News for 31 May 2013

All the news for Friday 31 May 2013


SA Men's Hockey team named for Test series vs Malaysia in SA

JONATHAN COOK



SA men's hockey team captain Austin Smith of Western Province.

The South African Hockey Association has released the names of 22 players to participate in the South Africa versus Malaysia four-Test series that will take place in Potchefstroom and Johannesburg from next week.

The SA team is: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Jacque le Roux (Western Province), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders), Austin Smith (WP, captain), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Ashlin Freddy (WP), Rhett Halkett (WP, vice-captain), Ricky West (SG), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG), Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nic Gonsalves (NB), Taylor Dart (SG), Julian Hykes (SG), Taine Paton (KCR), Craig Haley (WP), Matt Botha (SG), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG).

The first three Test matches will take place at the University of North West Hockey Centre in Potchefstroom. The opening Test is at 5 pm next Thursday, June 6; with the second Test at 3 pm on Saturday, June 8; and the third Test at 3 pm on Sunday, June 9.

The fourth and final Test will be played at 7 pm at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Tuesday, June 11.

The SA team will be captained by double Olympian and 114-Test veteran Austin Smith with Western Province team-mate Rhett Halkett, a London 2012 Olympian, his vice-captain.

Commenting after the announcement, which concluded the five-day national training camp involving 40 players at the University of Johannesburg, SA head coach Charlie Pereira said that the camp had gone off very well.

“Technical work was important,” said the former SA player. “We also did speed testing on the players as well as medical screening. The lads also played full matches and mini games. After this workload the players were exhausted and we tapered off to avoid the risk of injury.”

Pereira said he and the team expect serious competition from Malaysia, since they are professional hockey players while the South African are amateurs. “Plus they have [former SA head coach] Paul Revington coaching them.”

Regular captain Smith is back in the job after Halkett took over for the World League Round 2 tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil three months ago.

“Austin is the captain of the national team,” Pereira said. “Rhett was made captain for the Rio trip because he was going to be with the team from day one in Rio and being a new group we felt we needed a leader to bring the team together from the moment we hit the ground. It also gave us the chance to expand the leadership group and this will help in terms of the players taking more responsibility on and off the field.”

Of the 18 players who went to Rio, 16 retain their places while Matt Guise-Brown of UP-Tuks and Northern Blues is in the University Sport South Africa team for the World Student Games in Russia, which overlaps with the SA national team’s participation in the World League semi-finals in Malaysia in June/July.

“[Southern Gauteng’s] Oliver Whiteley is the unlucky player who misses out for selection for the series against Malaysia,” said Pereira. “A number of players have come back into the mix since the first national camp earlier this year in Cape Town, which has resulted in big competition for places, a healthy situation.”

The Malaysian national team have just come off five matches in Malaysia and will be more than match-ready for the first Test.

“That is our challenge as an amateur body,” said Pereira. “Out last competitive game was against Chile in Rio [three months ago]. Malaysia have developed into a very good unit and the series will no doubt be tough, but we are only going to improve if we continually play better opposition. We do, of course, have some world-class players in our team and are not about to back off to any team that we face. If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is required for victory.”

For both world number 13 Malaysia and world number 12 South Africa the four-Test series is ideal preparation for the World League semi-finals in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, which takes place from June 29 to July 7. For South Africa it is an opportunity to play Test matches outside of crucial tournaments, where so much is at stake there is little place for experimentation. In the past decade Test matches of this nature have been few and far between for the SA men - unlike the large majority of their rivals in the world top 20.

“As a result of the lack of resources we have, these Test matches against Malaysia are a luxury,” said Pereira. “As a home series it is a chance to showcase the talent within the SA men’s set-up, a chance for our home public to see some of our homegrown, world-class players ply their trade.”

Pereira said the 18-player SA team for the World League semi-finals in Malaysia will be announced after the series against Malaysia and will be picked from the 22.

Lloyd Madsen and Justin Reid-Ross, two of South Africa’s key players in recent years - both London 2012 Olympians and 2010 World Cup and Commonwealth Games veterans - are not in the team. “Lloyd and Justin were unavailable to attend the camp and therefore made themselves unavailable for selection,” said Pereira.

“The only exceptions we made as regards to missing camp were to players that we writing exams. Lloyd, having started a new job recently, was torn between his commitment to his job and playing for SA,” said Pereira. “Justin wants to finish his studies this year and so made himself unavailable for international commitments in 2013.”

SA Hockey Association media release



Investec SA women’s hockey team named for Investec World League semi-finals

JONATHAN COOK



Northern Blues goalkeeper Phume Mbande will be hoping to add to her one Test cap when the Investec SA team play in Scotland and London. Photo: PLATE PICTURES

The South African Hockey Association has released the names of the players who will represent the Investec South African women’s hockey team in Scotland and England next month.

The SA squad has just completed a three-week training camp in China.

Head coach Giles Bonnet has said that the Scotland leg of the tour is scheduled to feature a one-off Test match against Ireland on June 11 as well as a four-Test series against Scotland on June 13, 15, 16 and 18.

The team leave Scotland for London on June 19 ahead of the Investec World League semi-finals, which takes place from June 22 to June 30. The team will possibly play Argentina in a training match in the time between their arrival in London and the start of the semi-finals.

The eight-country London semi-final tournament sees hosts England in Pool B alongside Australia, South Africa and Spain. Pool B will feature Argentina, China, the USA and Italy.

The first eight-country World League semi-final will be played in Rotterdam, The Netherlands from June 13 to June 23 and features current world number one and defending Olympic champions The Netherlands plus Korea, Japan and Chile in Pool A along with New Zealand, Germany, India and Belgium in Pool B.

For all 16 participating teams in the two World League semi-finals, the stakes are high as the top four teams in each event will go through to the eight-team World League finals, which takes place in San Miguel de Tucumán in Argentina in December.

World hockey governing body the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said that  the two World League semi-finals will also serve as a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, The Netherlands.

“It is not yet defined how many teams from each of the two semi-finals will make it through to the World Cup as that is largely dependent on the Continental Championships. Needless to say, teams will be eager to finish as high as possible to increase their chance to go to The Hague,” said the FIH website.

INVESTEC SA TEAM for UK

Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Phume Mbande (Northern Blues), Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Nicolene Terblanche (NB), Illse Davids (Western Province), Shelley Russell (WP), Tarryn Bright (WP), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Bernie Coston (SG), Dirkie Chamberlain (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KCR), Marsha Marescia (SG).

SA Hockey Association media release



South Africa stint for Revington's men

By Jugjet Singh


NATIONAL chief coach Paul Revington will take his charges back to his home turf in South Africa for a Four Test series from June 2 to prepare for the World Hockey League Semi-finals.

Malaysia will open their World League campaign against Pakistan on June 29 in Johor Baru, while the other teams in Group B are England and South Africa.

