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News for 05 February 2021

All the news for Friday 5 January 2021

2020 FIH Pro League (Men) - 5 February

Times GMT+1

5 Feb 2021 11:00     ESP v BEL (RR)   
6 Feb 2021 13:00     ESP v BEL (RR)

Keep up to date with all the latest news on the FIH Hockey Pro League via the Watch.Hockey app, event website and through FIH social media channels - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Live streaming and full game replay on the Watch Hockey App (May be Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

Men's Pool

Rank Team Played Wins SO Win Draws SO Loss Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Belgium 11 7 2 0 1 1 35 20 15 26
2 Netherlands 9 4 2 0 2 1 25 22 3 18
3 Australia 8 3 1 0 3 1 27 20 7 14
4 India 6 2 2 0 0 2 17 15 2 10
5 Argentina 8 2 1 0 2 3 22 24 -2 10
6 New Zealand 8 2 1 0 0 5 15 25 -10 8
7 Spain 8 2 0 0 1 5 19 27 -8 7
8 Germany 4 1 2 0 0 1 9 10 -1 7
9 Great Britain 8 1 0 0 2 5 13 19 -6 5

FIH Match Centre

Spain and Belgium’s men lock horns as Pro League returns for first time in 2021

Spain’s Red Sticks welcome Belgium’s Red Lions to Valencia for two matches in the Estadio Betero this weekend as the men’s FIH Pro League returns for the first time in 2021.

It is part of the continuation of the Covid-affected 2020 season with Belgium currently sitting top of the standings with 26 points from 11 games, eight ahead of the Netherlands who have two games in hand. Spain, meanwhile, are in seventh out of nine with two wins from eight games.

While Belgium will be hot favourites against the Spaniards, head coach Shane McLeod will certainly not be underestimating their hugely talented, unpredictable opponents.  

The team coached by former France international Fred Soyez claimed a shoot-out triumph over the Red Lions when the two teams met in Valencia during the 2019 FIH Hockey Pro League season, with Ignacio Rodriguez and Enrique Gonzalez scoring dramatic late goals to tie the match at 2-2 before snatching a crucial bonus point.

As was the case in the FIH Hockey Pro League matches that took place in the latter part of 2020, the health and safety requirements in relation to the COVID-19 global health pandemic means that spectators will be unable to attend the upcoming clashes, which will be played behind closed doors. However, the TV cameras will be present to capture all of the action via the global broadcast.
Due to issues directly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the uncertainties and restrictions around European travel, both teams have agreed that the on-field umpires may come from one of the competing nations, and that there will be no video umpire in these two matches.

The first game takes place at 11am (CET) on Friday with game two on Saturday at 1pm (CET).

Euro Hockey League media release

FIH Hockey Pro League to resume with double-header between Belgium and Spain

By Liam Morgan

Belgium and Spain are set to meet when the Pro League resumes this week ©Getty Images

The Hockey Pro League is set to resume after a four-month break with a men's double header between Belgium and Spain in Valencia this week.

The two sides are scheduled to meet tomorrow before playing a second match at the Estadio Betero on Saturday (February 6).

Belgium sit top of the men's Pro League table with 26 points from 11 games and are eight points clear of nearest rivals The Netherlands, who have played two matches less.

The Red Lions will be confident of extending their lead when they face Spain, who they have beaten in 12 of their past 17 encounters.

Both games in Valencia will be held behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Belgium beat The Netherlands in the last Hockey Pro League match of 2020 ©Getty Images

The International Hockey Federation said the teams "have agreed that the on-field umpires may come from one of the competing nations, and that there will be no video umpire in these two matches" due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Belgium were involved in the last Pro League match to be held in 2020, where they beat The Netherlands in a shoot-out after a 4-4 draw on November 4.

Matches between Britain and Germany's men and women's teams in November, and two women's games between between China and Belgium in January, were postponed as a result of the global health crisis.

The 2020 Pro League campaign has been extended to June 2021 to cater for the delay caused by the global health crisis.

Around a third of this season's FIH Pro League had been completed before the coronavirus pandemic brought it to a halt.

The league was suspended in March and resumed in September, but teams outside of Europe, such as Australia, Argentina and China, are yet to play.

Inside the Games

Felix is ready for a big year ahead for Belgium

Belgium forward Felix Denayer has been a member of the Red Lions squad since 2008 and, in that long career, has seen the national team transform from a mediocre national team to world leaders. With 324 caps to his name, Denayer’s constant appearance among the top scorers are a sign that, 13 years on, his goal-scoring instincts are as sharp as ever.

