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News for 03 February 2021

All the news for Wednesday 3 February 2021

Pau ready for a big year

Pau Quemada is Spain’s talismanic striker. He has been a mainstay of the Spanish team since 2004, clocking up 274 appearances so far. As he explains in this interview, 2021 will be a big season for him as it is likely to be his last Olympic Games as an athlete. He is hoping to get the next few months off to a good start in Spain’s FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Belgium.

How does it feel to be preparing for international hockey again?

Pau Quemada: “For me, it feels great to be out on the field again, it’s been a long, long period without hockey and now we are happy to be back together and getting ready for the Olympic Games.”

Do you feel the squad is ready for a return to action?

Pau Quemada: “Yes, as I said before, we have been waiting for a long period now and we are getting ready for the first two games against Belgium and the [FIH Hockey] Pro League.”

What are you expecting of the Belgium side in terms of a style of play?

Pau Quemada: “I think it is the team to defeat and I think, that they are also looking forward to starting to play hockey on an international level. We will do our best and we will try to make our own strong points count in the game.”

How excited are you as you contemplate the year of hockey that lies ahead?

Pau Quemada: “I hope it is the complete reverse of last year! Joking apart, I think it will be a really interesting year ahead. It is very motivational for me to be preparing for one more year of Olympics so we will be trying to get in the best shape for 2021.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

National league plays part in Spain’s readiness for action

Frederic Soyez has been head coach to the Spain men’s team since 2014. In that time the Frenchman, who played for his national indoor and outdoor teams, has led the team to success in the Belfius EuroHockey Championships with a silver medal in 2019.

In the first season of FIH Hockey Pro League action, Spain finished seventh of eight teams but, despite this, the Red Sticks won a lot of admirers for their high tempo play and attacking nous, which led to a number of high scoring and exciting matches.

Here, the Red Sticks’ coach offers his thoughts on the team’s encounter with Belgium as the FIH Pro League second season starts again after the break caused by the global pandemic.

This will be a tough encounter - how will you ask your team to counter the strengths of the Belgium team?

Frederic Soyez: “To be sure these will be very tough games for us but all matches at this level are very difficult and maybe even more so after a year without international matches. But we will approach this game like all the others. We be looking to play our best hockey over these two games.”

How important has the return to league action been when it comes to readiness for these fixtures?

Frederic Soyez:“We have had the chance to play our national league and to keep training together but now we need to play against [other national sides] to prepare for the European Championships and the Olympics.

What learning or development points are you hoping your team will gain from the next few FIH Hockey Pro League matches?

Frederic Soyez: “Against Belgium we want to regain our confidence in our systems. It will be important to perform at a high level. Belgium are a formidable team and we will have to play our best hockey if we want to win.”

What will count as a good outcome from these two games against the world number 1 side?

Frederic Soyez: “To be honest, it is difficult to set objectives, because we have come from a long time without games. But the guys have been training very well over the last weeks and we have to be ready for these two games.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup – One year to go!

Lausanne, Switzerland: The FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup should have started today in Liège, Belgium. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Royal Belgian Hockey Association (ARBH) decided last September to postpone the event for one year. The competition will therefore be held at the Country Hall in Liège from February 2 to 6, 2022.

To mark the occasion, today we are launching a promotional video that will give a taste of what this major event in international hockey will be like.

For the occasion, Philippe Simar, one of the major players for the Belgian Indoor Red Lions, agreed to step into the skin of the distracted athlete, appearing in front of the famous Liège sports temple to play his match… a year too early.

Hockey Belgium Director General Serge Pilet said: “This marks a new start for our organization, in collaboration with the Province of Liège. Little by little, communication around the event will gain momentum. Ticketing should start right after summer."

FIH CEO Thierry Weil added: “The FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup is the pinnacle of indoor hockey globally and the Belgian organizers are doing their utmost to offer all fans a top-flight event! Therefore, we’re looking forward to some thrilling matches as well as an amazing atmosphere next year!"

This will be the sixth edition of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. The flagship event will see 12 teams compete in the men's and women's competitions. Germany women and Austria men were winners of the 2018 edition, which took place in Berlin, Germany.

More information on the history of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup is available here.

For more information about FIH and hockey in general, please download the Watch.Hockey app or follow the FIH social media channels - FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

FIH site

Sjoerd Marijne says Argentina tour gave confidence of playing against top side

Indian women's hockey team head coach Sjoerd Marijne says the recently-concluded "exposure trip" against Argentina has helped the players understand what it takes to beat a top team.