In Group A are World No 1 Germany, South Korea, Argentina and a yet to be named team, which will be confirmed after the end of Round 2 which is ongoing in Russia.

All eight teams progress to the quarter-finals stage, and one win at the last eight will take Malaysia into the World Cup in the Netherlands next year.

The English have also named their 20-man team for Johor Baru, which consist of six London Olympics players.

Among the notable names missing from the South Africa Tests were national No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar and seasoned defender as well as penalty corner flicker Amin Rahim.

"Kumar was left out of the squad due to travel fatigue as he has just returned from the Netherlands after a one-week goalkeeper training. His place will be taken over by Kairulnizam (Ibrahim)," said Revington.

Kumar will train under goalkeepers coach M. Nadarajan in Kuala Lumpur.

Roslan Jamaluddin, the No 2 goalkeeper, had also attended the Netherlands training stint but he is game to travel to South Africa.

"He (Amin) opted out for personal reasons, but will be considered for the World League selection at a later date," said Revington.

Also left behind but still with a fighting chance for the World League are Azreen Rizal, Jivan Mohan, Ramadan Rosli, and Norhizzat Sumantri.

The national team are currently involved with a four-match series with China's Liaoning club where they won 2-1 and 4-2. The other two matches will be played today (7pm) and tomorrow (6pm) at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Goalkeepers: Kairulnizam Ibrahim, Roslan Jamaluddin.

Defenders: Ahmad Kazamirul, Azlan Misron, Baljit Singh, Sukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Razie Rahim,

Midfielders: Faiz Helmi, Meor Muhamad Azuan, Fitri Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Azammi Adabi, Marhan Jalil, Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Noor,

Forward: Chua Boon Huat, Faizal Saari, Izwan Firdaus, Firhan Ashaari, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin.

New Straits Times



Youngster Meor rewarded with a trip to South Africa

KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Meor Mohamed Azuan Hassan is the surprise inclusion in the 20-man national hockey team for the 10-day playing tour of South Africa next month.

The 19-year-old Meor is a midfielder, who played for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

“Meor deserves a place in the team as he was outstanding in the MHL,” said national coach Paul Revington. “ I want to try him out in our four matches against South Africa.”

The national team will leave for South Africa on Sunday and return on June 13.

Revington also named Ahmad Kaza­mirul Nasruddin, who last played for Malaysia in the World Cup qualifier in New Zealand in 2009, for the tour.

“Kazamirul is a hard working defender and he is also good with his penalty corner flicks,” said the South African coach.

Revington, however, has excluded national No. 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar and seasoned defender Mohd Amin Rahim from the tour.

“Kumar was left out of the squad due to travel fatigue as he recently went for a one-week goalkeepers training in Holland. His place will be taken over by Khairulnizam (Ibrahim),” said Revington.

“As for Amin, he opted out for personal reasons,” he added.

Revington said

The national team are currently playing a four-match series with China’s Liaoning club. The Malaysians won the opening two matches 2-1 and 4-2.

The other matches will be held today (7pm) and tomorrow (6pm) at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The biggest assignment for the Malaysians this year is the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru from June 29-July 7.

The Star of Malaysia



Lammers confirms Belgium squad for World League

Red Lions set sights on World Cup qualification



World League Round 2, Saint-Germain - Belgium vs Poland (Photo: marineandrieux)

Belgium men’s Head Coach Marc Lammers has named the squad that will participate in next month’s Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Lammers revealed his 18 players at a press conference at Braxgata Hockey Club (Boom).

The Red Lions will be looking to continue the imperious form that they showed at the recent Hockey World League Round 2 event in Paris, where they won all five of their matches and finished with a hugely impressive goal difference of +38.

The men’s Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final in Rotterdam will take place from June 13-23. It will be held in conjunction with the women’s semi-final tournament and will feature eight men’s team fighting for both a spot in the 2014 Hockey World Cup and the Hockey World League final round. Host Netherlands will be joined by Australia, Spain, Belgium, New Zealand, India, Ireland and a team that will be qualified following the conclusion of this week’s Round 2 tournament in Russia.

The complete Belgium men’s squad can be found below.

To view the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final Men’s Schedule in Rotterdam click here

Belgium National Team Selection
Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final, Rotterdam (NED)

 

Name Position Club
Tom Boon Forward Bloemendaal (NED)
Thomas Briels Forward Oranje-Zwart (NED)
Cédric Charlier Forward Racing Club Bruxelles
Tanguy Cosyns Forward Waterloo Ducks
Alexandre de Saedeleer Defender Waterloo Ducks
Jérôme Dekeyser Forward Braxgata
Felix Denayer Midfielder Dragons
Sebastien Dockier Forward Beerschot
John-John Dohmen Midfielder Waterloo Ducks
Simon Gougnard Midfielder Bloemendaal (NL)
Jeremy Gucassoff (GK) Goalkeeper Racing
Loick Luypaert Defender Dragons
Emmanuel Stockbroeckx Defender Dragons
Jérôme Truyens Midfielder Racing
Florent van Aubel Forward Dragons
Vincent Vanasch (GK) Goalkeeper Waterloo Ducks
Artur van Doren Defender Dragons
Elliot van Strydonck Defender Oranje-Zwart (NL)

Staff
Marc Lammers – Head Coach
Jeroen Delmee – Assistant Coach
Philippe Goldberg – Assistant Coach
Eric Pirenne – Manager
John Bessell – Video Operator
Frank Leistra – Goalkeeper trainer
Mick Beunen – Physical Trainer
Jef Brouwers – Psychologist
Tom Mertens – Physiotherapist
Bart Vissers – Doctor
Abe Diels – Video Operator

FIH site



Provisional HWL squad announced by Red Panthers

Kina names 19 players ahead of Rabobank Hockey World League




Belgium women have declared their provisional squad ahead of the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Finals in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The announcement was made by Red Panthers coach Pascal Kina at a press conference at Braxgata Hockey Club, Boom. 

Kina has named a group of 19 players which will be trimmed down to 18 ahead of the Rotterdam event, which takes place from 13th to 22nd June 2013.

Belgium have been drawn into Pool B of the competition, where they will face Germany, India and New Zealand. Pool A consists of Chile, Japan, Korea and host nation The Netherlands.

The full list of players can be found below.