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

Felix Denayer: “Obviously it feels great. We are currently in Las Palmas with the team kickstarting our Olympic campaign. Obviously we understand that we are in a privileged position to be able to train together as a team and we use that as motivation to train hard and to be focused to lay the foundations of out very important year that lies ahead.”

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

Felix Denayer: “The team is very excited obviously. A lot of players came out of lockdown where we had individual training sessions but I feel everyone prepared well and everybody arrived very fit and you see at training that everyone is very sharp and ready to kickstart this campaign well and set the tone for all the challenges that lie ahead this year.”

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

Felix Denayer: “Spain is always a combination of a lot of passion and great skills. They have interesting strikers and they also always do a good job as a defensive block. We are looking forward to playing them, and we are preparing for a nice challenge.”

How excited are you when you think of the year of hockey that lies ahead of you?

Felix Denayer: “For us it is year with a lot of opportunities. There is the FIH Hockey Pro League first, then the EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam and the Olympic Games. I feel the group is really focused and really working hard and obviously it helps when you are chasing your dreams so I can’t wait to see how this journey will develop for us. Hopefully we will play our best hockey in 2021 and that is what we are training so hard for.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

Lockdown offers Red Lions opportunity for personal development

Shane McLeod has been Head Coach to the Belgium Red Lions since 2015. In that time he has led the team to gold medals at the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 EuroHockey Championships, plus silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In the past two seasons, the team has also risen to the top of the World Rankings.

Unsurprisingly, McLeod, who is a New Zealander and played for the national team, has twice been voted Coach of the Year – in 2017 and 2018.

Here, he talks about Belgium’s return to international action and the opening encounter with European rivals Spain in the first FIH Hockey Pro League matches since the latest global lockdown.

What hockey competition have your players managed to get under their belts since Christmas?

Shane McLeod: “Christmas has traditionally been a time when we have released our players from the centralised programme and they do a lot of work individually. It is usually an opportunity for them to spend time with family and friends. But, this year, in Belgium it has been a bit more difficult to do that so the guys have really invested in their own personal development stuff. So we see the players come back from that break and they are in pretty good shape and they are ready for the confutation of the Pro League and the beginning of a really big year for us.”

How ready do you think the team is for a return to international hockey?

Shane McLeod: “Like most teams we are keen to play some games so we can see where we are at exactly. I am very happy with the work they have been doing. They have been playing a lot against each other. It is not really until you see a game against Spain, for example, to see if we have made some gains and where we are sitting against a team that is always really competitive. Then we will know what things we can work on.”

During the long break, have you found the opportunity to work with your players in a way that was perhaps not possible when life was following its normal pace? Can you give any examples?

Shane McLeod: “For a long time within our programme we have managed to do a lot of individual stuff with our group. With the Covid break, the players were all able to look at their own personal development stuff. We certainly, as a coaching staff, were able to support that and encourage that type of behaviour when we weren’t able to be together or when we were in small groups. Have we made some gains in technical development? I would suggest ‘yes’. Have players had a chance to reflect and enjoy what international hockey has brought to them so far? A time away has allowed us to do quite a bit of planning and understand what our aims and values are as we go into the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

What do you hope to see from your team during these two fixtures against Spain?

Shane McLeod: “What myself and the other coaching staff would like to see in the matches against Spain is probably a consistent improvement throughout each quarter. That is always nice. It has been such a long time since we played. It’s been over a month and in hockey terms for us it is a substantial period of time. We will be looking at players, how players have come through the Christmas period. We have also been lucky enough to have a camp at the moment so it will be interesting to see high performers from the camp getting rewarded with matches against Spain. So my hope is that individually players are proud of their performance but what’s most important for us is that collectively we do a good job against good opposition.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

Pan American Challenge and South American Championships postponed

New dates: September 23rd - October 3rd 2021

PAHF announces the postponement of the Pan American Challenge and South American Championships to be held in Lima, Peru. The new date, subject to final number of entered teams, is September 23rd - October 3rd 2021.

We work to ensure safety for all involved in our Events. There is still a lot of uncertainty, regarding COVID 19 status in different countries, and many of our NAs are still impacted by the lock down with little activity or none.

PAHF Event Coordinator is working in close contact with Health & Safety Panel, to assist host countries and participants in preparation for Events. General Protocol Guidelines will be provided closer to dates of Events.

