to compete for something makes all the hard practices, run tests and lift sessions worth it. However, with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic cancelling our whole spring season and postponing our fall one, I have learned to appreciate field hockey in a different way aside from the actual game.

When I showed up to Richmond, I was given 22 best friends. Automatically, I had a family that made my transition to college so easy. I never have to eat alone and always have someone to talk to. When I couldn't find my classes, several seniors offered to walk me around campus to make sure my first day went smoothly. If I ever need help with a class or exam, the upperclassmen suddenly become my tutors. The team aspect of field hockey is something I have always cherished. The coronavirus has shown me that even when games get canceled, field hockey provides me a family that doesn’t go away.

Not only am I a part of such a special family at Richmond, but by being a student-athlete, I am part of such a special community. When days get hard and a practice or game does not go well, it is very easy to think that I am alone in the struggle. However, when the pandemic hit and sports were canceled, it became so clear that field hockey has provided me with an overwhelming support system much larger than myself and my team. Across my university and the country, hundreds of athletes were impacted by the coronavirus. Therefore, I had many people to relate to and train with when things got tough.

Lastly, field hockey provides me a way to challenge myself. In order to be a Division I athlete, I have learned that I have to give everything I have all the time. While that doesn't always happen, the game itself challenges me to do so. This is a habit that carries over into other aspects of my life such as academics, relationships or jobs. The game of field hockey has given me the opportunity to work on my discipline as a person, something I will be grateful for throughout the rest of my life.

Due to the actual game of field hockey being canceled or postponed, I have realized that the sport gives me so much more than the actual practice and games. Field hockey has provided friends for life, a supportive community and challenges that will prepare me for the future. Although the coronavirus pandemic is not ideal and has canceled many exciting things for me, it was valuable because it made me pause and appreciate the opportunity I was given when I chose to play the sport of field hockey.

Regan McCrossan is a USA Field Hockey Contributing Author & University of Richmond Student-Athlete

USFHA media release

A bumpy road to success

Irish U21 Women's coach David Passmore. Photo credit: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

It is the multi-million dollar question that coaches in all sports in all countries are continually asking themselves. What is the most effective way to develop talent?

In an exciting coaching workshop run by the FIH Academy, in conjunction with Coach Logic and Notts sport, renowned coach and coach educator David Passmore will be exploring several aspects of talent development.

Passmore, who is a FIH Academy Educator and Head Coach to Ireland U21 women’s team, is excited at the prospect of sharing ideas and concepts with passionate coaches who are currently working at all levels across the international hockey community. The course draws on wide-ranging research into athlete development but then looks at how coaches can effectively use the research to create a great learning environment.

“The research shows how important the environment surrounding a young player is,” says Passmore. “And in particular, how the coach’s approach to the longer term development of each individual player in their group is so much more important than having a short-term focus.”

Athlete-centred development is something that Passmore is hugely interested in. Besides hockey coaching, he is also a teacher developer and one area that he is keen to explore is how coaches can develop mental and physical skills within their own hockey coaching sessions, rather than isolating these areas into separate areas of psychology and strength and conditioning.

“We will be looking at the practicalities of how you create that environment and ‘what does athlete-centred’ really mean. We will also look at how does that reflect in coaching practices at different age groups,” says Passmore.

Long term development is one thing, but Passmore says another factor that is key to the coaching environment is alignment. This involves national federations, regions, clubs and schools working together to eliminate conflicting demands upon players. He stresses that the athletes need to feel part of a system in which they are being looked after.

Athlete centred and aligned systems are concepts that have been around for 20 years but Passmore feels that early approaches were too restrictive. “There was this idea that talent could only be developed within that one system but actually there are loads of examples where players have developed in different environments but still made it into the national squads.”

Passmore, who refers to himself as a ‘pracademic’ [combining academic research with practical application] will be citing examples of these players on the course but it is the classic situation in which a player has trained in a different sport and then transferred successfully to hockey. Great Britain’s Lily Owsley is one such example – she was an elite track athlete whose speed has made her an outstanding hockey player.

The third factor that Passmore will be highlighting is the quality of resilience. “If a player goes on an upward trajectory with no set-backs, then they will never learn how to deal with things. Players need to learn how to deal with disappointment. In some cases that might mean they disappear from the sport for a year or two but, if they come back, they will come back stronger. A bumpy road is better than a smooth path."

The FIH Academy Talent Development Coaching Workshop is taking place on 20 and 30 October, with participants joining from all around the world. Visit here for further details.

FIH site

New facility in Hurunui provides opportunities for growth

Throughout New Zealand we continually see initiative being shown in different communities for the love of hockey. Everything from new ideas to small teams of people coming together to make the game happen. In 2019, we had multiple impressive applicants for our Community Initiative of the Year Award.

For 2019, the winner goes to the Canterbury Hockey Association and the Hurunui District for their initiative and hard work to get a new multipurpose turf in the district.

In June 2019, the Hurunui District had a massive boost with the official opening of a $450,000 multipurpose turf at Amuri Area School. The project had been in the pipeline for two years, and thanks to some passionate parents and a supportive principal, the half-turf is now used for six-a-side hockey and other sports such as futsal.

The construction of this facility has created a home for hockey in the Hurunui district. With a place to play hockey in its traditional format, the Hurunui Hock¬ey Club has provided residents with the opportunity to play hockey and has attracted interest from several people who have never played the sport before.

Amuri Area School principal James Griggs said he was approached by some school parents who wanted to provide more opportunities for people to play hockey in the area. “These parents were passionate about growing the sport and providing opportunities for our students and the community to get involved in hockey.”

Lourdes Mones-Cazon, a former representative player from Argentina, was one of the driving forces behind the project. The mother of seven had played for Waikato while living in the region, but after moving to Culverden discovered there were no opportunities for her or her family to play the sport she loved. “I started talking to some other parents, and we decided to advertise for people who might be interest¬ed in playing.”

“We had no turf to play on, so we had to play in the gym. One week out from our regis-tration closing date we had one team, and by the end of the week we had seven teams of 10 players.” Lourdes said although it was a social league, it got quite competitive.

“It was for this reason we knew we had to move out of the gym. So we went and talked to James, and it all started from there. When we officially opened the facility, it was like a dream come true,” she said.

Throughout the second half of 2019, the Hurunui Hockey Club implemented a range of skills programmes and social competitions. They delivered Hockey New Zealand’s Fun Sticks programme to 32 participants over 12 weeks, with the support of six coaches. In addition, they ran skills sessions and six-a-side games for children aged years 4-9 and finally ran a six-a-side summer hockey competition for men, women and intermediate/senior-aged children in mixed teams.

The construc¬tion of this new facility would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of Amuri Area School, the Hurunui Hockey Club and the North Canterbury Sports and Recreation Trust, as well as grants from Lottery, Rata, Pub Charities and the Amuri Area School Board of Trustees. James and Lourdes commented that support from The North Can¬terbury Sports Trust and Canterbury Hockey has also been instrumental in getting the project completed.

With the new multiple sports facility on the school’s site, the turf will be utilised for hockey, school-based sporting activities and other sporting codes training and/or matches. With Hurunui Hockey Clubs intentions to become an affiliated club of Canterbury Hockey, they have worked alongside Rangiora Hockey Club to provide a playing opportunity for their competitive athletes in Canterbury Hockey junior and open grade winter competitions.

These two groups will continue to work together throughout the next few years until Hurunui have enough playing numbers to create a stand-alone club.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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