Belgium National Team Selection (Women)
Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final, Rotterdam (NED)


Name, Club
Maureen Beernaert, La Gantoise
Jill Boon, Wellington        
Louise Cavenaille, Dragons              
Erica Coppey, Dragons              
Aisling D'Hooghe (GK), Waterloo Ducks               
Stephanie De Groof, Dragons               
Charlotte de Vos (C), Oranje Zwart    
Anne-Sophie De Scheemaekere, RWSC   
Aline Fobe, Braxgata
Alix Gerniers, La Gantoise
Nadine Khouzam (GK), Wellington
Pauline Leclef, Herakles
Barbera Nelen, Dragons
Anouk Raes, Pingouin
Stephanie Rummens, Dragons
Emilie Sinia, Dragons
Lieselotte van Lindt, Dragons
Judith Vandermeiren, Braxgata
Louise Versavel, Braxgata

Staff
Pascal Kina – Head Coach
Jean-Philippe Brule – Assistant Coach
John Goldberg – Assistant Coach
Géraldine Saey – Manager
Jeroen Baart – Video Operator
Alain Goudsmet – Psycologist
Mika van Cutsem – Physical Trainer
Dorothée Gaeremynck – Physiotherapist
Davis van Rysselberghe – Goalkeeper Trainer
Baart Vissers – Doctor
Abe Diels – Video Operator

FIH site



U.S. head coach Craig Parnham announces Women’s National Squad

Parnham announces 30 players to U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Squad following conclusion of week-long selection tournament


NORFOLK, Va. – The 2013 Women’s National Championship athletes have exerted their entire selves through years of competition and training in hopes of a single sound. Although welcomed, it’s not the deafening applause from a stadium-packed crowd or the high shrill of an umpire’s whistle after a goal. Rather in a momentous fashion, it is the faint sound of a single page turning – a new chapter that signifies reaching the very pinnacle of field hockey and the honor of embodying the nation.

After days of intense evaluation on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. at the 2013 Women’s National Championship event, U.S. Head Coach Craig Parnham has selected the 2013-14 U.S. Women’s National Squad, starting the next chapter for the nation’s 30 top-tier field hockey athletes.

“This week has afforded me the opportunity to see players and assess them equally,” said Parnham. “It has been great to meet a number of new coaches and we are pleased to have had a thorough look at the players. The selection process has been ongoing throughout the week, including discussions and dialogue with coaches, daily meetings, and assessing and reassessing the players.”

The 30-player roster features 12 Olympians, including two-time Olympians Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenburg, Pa.) and Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.). Nine newcomers have shown their countless hours logged in the gym and on the pitch perfecting their hang cleans and drag flicks have finally paid off. 

“We are pleased to have selected 30 athletes who will make up the Women’s National Squad as we move forward,” said Parnham. “These players will relocate to the Home of Hockey in Lancaster, Pa this fall.  This is a wonderful opportunity for this group of players to learn, develop, grow

The athletes selected to the U.S. Women’s National Squad will report immediately to Rutgers University to begin preparations for the International Hockey Federation’s World League Semi-Final in London, June 22-30. Parnham anticipates selecting the 18-player roster for the World Cup qualifying event the week of June 3rd.

The following athletes have been selected to the 2013-14 U.S. Women’s National Squad:

Torrie Albini (Escondido, Cali.), Megan Beamesderfer (Iowa City, Iowa), Teresa Benvenuti (Morristown, N.J.), Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, N.J.), Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenburg, Pa.), Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.), Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Rayell Heistand (Hamburg, Pa.), Natalie Hunter (Seaville, N.J.), Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa.), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.), Ali McEvoy (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Jaime Montgomery (Lewisburg, Pa.), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.), Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.), Lauren Pfeiffer (Mount Laurel, N.J.), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.), Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.), Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.), Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.), Emily Wold (Freehold, N.J)

USFHA media release



Head Coach Chris Clements Finalizes U.S. Men's National Squads

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Throughout their 365 days of demanding interval training there are seconds where the body rebels - fatigue kicks in, muscles mismanage and exhaustion illuminates. In these defining moments where athletes appear to be running on empty with little to aid their performance on the pitch, in the weight room and on the track, there are a few rare competitors that give into a greater power, a bigger purpose than themselves – their desire to represent Team USA. California Cup athletes have let this single thought fuel their actions and habits in hopes of utilizing their tactical skills to propel them to the pinnacle of play in field hockey. For a select group of men the wait is over – the dream, the motivator has become a reality, a lifestyle.

After accessing a wide talent pool of the nation’s most phenomenal male athletes during Memorial Day weekend in Moorpark, Cali at Cal Cup, U.S. Men’s Head Coach Chris Clements with the help of U.S. Assistant Head Coach Ben Maruquin have compiled a team of competitors to earn the distinguished title of being a U.S. Under-17, Under-20, Development and Senior National Team athlete. 

“The caliber of play at the Under-20 and Super Divisions at Cal Cup were great,” said Clements. “In general the level of play was very tight and this was another opportunity to learn and grow in experience against quality opponents.”

For the newly selected athletes, Clements gives personal phone calls to deliver the news. The Senior Team will now begin preparing for their first competition as a squad in an upcoming tour in Melbourne, Australia, July 2-15, which will be shortly followed by a series against Argentina in early August at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Cali. Both competitions are vital in the preparation of the Pan American Cup in Brampton, B.C. in mid-August, a World Cup qualifying event. While the immediate matches are crucial, Clements, his staff, and players look to continue to grow and strengthen the program long-term.

“The senior squad is complimented by a number of talented players on our development team,” said Clements. “I’m happy with the squads’ ability and potential ability in time. If we have this core group stay together for four to six years with the addition of a few other players along the way, we’ll be really strong and our long-term process will be able to take shape.”

Two new faces to the roster are Brandon Karess (Allentown, Pa), and Spencer Reed (Ventura, Cali), while Rob Schilling (Long Beach, Cali.) has regained selection after a year away from the squad. The 2013-2014 team includes staple veterans such as Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, Cali.), brothers Sean Harris and Patrick Harris (Moorpark, Cali.) and Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Cali.).

In addition to the announcement of the Men’s Senior and Development National Squads, Clements has also confirmed the U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 rosters for 2013-14. These selected athletes are invited to attend a training camp from June 18-22 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

“The regional high performance programs have been working hard to aid in the development of players and their potentials to reach higher honors within the national program,” said Clements. “We are already seeing some benefits of this development model and are excited for the future. The training camp will give players the opportunity to develop the tactical, technical, mental and physical components needed to be successful in international hockey.”

The following athletes have been selected to the 2013-14 U.S. Men’s Senior Squad:

Kevin Barber (Camarillo, Cali.), Michael Barminski (Ventura, Cali.), Jed Cunningham (Moorpark, Cali.), Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Cali.), Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Cali.), Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, Cali.), Alex Grassi (Brookeville, Md.) Sean Harris (Moorpark, Cali.), Pat Harris (Moorpark, Cali.), Will Holt (Moorpark, Cali.), Aki Kaeppeler (Ventura, Cali.), Brandon Karess (Allentown, Pa), Ranveer Kundi (Glendora, Cali.), Christian Linney (San Diego, Cali.), Steve Mann (Hollidaysburg, Pa.), Manny Martinez (Lakeside, Cali.), Johnny Orozco (Ventura, Cali.), Chris Rea (San Diego, Cali.), Moritz Runzi (Boston, Mass.), Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Cali.), Rob Schilling (Long Beach, Cali.), Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Cali.), Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Cali.) and Spencer Reed (Ventura, Cali).