Indian women's hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian women's hockey team head coach Sjoerd Marijne says the recently-concluded "exposure trip" against Argentina has helped the players understand what it takes to beat a top team.

The Indian core group played two draws (2-2, 1-1) against the Argentina Junior team and lost two matches (1-2, 2-3) to Argentina 'B' team before losing a couple more (2-3, 0-2) and eking out a 1-1 draw against the world number two side.

The team will return home on Wednesday after playing its first competitive tour since the coronavirus-induced break. "In all three matches against the senior women, it was very closely contested, and the matches could have gone either way. Even the match where we lost 0-2, they (Argentina) were very effective, but our quality of play was very high in that game," Marijne said in a release issued by Hockey India.

Positive step

"Overall, this tour has helped us gain that confidence of playing against a top side like Argentina. We had the chance to experience what it takes to beat a team like Argentina and the areas we need to focus on to succeed against a quality side. This is a positive step in our preparations for the Olympic Games."

After returning to India, the core group will have a two-week break before regrouping at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru campus for the National Coaching Camp.

"Once we return to Bengaluru, we will evaluate these matches again and use this as a benchmark to make further progress in our performance. This tour has surely helped a lot," Marijne said.

Winning mindset

Speaking about the players' experience, skipper Rani said, "In 2017 when we played against Argentina at the World League semifinal, we stood no chance of coming close to them. We couldn't go into their circle. We couldn't create opportunities or PCs (penalty corners).

"I remember, before going into matches against top teams like Argentina, we would tell each other that we should try and keep the score low, but now we go into these matches wanting to win.

"There's a big difference now, and with a little more change to our game, we can definitely beat top teams. The whole experience of the tour was fantastic, and we know the level we are at despite a year-long break in competitions due to covid-19."


Malaysian junior hockey coach worried for trainees

By Jugjet Singh

Wallace Tan

No team in the world can win tournaments without first playing friendly matches to gauge their form.

However, this could be the case for the national junior hockey team, who are preparing for the Junior Asia Cup (JAC), a qualifier for the age-group World Cup, on July 1-10 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

National junior coach Wallace Tan is a worried man as Covid-19 has interrupted his plans to prepare his players accordingly.

With the coronavirus wreaking havoc, the team may not get to play international friendly matches ahead of the JAC.

His trainees had undergone quarantine-based training late last year and had played practice matches against Arul Selvaraj's senior team.

The players were then released to their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) clubs.

However, the MHL, which was supposed to start on Jan 14, was postponed following the reintroduction of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will have to come up with an effective strategy to ensure Wallace's side are well-oiled for the JAC or face the prospect of seeing their team failing in Dhaka.

The players now train online to keep themselves fit.

"Everything is fine with the players. They follow a training regime from their homes to keep fit. Everyone is waiting for the playing fields to reopen," said Wallace yesterday.

"My main worry is how many international matches can we get before the JAC?

"Can we travel to other countries when the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia improves?

"Or can other countries fly into Malaysia for friendly matches?"

The top-four teams in the JAC will qualify for the Junior World Cup in India.

The JAC has attracted 10 teams with Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea and China being the frontrunners for the four World Cup slots.

"Hopefully, the MCO ends on Thursday. However, there is still a chance for quarantine-based training if the MCO is extended for another two weeks. But that is for the MHC to decide.

"Right now, online training is fine. However, we will need friendly matches against other nations, not just the national senior side, when the JAC gets closer."

Pakistan and India are already training on pitches despite surging Covid-19 numbers in their respective countries.

Things are more complicated for the women's team as their JAC will be held on April 11-17 in Kakamiganara, Japan.

Coach Nasihin Nubli also needs his charges to play international friendly matches ahead of the tournament.

However, it will not be easy as they need to get clearance from various government agencies to travel abroad or invite teams here for friendlies.

New Straits Times

Lahore, Faisalabad win in Quaid Hockey

LAHORE - Four matches were played on the ninth day of 1st Quaid-e-Azam Inter-Division Hockey Championship here at Pakistan's National Hockey Stadium Tuesday.

The first match of day between Sahiwal and Rawalpindi failed to produce any result as both the teams scored two goals each during the stipulated time.

Lahore toppled DG Khan 4-0 in the second match of the day.

Faisalabad ousted Sargodha 5-2 in the third match.