Should you have any queries or questions please contact PAHF Event Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Bovelander: 'The Olympics will be a big surprise for most of us'

Hockey great, Floris Jan Bovelander, talks about life at the NTHA, upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Indian hockey, the art of drag flicking and more.

Samarnath Soory & Santadeep Dey

File picture of Floris Jan Bovlander.   -  Manob Chowdhury

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to shred sporting calendars globally, emerging talents at the Naval Tata Hockey Academy's (NTHA) High Performance Centre in Bhubaneswar, Odisha continued to toil in a bio-bubble starting as early as June last year, under the watchful eyes of legendary Dutch drag flicker Floris Jan Bovelander.

'Boem Boem Bovelander', as he was often called in his playing days, the 55-year-old has a World Cup and Olympic gold against his name. An adviser at Tata Steel Sports Academy's hockey wing and an ardent follower of Indian hockey, Bovelander believes Indian spirits combined with a bit of Europe's technical nuances can spew magic on the turf.

The hockey great, who has scored 216 goals, in a conversation with Sportstar, talks about life at the NTHA, upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo, Indian hockey, the art of drag flicking and more.

The international calendar has been interrupted twice in Europe and Indian teams haven't played international hockey for quite some time. How could this affect things at the Olympics this year?
In international hockey, there has hardly been any match for the last one year and the few matches that happened, were without any supporters. Especially in Europe, I think it will take at least half-a-year or till the Olympics to play with spectators in a full stadium.

I’m curious to see how the Olympics are going to be because you don’t have many top matches. You need top matches to see what the standard is and what level is of your team and the opposition as well. The Olympics will be a big surprise for most of us.

You have been a close observer of Indian hockey for a long time. How do you see the process of talent scouting that has developed over the years?

I think the scouting has definitely improved in the past decade. The big advantage is that there are more academies with artificial pitches and good coaching, so that definitely helps to develop young children. Of course, more is better, but I think improving the infrastructure has definitely picked up over the last decade so you can see a big improvement in talent scouting. I see some changes there and it is good for Indian hockey.

As a drag flicker yourself, do you think it's a skill that needs to be practiced from a very young age?

In general, basic techniques and skills are learned at a young age, however for drag flick, I think you need to be more mature. At 14-15 years, it’s a good period to start a drag flick. Even at 16-17 years old, you can still start if you are a physically strong girl or boy and have a good technique. In drag flick, it’s a combination of the body and technique. Taller players always have a stronger drag flick.

I have developed my drag flick only at a later age, as I used to hit the penalty corners, however it went pretty well, but not as good as the drag flickers now, as they may have started younger.

As Asian countries adapt to the European way of playing hockey, do you think young Indian players could lose some of their unique individual skills?

If you look at the Indian men’s team, they have had many Australian and Dutch coaches and thus, they adapted some technical parts of European hockey. But they still have their Indian spirits. I guess that’s how it should be. It would be dull for hockey if we all played the same way. We need some attractive players like the Indians always have had. I prefer to have the skillful and powerful dribbles of the Indians, although sometimes it is not as effective as it should be.

What were the influences for developing the plan for Naval Tata Hockey Academy?

The NTHA has some influence from our very own Bovelander Hockey Academy which is based on European (Belgian and the Netherlands') style of hockey. Not just running and dribbling, like some of the young stars especially from districts like to play. We have different players -- like the players from Punjab have different personalities than players from Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam. Some are specialists in defending, while others are more into attacking.

The COVID-19 bubble demands a lot from athletes, mentally. What were the measures taken to keep your players motivated for long periods?

The players from the NTHA and Odisha were very lucky to live in the bubble and start already in June-July with hockey activities. Yes, it’s harder to motivate them when they are only practising and not playing any matches or tournaments, but to be honest, these girls at the academy in Bhubaneswar were very happy. They understood that they were quite privileged and had the opportunity to play.


National players race to get fit ahead of Afcon hockey qualifiers

By  Agnes Makhandia

National women's hockey captain Gilly Okumu after a training session at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi on January 12, 2021. Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

Kenya’s technical bench is racing against time to get the squad in shape for next month’s North-East Africa region hockey qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The African finals is scheduled for March 1-7 at the Sikh Union hockey stadium in Nairobi.

Kenya  assistant coach Michael Malungu said they were working around the clock to get the team fit  and capable of challenging for the two slots that are up for grabs in the seven-day event.