The following athletes have been selected to the 2013-14 U.S. Men’s Development Squad:

Sean Cicchi (Thousand Oaks, Cali.), Alex Cunningham, Nick Gendreau (Ventura, Cali.), Austin Groeneveld (Jenkintown, PA), JaJa Kentwell (Spring City, PA), Tom McCarthy (East Windsor, CT), Ranjot Sangha (Sacremento, Cali), Amandip Sandhu (Sacramento, Cali.), Amarpreet Sidhu (San Jose, Cali.), Kanwarpreet Sidhu (San Jose, Cali.), Asavir Singh Kalla (Cupertino, Cali.) and Ajaypal Singh (Hayward, Cali.)

The following athletes have been selected to the 2013-14 U.S. Men’s Under-20 Squad:

Doug Allison (Westlake Village, Ca.), Rishi Bhargava (Mountain View, Ca.), Sean  Cicchi (Thousand Oaks, Ca.), Alex Cunningham (Bad Kreuznach, Germany), Cody Cooper (Johnstown, NY), Glen Carr (Shickshinny, Pa.), Nick Gendreau (Ventura, Ca.), Jaspreet Gill (Placentia, Ca.), Austin Groeneveld (Jenkintown, Pa.), Phil Hamill (Bethlehem, Pa.), Michael Hirsch (Thousand Oaks, Ca.), Arshot Khokar (Valencia, Ca.), Tom McCarthy (East Windsor, Ct.), Jed McGuigan (Thousand Oaks, Ca.), Nathaniel O'Lari (Orange, Ma.), Kenny Patrone (Swell, Nj), Nicholas Richardson (Kents Hill, Me.), Robert Rubens (Frankenthal, Germany), Amandip Sandhu (Sacramento, Ca.), Josh   Schindler (Ventura, Ca.), Suraj Sharma (Los Altos, Ca.), Amarpreet Sidhu (San Jose, Ca.), Hansraj Singh (San Jose, Ca.), Ajaypal Singh (Hayward, Ca.), Jacob Stone (Camarillo, Ca.), Trent Warren (Moorpark, Ca.) and Pedro  Zepeda (Ventura, Ca.)

The following athletes have been selected to the 2013-14 U.S. Men’s Under-17 Squad:

Jaxon Bakerman (Westlake Village, Ca.), Christian Deangelis (Doylestown, Pa.), Hamzah Hashmi (Granada Hills, Ca.), Evan Hrychyk (Moorpark, Ca.), Graeme Jackson (Moorpark, Ca.), Amar Khokar (Valencia, Ca.), Stuart Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.), Ethan La Sala (Thousand Oaks, Ca.), Jayce Lewis (Moorpark, Ca.), George McGuigan (Thousand Oaks, Ca.), Dominic Nishiguchi (Chula Vista, Ca.), Ajit Parmar (Fremont, Ca.), Keeling Pilaro (Southampton, NY), Prakash  Sandhu (Winnetka, Ca.), Jaiveer Singh (Hayward, Ca.), Ben van Pelt (Hilltown, Pa.), Ismael Zepeda (Ventura, Ca.) and Alex Zuzick (Moorpark, Ca.)

USFHA media release



National hockey camp begins in Abbottabad

World Hockey League poses big challenge for Pakistan

Rashid Javed


ABBOTTABAD May 30: A 15-day training camp of the national team in preparation for the World Hockey League (WHL) commenced here on Thursday.

The league is scheduled to held in Malaysia from June 29. Pakistan are placed in Pool ‘B’ along with South Africa, England and Malaysia.

Twenty-four players have so far reported for the camp while three more will join on June 2, according to head coach Akhtar Rasool who spoke to to media here.

Rashid Mahmood and Mohammad Rizwan Sr will attend the camp after returning from league matches while Waseem Ahmed has not been able to join due to his mother’s illness.

The Pakistan team is staying at the Army School of Physical Training, Kakul where the boys would be able to take maximum advantage of exercise and training facilities to help improve their fitness levels.

Akhtar, who is being assisted by Tahir Zaman and other technical staff, said that the forthcoming WHL is very important for Pakistan and the national team should at least secure position among top three in the seven-nation competition to qualify for the World Cup.

Talking about his plans regarding the ongoing camp, Akhtar further said that each player would be assessed for his speed, stamina and physical fitness and then a comprehensive training programme would be designed to work on each player’s weakness.

The second phase of the camp will be held in Karachi before the team’s departure. Akhtar was all praise for weather conditions in Abbottabad, saying that maximum time is being spent on training which will yield good results.

Shedding light on specific areas to be covered in the ongoing camp, Akhtar said: “We are concentrating on blocking the ‘power hit’ of the Europeans and the Malaysians besides making our defence more strong.”

The head coach further admitted that in order to become a top-level team, Pakistan needed to have at least four or five top performers in the side who could pose a real threat to rival teams.

He pointed out that young and talented sportsmen were not being given opportunities to join schools and colleges on sports quota due to which all sports in the country were suffering.

“We need good players to come up on merit but it is not happening. I will soon put forward suggestions in this regard to Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif,” he said.

To a question that why the camp was being conducted on green turf when blue turf had become the standard in international hockey, the head coach said that the upcoming event would be played on green turf which would be more advantageous for the national team.

“The next ten days are more important as different drill combinations are going to be employed to help boys gain perfection in quick passing and ball possession,” claimed Akhtar.

Talking about goalkeepers’ training, the head coach said that though Ahmed Alam was requested to help goalkeepers in the ongoing camp, he couldn’t turn up due to other commitments.

He, however, said that goalkeeping coach Arshad is available to train goalkeepers in the camp.

Our Sports Reporter from Lahore adds: Akhtar said hectic efforts would be made in the camp to improve the penalty-corner conversion and for bringing in more accuracy of the attackers in the ‘D’ area.

Talking to Dawn from Abbottabad, Akhtar said as the boys had assembled again after an almost two-and-a-half month lapse, his main focus would be to make improvement in skills and fitness of the boys.

“The penalty-corner conversion rate must improve further and our strikers have to show more perfection in completing the move in the ‘D’ area during attacks on the rival teams,” Akhtar said.

“Hockey is now played at a very fast pace and you have very little time to pull off perfect finishing in the ‘D’ area to score a goal.”

He said a work plan had been prepared by newly inducted nutrition expert Adnan Zakir for players’ diet and fitness. “I am satisfied with Adnan as he is showing lot of passion in improving the fitness level of the players,” he said.

Meanwhile, Akhtar again invited all the former hockey stalwarts like Islahuddin Siddiqui, Shahnaz Sheikh, Samiullah, Manzoor Junior and others to step forward and help him with their valuable suggestions in raising a strong team for the WHL, which will also serve as qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

“This is the time that we should work together by setting aside petty disputes and I would like to again invite all my colleagues who have earned good name for the country to come forward and join hands for the betterment of the national hockey,” Akhtar said

Dawn



Captain Imran confident of better show

By Fawad Hussain


KARACHI: Despite a last-place finish in their last international assignment, Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran was confident of the team doing well at the upcoming Hockey World League that also serves as qualifiers for next year’s World Cup.