The last match of the day between Bahawalpur and Gujranwala ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Nation

Big Ten Announces 2020-21 Field Hockey Schedule; Penn State Set for 14 Game B1G Slate

Two weekends in Virginia Beach, six home and six away games

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –  The Big Ten Conference announced the 2020-21 field hockey schedule this afternoon and the Penn State Nittany Lion field hockey team will play a 14-game slate.  Head coach Char Morett-Curtiss and her Penn State squad will play four neutral site games, six home games and four road games beginning in February and ending in April.
The conference will utilize a neutral site in Virginia Beach, Va., for two weekends in February to get the season started for all nine conference squads. Penn State will head to the site for each weekend.  The Nittany Lions open up their season on Friday, Feb. 26, with a neutral site game in Virginia against Michigan.  The team then battles Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 28.  The next weekend, Penn State will face Northwestern on Friday, March 5, and Iowa again on Sunday, March 7.
The Nittany Lions are set to open up home play at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex with two games against Maryland in Happy Valley.  The Lions and Terrapins will battle on Friday, March 12, and Sunday, March 14. Morett-Curtiss' crew hits the road the next weekend for two games at Michigan State.  Penn State and MSU tangle on Friday and Sunday, March 19 and 21.
After a week off, Penn State travels to Rutgers for two game with the Scarlet Knights.  The Lions and Rutgers battle on Friday and Sunday, April 2 and 4.  Penn State's last four games are at home over the next two weekends.  The Lions welcome Indiana on Friday and Sunday, April 9 and 11.  The regular season concludes with Penn State hosting Ohio State on Thursday and Saturday, April 15 and 17.  The Big Ten Tournament will be at Iowa on April 20-24.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the Big Ten Conference for working so hard to put together an outstanding schedule under these circumstances," said Morett-Curtiss.  "I'd like to thank Penn State Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator Charmelle Green and Faculty Advisor Dennis Scanlon for their support during this process.  I'd also like to thank Lisa Cellucci, head coach at Iowa, and Barbara Burke, Iowa's Deputy Director of Athletics and SWA, for their efforts."

"A.J. Edds, Assistant Director of Sports Administration at the Big Ten played a big part in getting this done and we owe him our gratitude as well," Morett-Curtiss continued. "We're excited to face this schedule, which gives us the chance to compete in one of the nation's top field hockey conferences. We are appreciative of the opportunity to compete on the road at the Virginia Beach Field Hockey Complex in Virginia Beach and we are ready to get this season started!"
Start times and television broadcast designations for Big Ten field hockey events will be announced shortly as they become available.

Penn State University Sports media release

Maryland field hockey announces 2021 schedule

Shane Connuck

Maryland field hockey before their 2-1 win over Rutgers on Sept. 28, 2019 in Piscataway, N.J. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

On Nov. 17, 2019, No. 4 Maryland field hockey found itself in a stalemate with No. 3 Virginia in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. Goalkeeper Noelle Frost, then a senior, had been anchoring the Terps’ strong defense, tallying a career-high 11 saves.

But 5:28 into overtime, the Cavaliers’ Annie McDonough deflected a shot from Rachel Robinson past a diving Frost and into the cage, ending the Terps’ 17-4, Big Ten-winning season.

Maryland hasn’t played a match since — but now, there’s some clarity on when it will, as the Big Ten announced its field hockey schedule Tuesday.

The Terps, along with five other Big Ten teams, will head to Virginia Beach, for two straight weekends. Maryland will kick off its 14-match season there on Feb. 26 against Michigan State — 467 days after it last took the pitch for a match — before a battle with Northwestern two days later.

After seeing Ohio State and the Wildcats again in the second weekend in Virginia, the Terps will travel to State College, Pennsylvania, for two matches against Penn State’s Nittany Lions on March 12 and 14.

From that point on, six of their following eight matches will be played in College Park.

Maryland will host Indiana March 19 and 21 — its first match at home since Oct. 25, 2019, when it secured a share of that season’s Big Ten title.

The Terps will then have a weekend off before heading west to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on April 2 and 4. They’ll return home for a pair of matches against Michigan on April 9 and 11 before rounding out the truncated regular season with two matches against Rutgers on April 15 and 17.

Days after the conclusion of the regular season, Iowa will host the Big Ten tournament from April 21-24.

And just after that wraps up, the NCAA will name 12 teams — four fewer than usual — to the NCAA tournament. The semifinals and finals are set to be played in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from May 7-9.

Maryland — which returns 16 players from last season, including Frost — will look to avenge its second-round loss in 2019.