“There are players who religiously followed the training programme and schedule we had given out during the coronavirus pandemic lock-down and there fitness level is there for everyone to see. But some players have to go the extra mile in the training.  

“We are, however, determined to get the work done,” said Malungu, who doubles up as the Kenya Under-21 men and Western Jaguars coach.

Kenya will battle Burundi, Libya, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda for the two Africa Cup of Nations tickets. Malungu said Uganda would pose a serious threat to Kenya in the six- nation tournament.

“Uganda are coming up pretty well if the school games are anything to go by and we cannot underrate them. While we are aware the other teams will want to prove a thing or two, we are optimistic of grabbing one of the two slots.”

“Besides working on the physical state of the players, we are keen on their mental strength and, if anything, everything starts with the mind, “ said Malungu.

The tactician, who will guide the U-21 side to the Junior Africa Hockey on March 22-28 in Accra, Ghana was bullish about the senior side’s chances of qualifying for the Nations Cup.

Meanwhile, Kenya Hockey Union chairman Nahashon Randiek remains optimistic of the government’s support ahead of the qualifiers.

Randiek said they forwarded a budget of Sh15 million that will see the union host a successful event.

“We are in constant communication with the Ministry of Sport and they are committed to supporting us,”  said Randiek.

Daily Nation

Malaysia avoid tricky route in Dhaka

By Jugjet Singh

Wallace Tan. - NSTP/File pic

Coach Wallace Tan's boys have been placed in an "easier" Group B of the Junior Asia Cup (JAC) on July 1-10 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The draw by the Asian Hockey Federation saw a tougher Group A with heavyweights India, South Korea and Pakistan battling it out for a semi-final spot.

The other teams in their group are Bangladesh and Taiwan.

Malaysia will have an easier path to the semi-finals as they have only to contend with Japan, China, Singapore and Uzbekistan.

Malaysia open accounts against Uzbekistan followed by matches against China, Japan and Singapore.

India, as Junior World Cup hosts for the second consecutive time, have qualified automatically while it looks like Malaysia only need to reach the semi-finals and confirm their ticket as well.

However, with international friendlies difficult to come by because of Covid-19, Wallace is not jumping for joy.

"The team have been training online since the MCO (Movement Control Order 2.0) was announced on Jan 13. So we can't take any group or any team, whatever their standing, lightly.

"This is because the JAC is a World Cup qualifier and every team will give their best," he said.

Wallace's players have not disappointed their coach so far.

"The players have been giving their best even though they have been left on their own and we only monitor their progress online. Hopefully we will be able to play a few international friendlies before June to be better prepared," added Wallace.

In the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India, the hosts won gold when they beat Belgium 2-1 in the final.

Malaysia were a total disappointment, finishing 11th out of 12 teams.

Naturally, Wallace should be wary of every team, and his players should not be on overconfident mode in Dhaka.

New Straits Times

Body-shaming and bullying - What's gone wrong with Australian women's hockey?

An independent inquiry is currently underway while Hockey Australia’s high performance director Toni Cumpston resigned six months out from the Olympic Games in Tokyo

Stephen Findlater

Goalkeeper Rachael Lynch: Didn't recieve a contract for 2021. Picture: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Hockey Australia, considered one of the market leaders in the sport, has now become embroiled in a crisis amid allegations of a “toxic culture, body-shaming and bullying”.

Three co-captains have stepped down in quick succession in 2020 while key players like current FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Rachael Lynch and Georgie Morgan did not receive contracts for 2021.

Their omissions led to a threat of strike action while a series of decorated former Hockeyroos decried the long-term culture within Hockey Australia leading to a number of others calling time early on in their careers.

An independent inquiry is currently underway while Hockey Australia’s high performance director Toni Cumpston resigned six months out from the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Lynch and Morgan’s cutting brought the internal row into the public domain with fears their exclusion was punishment for voicing serious misgivings over shortfalls in their setup.

It led to an emergency players' meeting with calls for the duo to be reinstated via a letter from their union – the Australian Hockey Players Association – to Hockey Australia.

Former assistant coach and two-time Olympian Nicole Arrold is another to have walked away, saying bullying allegations had been poorly handled while the culture under coach Paul Gaudoin was “chaotic and disorganised”.

Arrold had hoped to be part of a new culture when she linked up with Gaudoin and the team in 2017. His predecessor Adam Commens had his contract terminated for “serious misconduct” after the Rio Olympics for, according to ABC, allegedly “exposing himself to players and making lewd remarks”.