As the Greenshirts assembled for a training camp ahead of the event to take place in Malaysia, the team was looking for improvement after a poor show at the Azlan Shah Cup. The training camp, which began in Abbottabad yesterday, will continue till June 15 with the altitude helping the players improve their fitness levels.

Out of the 26 selected probables, seasoned trio of Mohammad Waseem, Rashid Mehmood and Rizwan Senior missed the opening session. However, they were expected to join the camp in the evening.

“We are back at full strength,” Imran told The Express Tribune. “We made some experiments for the Azlan Shah Cup but now the time for experiments is over.”

The captain said the recent Malaysian league, in which 13 Pakistan players took part, will help them in the forthcoming assignment.

“The players have found a rhythm because of the league and know Malaysian conditions better. I personally gained a lot of confidence and improved my short-corner skills,” said the seasoned defender.

“This camp will further improve our skills. I hope for a significant improvement in our fitness standards after training here for a couple of weeks.”

Imran also lauded the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s decision to retain the same team management headed by Akhtar Rasool.

“Our coaching panel is a combination of legends and modern coaches. The induction of Tahir Zaman and trainer Adnan Zakir will help us come in line with modern hockey.”

The Express Tribune



U-21 hockey team to leave for Europe tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan U-21 hockey team will depart for a 16-day Europe tour from Lahore Airport on Saturday.

“The tour is part of Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) efforts to provide maximum exposure to players before Junior World Cup,” said team manager and chief coach Rana Mujahid on Thursday.

The Junior World Cup is scheduled to be held from Dec 5-16 in India. Pakistan team will play three matches each against Holland and Germany and two against Belgium during the Europe tour.

Talking about importance of the tour in connection with the junior World Cup, he said, “This is a great opportunity for us to play in Europe as the boys would get invaluable experience on the tour in question.”

Rana further said that the junior team had already completed two phases of their training and the upcoming tour will further help them horn their skills.

“We have recently organised a camp in Lahore while another in Islamabad and the Europe tour will further help us,” he stated, adding that he expected tough competitions during the tour.

Squad:

Mohammad Umar Bhutta (captain), Syed Kashif Shah (vice-captain), Mazhar Abbas, Amin Yousuf, Mohammad Khalid, Mohammad Faisal Qadir, Mohammad Rizwan Junior, Mohammad Tousiq, Tasawar Abbas, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Mohammad Kashif Javed, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Dilber, Ali Shan, Mohammad Suleman, Mohammad Umair, Mohammad Rizwan, Hafiz Rizwan Ali.

Officials:

Rana Mujahid Ali (manager and chief coach), Anjum Saeed (coach), Danish Kaleem (coach), Asad Abbas (physician) and Syed Abuzar Umrao (video analyst)

Dawn



India women ready for Rotterdam

18 player squad announced for Rabobank Hockey World league Semis



2012 Women's FIH Road to London, Delhi - India vs. Ukraine (Photo: Stanislas Brochier )

Hockey India has announced the senior women's team that will compete in the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Finals to be played at Rotterdam, The Netherlands from 13-23 June 2013.

Hockey India Selectors Col. Balbir Singh, B P Govinda, Director High Performance Roelant Oltmans and Chief Coach Neil Hawgood alongside Government Observer Harbinder Singh selected the list of 18 players during the meeting held on 17 May 2013.

The 18 member squad will be captained by midfielder Ritu Rani (150 caps) while midfielder Chanchan Devi (82 caps) will be the vice-captain.

The senior women team camp is currently underway and commenced at NIS, Patiala on 12 May as final preparations for this tournament. The team will depart for Rotterdam on 5 June 2013, with their opening match against New Zealand on 13 June 2013.

The Indian team has qualified for the FIH Women World League Round 3 (Semi-Finals) in February this year by winning the World League Round 2 tournament in Delhi. The FIH World League is a qualification tournament for the FIH Women’s World Cup 2014 to be played in The Hague, The Netherland from 31 May-14 June 2014.

India is placed in Pool B with New Zealand, Germany and Belgium while hosts The Netherlands, Korea, Japan and Chile are placed in Pool A.

The complete list of players can be found below.

Goalkeepers
1.   Savita
2.   Rajni Etimarpu

Defenders
3.   Deep Grace Ekka
4.   Kirandeep Kaur
5.   Namita Toppo
6.   Sushila Chanu
7.   Sunita Lakra
8.   Manjeet Kaur

Midfielders
9.   Ritu Rani (Captain)
10. Chanchan Devi (Vice-Captain)
11. Navjot Kaur
12. Vandana Katariya
13. Lily Chanu

Forwards
14. Anupa Barla
15.  Poonam Rani
16. Roselin Dung Dung
17. Lilima Minz
18. Ritusha Arya

Hockey India Media Release



Women hockey squad announced for World League Round 3


A file photo of Ritu Rani. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Midfielder Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member senior Indian women’s team in the FIH Hockey World League Round 3 (Semi-Finals) to be played at Rotterdam from June 13-23.

The team will play their opening match against New Zealand on June 13, followed by Belgium (14th) and Germany (16th).

Chanchan Devi has been named as Ritu’s deputy for the tournament.

The Indian team has qualified for this competition in February 2013, by winning the World League Round 2 tournament in Delhi. The FIH World League is a qualification tournament for the 2014 Women’s World Cup.

India is placed in Pool B with New Zealand, Germany and Belgium while hosts The Netherlands, Korea, Japan and Chile are placed in Pool A.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajni Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Kirandeep Kaur, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu, Sunita Lakra, Manjeet Kaur.

Midfielders: Ritu Rani, Chanchan Devi, Navjot Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Lily Chanu.

Forwards: Anupa Barla, Poonam Rani, Roselin Dung Dung, Lilima Minz, Ritusha Arya.

The Hindu



Women's game needs a shot in the arm

By Uthra Ganesan



“Frankly speaking, we don't have enough bench strength. We just have 16 players who I hope are the best. We need to scout for talent,” says Neil Hawgood,the women's team coach. SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The number of competitions for women internationally is just a fraction of what the men get. At home, apart from the national championships, there are practically no tournaments for women.

When Neil Hawgood took charge as coach of the Indian women’s hockey team in August last, one of the first things he did was to point to the paucity of players he had to work with. And the Australian had fixed his sights on the National Championships (in October 2012) to farm fresh talent.

The end of this year’s edition recently would have left him in despair. For, despite the change in personnel and the influx of foreign hands at the highest level, little has changed in the script of women’s hockey in the country.

The number of teams has grown from 24 to 29 in three years (under the aegis of Hockey India; there are no official records for the competition before that, neither was the tournament held on a regular basis though the number of teams varied between 14-18) but the hierarchy hasn’t changed much. Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab among the state sides and Railways as an institutional team have always been in the top eight of the competition (even during the Indian Hockey Federation era) and they continued to dominate this year as well.