The Diamondback

Millfield hockey player selected for 2021 GB England Development Programme

Submitted by Millfield School

Kitty Chapple has her eye on the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Millfield School is celebrating after one of its hockey players has been selected for the Great Britain Elite Development Programme as the only schoolgirl in the squad.

Upper Sixth student Kitty Chapple, from Taunton, Somerset, becomes the third Millfield student in recent years to be selected for the programme whilst still at school.

The 18-year-old will join Stuart Rushmere, Toby Reynolds-Cotterel and Vicky McCabe in the Elite Development programme, all with aspirations of playing senior international hockey and with goals of selection for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Kitty joined Millfield in Year 9 and played for Clifton Robinson's Hockey Club in the Investec Women's Premier League while studying for three A levels in biology, Italian and music. Kitty is also a talented singer and trumpet player, frequently performing in school concerts.

Kitty will take part in weekly EDP training sessions with her eye on making the Great Britain U21s for the upcoming World Cup in November 2021.

Former Millfield Hockey Olympians include Simon and Richard Mantell (GB, Beijing 2008), Ian Haley (South Africa, London 2012), and Christina Schultze (Germany, Beijing 2008).

Current nationals and internationals include GB Hockey goalkeeper Harry Gibson, Lauren Roberts (Wales) and Hannah Cozens (Wales).

Director of Hockey, Reggie Keates, at the school in Street, Somerset, said: "We are all so thrilled for Kitty. She has developed tremendously well due to her work ethic and constant eagerness to learn, always embracing new challenges with excitement rather than trepidation.

"Individual development is a cornerstone of our school programme and Kitty’s success, as well as the other Millfieldians in the EDP, are a great source of inspiration for our younger players."

In Your Area

Ulster and Irish hockey mourns the loss of John McDonough

By John Flack.

The Ulster and Irish hockey family is mourning the loss of John McDonough who has sadly passed away after a long illness.

The Belfast Harlequins stalwart enjoyed a fine playing career with Queen’s University and later Belfast YMCA and Holywood ’87 and was a popular figure around the club’s Deramore headquarters in recent years.

John, left, with wife Margaret and daughter Jenny on occasion of her first senior cap

Having coached Quins for a spell in the mid-nineties (under their previous guise of Collegians), John spent his most recent years passionately supporting the club and followed the women’s first eleven with particular interest.

John’s daughter Jenny McAuley is still going strong in her late 30s and has been a regular member of the EYHL squad in between giving birth to her two children, Rebecca and Matthew.

John and his devoted wife Margaret rarely missed a match and looked after their beloved grandchildren while their mum was in action on the pitch.

Before his health deteriorated, John and Margaret with Rebecca and Matthew in tow,  were able to watch Quins playing Railway Union at Deramore back in September.

The Queen’s side from the 1972 Irish Senior Cup win; John is second from the left, back row

Jenny won 117 Ireland senior caps in her international days after representing her country at every under age level. She made her senior debut in Belfast in 2001 as Ireland secured a rare positive result in the modern era against their oldest rivals, England, drawing the game 1-1 at Queen’s University.

John and Margaret went on to travel the world following the fortunes of Jenny and Ireland and were fantastic company for all who were privileged to know them and meet them on their travels.

In his playing days, John was a member of the Queen’s team who famously lifted the Irish Senior Cup in 1972 when the students were a real force in the game with a host of Ireland players in their ranks including Terry Gregg, John Clarke, the late Norman Crawford and Philip Marshall.

Yet, John, who didn’t play much hockey at school, had started his career with the club on their third eleven when he began a dentistry course in 1967 before rising through the ranks.

John and Margaret with grandkids Matthew and Rebecca

Like the bulk of the successful Queen’s team, John went on to join Belfast YM who then morphed into Holywood ’87 after going out of existence.

John also played top flight hockey in South Africa for four years when he went to work in Cape Town after graduating.

He was also a well-known administrator, having served on the Board of Hockey Ireland until 2020.

Belfast Harlequins paid John the following tribute: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of John McDonough.

“Although a supporter of all sports and social gatherings at Harlequins, his presence will be most missed at the side of the hockey pitch.

“He wasn’t just a hockey dad to Jenny, he really knew his hockey stuff!

“The Ladies Hockey section will remember him as a coach, supporter, sponsor and friend. He was a true gentleman with time to chat and a smile for everyone.

“The clubhouse at Deramore will be a little less bright when we can gather there again.

“We send our deepest condolences to Margaret, Jenny, son Andrew, grandchildren Rebecca, Matthew and Julie during these sad days.”

The Hook

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