But Arrold said numerous issues persisted: “The head coach would simply forget to attend really important meetings and that sent message to the athletes that there was a lack of care and respect.

"It shouldn’t be the job of the athlete to instigate change and draw attention to inadequacies in the performance of the programme."

Lily Brazel, 25, is another player to have left the programme having said Hockey Australia did not take her mental health claims seriously.

Last August, she approached Hockey Australia to request a six-week break from the squad to rediscover her love of the game and to talk to an external psychologist. She claims that officials threatened to cut her from the team is she did not continue training.

"I felt so lost and broken. I felt like I had walked away from that dream and was so uncertain what life looked like now, who I was, and what I would do," she said. "It's been, and it still is, really hard to not give up that dream but [it's even harder] to see it disappear over an issue I think could have been handled so differently."

Issues like hers have been echoed by Anna Flanagan - the team's most recognisable face when she burst on the scene - saying, back in 2017, she “self-sabotaged” her career in reaction to the “toxic culture” in the camp, suffering from anorexia and bulimia.

Georgie Parker – a 2014 Commonwealth gold medalist who retired after the Rio Olympics – added on Twitter the team have been “repeatedly asking for help and repeatedly been ignored.

"Hockey Australia is not taking care of its players."

Hockey Australia did not comment specifically on Brazel’s case as it is subject to an unfair dismissal suit but Chief Executive Matt Favier said the body would “take the necessary action” to find a resolution.

"One of the challenges we are dealing with is having a high-performance conversation with the idea of supporting player development and seeking improvement while being careful not to confuse that with allegations of bullying levelled towards us,” he said.

"We have to also bear in mind we’re in an elite high-performance group. Sometimes, there can be some confusion along the way. There are fine lines we have to be careful to navigate - we’ve attempted to be very sensitive to this particular matter. It’s not to say we’ve got it right.”

Favier announced an inquiry would be managed by Sport Integrity Australia and the National Sports Tribunal to which he said would uncover the details and committed to acting on its recommendations. Complaints can be made up until March 5. Cumpston, meanwhile, resigned in January, feeling she had lost the support of the Hockey Australia board.

In a statement through her lawyer, she claimed she had been "left with no choice but to resign from my position as it is untenable to continue in the present circumstances".

"I was brought into Hockey Australia to address many of the problems that have existed within the organisation for a long period, including serious allegations of bullying and behavioural issues.

"I have worked assiduously to improve the culture of Hockey Australia and our national sides, and in doing so I have always received strong support and encouragement from management and the board."

"However, in a very short space of time it has become evident that I no longer have the support of the Board of Hockey Australia to continue this work."

The Irish Examiner

HC Minsk the side to beat as Belarussian indoor championship reaches final stages

HC Minsk’s women will hope to back up their performances from the league stage of the Belarussian indoor championships this weekend as the competition reaches its final playoffs.

Minsk topped the table with nine wins out of ten, netting 66 times in the process, to leave them seven points clear of HC Ritm Grodno.

It means Minsk will be guaranteed a place in the final as their first team are due to play their own second team in the final four phase with Ritm up against Victoriya Smolevichi.  

The winners of Friday’s semi-finals will go into the three-game final playoff, the first of which will be played on Friday at 3.20pm (Belarus time) with game two on Saturday morning at 11.30am. Should those ties be shared, then a third and deciding game will be played (Saturday, 2pm).

All games will be broadcast live on www.eurohockeytv.org alongside the latter stages of the Ukraine national indoor championship throughout the weekend.

Euro Hockey League media release

Bahawalpur, Faisalabad reach Quaid Hockey semis

LAHORE - Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Lahore and Sargodha division hockey teams stormed into semifinals of the 1st Quaid-e-Azam Inter-Division Hockey Championship 2021 here at Pakistan's National Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Four more matches were played on the 11th day of the championship but the most important encounter was played between Multan and Bahawalpur division hockey teams.

Three teams - Faisalabad, Lahore and Sargodha - had already booked their place in the knockout stage at the end of 10th day’s matches while Bahawalpur completed the semifinal lineup on the 11th day of the championship, when they edged out injury-hit Multan 2-1.

In other matches of the day, Faisalabad thrashed Sahiwal 6-1, Sargodha thumped Gujranwala 4-1 while Rawalpindi trounced DG Khan 3-0.

The semifinals and final of the event will be played on Feb 6 (Saturday) and Feb 7 (Sunday) respectively at the same venue.