“Frankly speaking, we don't have enough bench strength. We just have 16 players who I hope are the best. We need to scout for talent,” Hawgood had said ahead of the Champions Challenge last year in September. But the above mentioned states are all traditional nurseries for producing talent in women’s hockey. No new pockets of talent are being explored. In fact, despite a rich heritage of hockey, states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have failed to break into the top echelons on the domestic circuit.

While Haryana did break Railways’ stranglehold over the title, there was no denying the fact that it was more a reiteration of the state’s contribution to Indian women’s hockey than anything else. For, a majority of Haryana players were Railways employees who failed to make the team. Vice versa, most of the players who took to the field for Railways honed their skills on the grounds of Shahbad, a small district of Haryana.

What the Lucknow edition of the women’s national championships also proved was that, despite all the efforts to modernise the national teams, the sport remains amateur and poorly organised at the grassroots. Empty coffers and lack of infrastructure is a big reason for the same but these cannot be excuses, especially when the national federation is sparing no expense at the top.

The teams at Lucknow were put up at sports hostels in the city with transportation and food. But they had to travel more than 15 kilometres to reach the venue of the competition on the outskirts. In a place like Lucknow, that’s like traversing the length of the entire city. The matches were held as early as 6.30 a.m., or at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., in searing heat. No team was able to give its best under these circumstances. “We are forced to do this because there are no floodlights here,” said organising secretary R. P. Singh. What he left unsaid was that a proposal to get them installed was approved, in principle, more than two years ago but there has been no development after that.

“Forget these girls, we are unable to sit for an entire match in the shade, with the hot air blowing.

“This is a farce in the name of nationals,” accused Sujit Kumar, former India player and a Lucknow resident. The timings and the venue of the competition meant apart from team and tournament officials, no one was present to watch the best Indian women’s hockey players in the country. Even the trainees from the Guru Govind Singh Sports College — which hosted the event — did not turn up for the games.


Haryana and Railway Sports Promotion Board players fight it out in the final of the senior national Championship at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium in Lucknow. The matches were played in searing heat and the stands were emply throughout the championship. ARUNANGSU ROY CHOWDHURY

Half the people in the city did not know of the venue and most of them were unaware of the competition. If the idea is to popularise the sport and make it attractive, the event was a very poor advertisement for the same.

When Dutch coaching legend Roelant Oltmans took charge as the High Performance Manager for Indian hockey, he knew he had a tough job on hand. But he has been travelling with the national team, first the women and then the men. Had he been present at the national championships, he would have realised the gravity and enormity of the job he has been entrusted with.

The mandarins who run the sport in the country need to take a hard look at the state of women’s hockey. The number of competitions for women internationally is just a fraction of what the men get. At home, apart from the national championships, there are practically no tournaments for women.

It is no secret that, vis-à-vis the men, Indian women can break into the elite circle of top-five in the world much faster. But for that, they need to be treated on a par with the men. The appointment of Hawgood and team trainer Matthew Tredea is a step in that direction — only the first. There are miles to go still.

Sportstar



Canada Wraps U21 Series With 1-2 Loss to Argentina

Completing the Vancouver series between these two Pan Am Rivals




The game began with Argentina applying some early pressure. They were soon rewarded, taking a 1-0 lead on a swift attack.

Canada rallied at the restart but Argentina absorbed and worked some possession. Canadian backstop Bea Francisco was tested a few more times early. But the resilient Canadians launched some speedy offense of their own.

They were rewarded as Ashley Kristen converted a clinical tip on a superb pass from Stephanie Norlander. The timely goal tied things up 1-1.

At the restart Canada now building momentum and playing inspiring hockey on home soil.

But Argentina continues to work dangerous counter attacks up both side of the field. The Argies score on a slick give and go to take the lead 2-1.

The teams continue trading chances with some fantastic offense being displayed at both ends. Canada controls some midfield possession and move the ball around swiftly but can’t manage to capitalize before half. Halftime score is 2-1 for the visitors.

Early pressure from the Canadians in the second half – well absorbed by Argentina. This game has been defensive battle.

Argentina takes two quick consecutive green cards and Canada goes on the attack looking to capitalize.

Canada then takes a couple of cards of their own. Play continues to ebb and flow with tight defense at both ends.

Argentina on yet another fast counter attack earns a PC which is promptly saved by a sprawling Bea Francisco. What a magnificent save by the young keeper!

With 12 minutes remaining, Canadian coaching staff choosing to make some personnel adjustments – moving players up and clearly going for the equalizer at all costs.

The inspiring display of grit from the young Canadian side results in a PC. The PC is saved and Canada continues looking for the back of the net.

Argentina works their fast, run and gun style with some great attacks of their own as the teams trade chances in the final minutes. Bea, equal to the test, coming up with more crucial saves.

Canada continues on the attack, but time runs as Argentina holds on for the 2-1 win.

This wraps the U21 series and Argentina’s tour of Canada. FHC would like to thank all the organizers, umpires and officials, and players for a great series.

The Canadian team will regroup quickly before gearing up for Senior Nationals and continuing preparations for the Junior World Cup  July 22 - 4 August in Germany.

Field Hockey Canada media release



Air India thrash Chhattisgarh 15-0 in senior men national hockey

PUNE: Pradhan Somanna, Affan Yousuf and Joga Singh scored three goals each as Air India trounced Chhattisgarh 15-0 in a Pool B league match of the Hockey India senior men national championship on Thursday.

Air India scored through Sameer Dad (2 min), Pradhan Somanna (5, 40, 66 min), Affan Yousuf (9, 31, 68 min), Joga Singh (18, 21, 25 min), Birendra Lakra (32, 63 min), Swami Vinaya (56 min), Cheeyanna Bopaiah (58 min) and Arjun Halappa (61 min) at Major Dhyan Chand Polygrass Hockey Stadium.

In Pool H, Andaman & Nicobar edged past Haryana 4-2 to register their second consecutive win. Bijju Yirkal, Kusha, Chandan and Birsu scored a goal each for Andaman & Nicobar while Jitender Saroha scored two goals for Haryana.

In the match played at Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex, Namdhari XI registered their second win, as they defeated Hockey Bhopal 4-3 in Pool F.

Namdhari XI scored through Sher Singh (12 min), Harpreet Singh (50 min), Dilbag Singh (69 min) and Gurpreet Singh (70 min) while Hockey Bhopal scored through Mayank James (22, 40, 49 min).

Chandigarh registered an easy 9-0 win over Assam in their Pool H league match with Gagandeep Singh scoring four goals for Chandigarh. Today's lose is the second defeat for Assam.

Results: Pool B- Air India 15 (Sameer Dad 2, Pradhan Somanna 5, 40, 66, Affan Yousuf 9, 31, 68, Joga Singh 18, 21, 25, Birendra Lakra 32, 63, Swami Vinaya 56, Cheeyanna Bopaiah 58, Arjun Halappa 61 ) beat Chhattisgarh 0 Pool D- Andaman & Nicobar 4 (Bijju Yirkal 14, Kusha JP 17, Chandan 38, Birsu Bhengra 69) beat Haryana 2 (Jitender Saroha 36, 64) Pool F- Namdhari XI 4 (Sher Singh 12, Harpreet Singh 50, Dilbag Singh 69, Gurpreet Singh 70) beat Hockey Bhopal 3 (Mayank James 22, 40, 49) Pool H- Chandigarh 9 (Harmanpreet Singh 8, Varinder Kumar 9, Gagandeep Singh 33, 39, 46, 64, Davinder Singh 51, Prabhakar 52, Shahnawaz Khan 68) beat Assam 0.

The Times of India



Contrasting wins for AI, Namdhari

PUNE: Air India Sports Promotion Board and Namdhari XI posted contrasting wins in the league matches of the third Hockey India Senior National Championship for men's played at the Shiv Chattrapati Sports Complex, Pimpri and Major Dhyan Chand Hockey stadium, in Pune on Thursday.

Air India thrashed Chhattisgarh Hockey 15-0 in a Group B match. Sommanna Pradhan, Affan Yusuf and Joga Singh scored hat-tricks, while Namdhari XI edged past Hockey Bhopal 4-3 in a Group F encounter.

Hockey Andaman & Nicobar and Chandigarh Olympic Association scored their second wins on the trot.

Results:

At Pimpri: Group B: Air India: 15 (Sameer Dad, Sommanna Pradhan 3, Affan Yusuf 3, Joga Singh 3, Birendar Lakra 2, VS Vinay, AV Chiannar, Arjun Halappa) bt Chhattisgarh Hockey: 0; Group D: Hockey Andaman & Nicobar: 4 (Bijju Yirkal, Kusha JP, Chandan Aind, Birsu Bhengra) bt Hockey Haryana: 2 (Jitender Saroha 2)

At Balewadi: Group F: Namdhari XI: 4 (Sher Singh, Harpreet Singh, Dilbag Singh, Gurpreet Singh) bt Hockey Bhopal: 3 (Mayank James 3); Group H: Chandigarh Olympic Association: 9 (Harmanpreet Singh, Varinder Kumar, Gagandeep Singh 4, Davinder Singh, Prabhakar, Shahnavaz Alam) bt Hockey Assam: 0

The Times of India



Hero's welcome for hockey team

ROURKELA: The state's sub-junior boys hockey team, which won the third sub-junior Indian national hockey championship-2013 held in Bhopal recently, arrived at Rourkela railway station here on Wednesday to a rousing reception. All 18 boys in the team are from Sundargarh district.

The Odisha boys proved their supremacy in the national tournament and remained undefeated throughout. They emerged champion after beating Jharkhand 8-0. They outplayed teams from Maharashtra (9-0) and Karnataka (6-2) in the league stage.

The district information and public relations officer (DIPRO) Ajay Jena, hockey coach of Panposh Sports Hostel Bijay Lakra and vice-president of Hockey Odisha Laxmidhar Mohanty welcomed the boys.

"We all know that there is no dearth of talent in Sundargarh district. The boys have proved it again," said Lakra. Out of 18 members, 11 are from Panposh Sports Hostel, six from Sundargarh Sports Hostel and one is from SAI Hostel, Sundargarh.

The Times of India



Honours for hockey at Edinburgh University Sports Hall of Fame


Sam Judge Hall of Fame (Photo credit: Douglas Robertson Photography/Edinburgh University)

Scotland international star Sam Judge and Maggie Salmond were both honoured at an Edinburgh University dinner in recognition of their contribution to hockey.

Edinburgh University player-coach Judge, who has now made 184 appearances for Scotland and has represented Great Britain, was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame along with women’s football star Gemma Fay and water polo player Alan Anderson.

Rowing legend and four-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent and Vice Principal and Director Corporate Services, Nigel Paul, presented awards to the Sports Hall of Fame inductees at the University’s Annual Blues and Colours sports dinner.

Previous inductees to the Sports Hall of Fame include six-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, Olympic gold medallist rower Katherine Grainger, and Olympic 400m running champion Eric Liddell.

Judge also joins fellow hockey stars Alison Ramsay (2008 inductee) and Ali McGregor (2012 inductee), bringing the total from hockey to three.

Jim Aitken, University Director Of Sport And Exercise and Scottish Hockey Board Member said, “We are delighted to have Sir Matthew Pinsent with us as we welcome these superb graduate athletes to the University’s Sports Hall of Fame.

“All Hall of Fame inductees have demonstrated outstanding commitment and excellence in their respective sports and have rightfully earned this honour, which is the highest sporting accolade the University can give.”

Maggie Salmond was also presented with the Alan Chainey Award at last night’s dinner, which is offered for voluntary services to University of Edinburgh sport and in recognition of her huge contribution to women’s hockey.


Maggie Salmond GM

Scottish Hockey warmly congratulates both Sam and Maggie on their awards.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Golden Goal Gives SSSC Their Fifth Hockey Trophy this Season

By Eddie So



Timely save ... Singh Sabba Sports Club-B player/coach Sarjit Singh makes a valiant save on the line to deny Dutch-A a crack at goal. The deflection allowed SSSC-B to hold onto 2-all draw and later, win on a golden goal. (Eddie So)

Singh Sabha Sports Club (SSSC) collected their fifth trophy this season when their B-team beat Dutch-A 3-2 in the Hong Kong Hockey Association Cup in a titillating second tier knock-out tournament Final at King’s Park on Sunday (May 26). A Vicky Chhina golden goal started the celebrations.

Only seconds earlier, the likelihood of a penalty shoot-out was apparently on the horizon, until Chhina emerged their unlikely hero when he turned in a long-range horizontal pass from older brother Jimmy for the match winner.

The SSSC bench ran out to hug Vicky Chhina with gratitude and the side lifted their hero as they began celebrations for what turned out to be the club’s fifth trophy this 2012-13 season.

Their joy could well be understood, after their A-team collected the Holland Cup, Hong Kong’s top tier knock-out tournament last month, beating Khalsa-A.

Following SSSC-B’s HKHA league 1st Division table topping season, they are in the envious position where they can also consider promotion to the Premier Division and join their A-team brothers.

While the C-team wrapped up the 5th Division championships for a climb up to the 4th Division, there is the prospect of the formation of a veteran’s team for next season in the 6th Division.

The B’s Final against Dutch-A was made all the more exciting as both sides produced some text book hockey. SSSC’s firm defence held up well against the boys in orange, as the Dutch played some trademark dribbling against their rivals.