The Nation

McCallin: "Make Sure You’re Talking To Someone At The Moment. It Really Does Help"

Shona McCallin and Jo Hunter

To mark Time To Talk Day 2021, England and Great Britain midfielder Shona McCallin has written a blog highlighting the power of having conversations and talking to other people.

Since the first lockdown began, I’ve made a conscious effort to spend time talking to family– whether that be over Zoom, FaceTime or a phone call – to try and get some social interaction. The use of technology has been great, to speak to family members who live two hours away that I haven’t been able to see in person.

One of the few good things to have come out of this situation is the realisation that everybody is in the same boat and we all have something that connects us at the moment. Talking to people is really good to understand how they’re feeling, how you’re feeling, coping strategies you can use and so on. I know it sounds cliched but we’re all in this together.

Jo Hunter and I always talk about having friends for different things. You’ve got friends to have loads of fun with, friends to have deeper conversations with, friends who give advice. Talking to people helps and I feel like if you make effort with people you tend to feel better about yourself.

From where I’m from, I live in quite a small village and I don’t know everybody but I always say hello to people because it’s what you do, it’s friendly. I’ve found that when you go for walks at the moment, even just saying hello or good morning to people makes you feel better about yourself and gets you out of your own headspace.

Of course, it’s always good to offload and talk about your feelings but only with the right people and only if you feel comfortable. Some people, myself included, don’t really like talking but you also know you need to get the stuff out of your head to stop you going round in circles. That’s where I turn to jotting stuff down, writing stuff down. Whether it’s just a couple of sentences or a couple of pages, it doesn’t really matter – it just helps you get that out of your head.

Take it slowly, take baby steps. If you’re feeling really low or not feeling right, you don’t need to go into all the reasons why that is. If you just start by saying to someone that you’re not feeling great, that’s the first step.

Building relationships and talking about your feelings takes time; for some people it is hard to do, for others it comes more naturally. Just take it slowly and the more you do it the easier it will be.

Everyone in their lifetime will go through some tough times and you’re not the only one. Speaking about those tough times can help bring people together a bit more.

So whether you want to chat with someone about how you’re feeling or just converse with others to have a laugh or distract yourself from other things that are going, just make sure you’re talking to someone at the moment. It really does help.

England Hockey Board Media release

Steph Andrews selected to head up WAIS Hockey Program

Hockeyroos Assistant Coach Steph Andrews has been appointed Head Coach of the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) Hockey Program.

Andrews is the first woman to be assigned to the overarching position, which forms part of the Hockey Australia National Athlete Pathway Program.

The role is responsible for developing WA talent to be considered for future Hockeyroos and Kookaburras squads.

Andrews’ appointment means she will end her time with the Hockeyroos before starting her new role at WAIS in April.

“In her two and half years with the Hockeyroos, Steph has proven herself as an outstanding coach with exceptional knowledge of the game and a great ability to improve and develop players,” said Hockey Australia CEO Matt Favier.

“While we are disappointed to lose Steph from the Hockeyroos program, this is a tremendous opportunity for her and she will remain integral in nurturing our next generation of Australian hockey stars.”

“We thank Steph for her contribution to the women’s national high performance program and she goes to her new role with our every blessing.”

Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin said Andrews would be sorely missed.

“Steph has made an enormous impact on our group and on our program. She has worked tirelessly to improve our group from an on field and off field point of view,” said Gaudoin.

“I wish her all the best in her new role and future endeavours – I know she will go well in whatever she does.”

As a mother with a young child, Andrews said the timing was right to delve into an exciting new challenge of overseeing and progressing a program she came through as an athlete.

“I am really excited to be given an opportunity to head up a program that I was part of as a player,” said Andrews.

“Being able to stay in the Australian high performance hockey network, coupled with the variety of the role and working in the development space were also contributing factors.”

“There are some really talented athletes in both the men’s and the women’s WAIS program so that’s really exciting.”

“I also have a young family, so the opportunity to stay closer to home without all of the international travel was enticing.

“I am sad to be leaving the Hockeyroos. I have enjoyed my time working with the program. It has been a tough period however I certainly take away some great memories and hope I have played a part in making the team better.

“I wish Paul, the staff and the girls the very best as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics later in the year and I will be keenly watching their future success.”

Further to Andrews' appointment, WAIS has announced that Chris O'Reilly will take up the position of Coach of the Hockey Program.

Hockey Australia media release

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