Marshalling deep in the heart of SSSC’s defence was their Malaysian player/coach Sarjit Singh, a former Olympian, who did a superb job in denying the Dutch much leeway inside their circle. With his experience reading the play time and again blunting their opponent’s attacks. A perfect example of his influence on the game was when he cleared one dangerous penalty shot on goal with a timely deflection off his line as he played the last man role.

Dutch skipper Rutger Van Walfen applauded his rivals.

“Kudos to them, they deserved being the champions,” said Van Walfen.

He then added, he hoped they turned down promotion to the Premier Division, as his side preferred playing them.

“They can go up, but we hope they stay [in the 1st Division]. They are a friendly team and it’s good to play them,” he said.

But Van Walfen might have an ulterior motive for his Dutch team who finished third in the 1st Division. If SSSC-B turns down the promotion to the Premier Division, Dutch-A stands to benefit in their stead. Perhaps Van Walfen did not realise that regardless of the SSSC-B decision they will not meet next season.

An ecstatic SSSC convener, Johnny Singh was humbled by the moment as he realised they had made club history after adding the HKHA Cup to their trophy cabinet, but admitted the prospect of joining their A-team in the Premier Division was still a daunting task that needed to be studied carefully.

“The B-team has the right [as division champions] to gain promotion, but we are under-strength, and honestly, we will have to make a decision as we have to consider the finances as many of the players [playing in the Premier Division] are imported players,” he said.

He was grateful to his many supporters as he thanked them all for the encouragement they invested in them all this season.

“Of course we will try out best next season, as this season has been really outstanding for us to win five trophies and we hope we can continue and earn better results,” he said.

The game started off at a blistering pace with SSSC drawing first blood from a 21st minute Deepee Gill goal, followed by an own-goal off Happy Dhillon to level the score two minutes from the break.

The Dutch, however, netted an own-goal too, this time off Neil Weller before team-mate Ferko Spits put the Dutch back on level terms.

Then Chhina broke their hearts with his match winner.

Meanwhile, Aquila-A won the HKHA Plate title after their match ended in a 3-3 stalemate, with Aquila winning in a penalty shoot-out 4-2; while KNS-B lifted the Bowl with their 3-0 win over Punjab-B; and in the Youth Cup, KCC emerged 1-0 victors over Shaheen.

The Epoch Times



Expect Hockey Fixtures Backlog in 2013-14 Hong Kong Season

By Eddie So



Sarinder Dillon playing for Nav Bharat Club’s A team ... the Hong Kong Hockey Association’s president has concerns for venue availability for the 2013-14 league season during the re-turfing of King’s Park Hockey Ground. (Eddie So)

An expected 5-month-long closure of King’s Park Hockey Ground as it undergoes re-turfing is expected to create a fixture headache for the Hong Kong Hockey Association (HKHA) next season.

With the curtain coming down for the 2012-13 season, with last Sunday’s knock-out tournament finals of the HKHA Cup, Plate and Bowl, all eyes are now focused on the new season ahead.

As such, the HKHA is likely to rethink the structure of the league to accommodate the more than 150 men’s and women’s teams that play their game each season.

The association has pencilled in maintenance at the Wylie Rd venue—the site of the SAR’s first artificial turf hockey pitch—for October this year. Able to seat approximately 700 fans, the venue has been home to Hong Kong’s international fixtures since it’s re-opening in 1981 for the Asian-Oceania Men’s U21 World Cup qualifier.

“With the closure of King’s Park Hockey Ground for re-turfing and other improvement works, the HKHA is faced with a monumental task of how to accommodate the large number of matches next year,” said Sarinder Dillon, president of the HKHA.

“The HKHA have approached the Leisure & Cultural Services Department for help to make more slots available for the league at other LCSD venues. The dialogue between the HKHA and LCSD is on-going,” explained Dillon.

Part of the debate on restructuring the seven men’s division in the 2013-14 league season includes how many teams will be relegated and promoted between divisions, which will best alleviate the scheduling dilemmas.

Meanwhile, one of the confirmed promotions to the 1st Division belongs to former men’s champions Nav Bharat Club’s A team (NBC-A). They will play where they once reigned supreme after topping the 2012-13 2nd Division table.

Dillon, who plays for NBC-A, said it was “great” that his side had won promotion.

“It’s great to be back,” he said about NBC’s return to 1st Division action from league limbo. The team had been an established field-hockey powerhouse in the 1970s, winning nine 1st Division titles between 1971-1988 and collecting an astonishing 14 Holland Cup trophies between 1961 and 1989.

Dillon said that the 2012-13 Premier Division season was all the more enticing due to the higher number of Punjabi teams, which seem to have prospered with some strong financial backing to bring in classy overseas players, making the league strong and more entertaining for the local fans.

The Epoch Times



FIH Signs Digital Partnership with Rightster

Live streaming and video on-demand across multiple platforms and devices


The International Hockey Federation (FIH) today announced Rightster, the world’s fastest growing online video distribution and marketing network, as its new digital media partner. The new deal is part of FIH's marketing and digital strategy which is fan-centric in its approach, ensuring all prime international hockey matches are made available on YouTube via multiple devices and syndicated across Rightster’s network.

The digital media partnership begins summer 2013 and will run through December 2014. It will make available live streaming of more than 300 matches including the Hockey World League 2013/2014, the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 and the Hockey Champions Trophies 2014 on YouTube, aiming to secure million views after one year. 

Rightster will also:

  • Promote and market 500 pieces of video on demand on YouTube including highlights, master classes and behind the scenes entertaining content
  • Manage the YouTube channel including hosting of the broadcast feed
  • Maintain a digital archive of all of events
  • Distribute the content to over 3000 syndicated partners via online media destinations, branded portals, social networking sites, connected TV/gaming platforms and specialist blogs

In addition to live streaming, YouTube channel management, and promotion of matches to a wider audience by seeding content across its existing network of publishers, Rightster has also developed a special widget for hockey’s 127 National Associations to place on their homepage allowing fans to watch live content without leaving the site.

“Rightster has a strong track record of distributing and promoting video content through YouTube – and other channels. Over 3,000 syndication publishing partners are currently connected to the Rightster network and the company is managing 150 million views per month on YouTube, which means we will be able to distribute our content far and wide,” said Kelly Fairweather, FIH Chief Executive.

“We want to make our events more accessible as we believe the more people that see high quality hockey matches then the more they will want to get involved with the sport as spectators, followers and players. With Rightster specialising in audience growth, we are confident they are the perfect partner to make this happen.”

Rightster CEO, Charlie Muirhead said, "Rightster is delighted and excited to be working with FIH to help them grow their digital distribution, audience and revenue. Through this partnership Rightster will provide the technical tools and audience development expertise to give FIH control and transparency over their digital distribution. These are two crucial factors for Sports Federations today as they manage the complexity of a media landscape crowded with digital opportunities and risks."

The first FIH event to be included in new partnership will be the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Rotterdam, Netherlands beginning on June 13 2013. Details of the streaming address link will be available on the FIH YouTube channel.

FIH media release