All the news for Thursday 19 November 2015
Indian hockey team takes on Australia
RAJNANDGAON (Chhattisgarh): The Indian hockey team will take on reigning World Champions and World No.1 side Australia in first of the three-match Test series on Thursday.
This series is to prepare for the year-ending, eight-team Hockey World League (HWL) Final that will be held in Raipur from November 27 to December 6.
"We have had a couple of good training sessions and the boys are looking forward to take on Australia in the Test series. They are a formidable team and we are confident of putting on a good show in front of the home crowd," India chief coach Roelant Oltmans said on Wednesday.
The series will give both teams much needed match practice for the major tournament ahead. They will also test bench strength and try out strategies before heading to Raipur for the second and third matches.
The Times of India
India suffer injury setback ahead of HWL Final
Lalit Upadhyay. (Getty Images)
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final in Raipur, India were dealt an injury setback in the form of striker Lalit Upadhyay, but chief coach Roelant Oltmans feels he has sufficient arsenal at his disposal to surprise world's top teams in the tournament.
Lalit, a promising centre who was initially named in the 18-member squad for the tournament, has been ruled out after suffering a hairline fracture during the final phase of India's preparatory camp in Bangalore.
Lalit has been replaced by young Mohd Amir Khan in the team.
"We had a good preparatory camp in Bangalore. Everything went off smoothly and fine. The only blemish was the injury to Lalit. He sustained a hairline fracture in the last week of our camp in Bangalore and is out of the tournament. Mohd Amir Khan will replace him in the squad," Oltmans, who is also the High Performance Director of India hockey, said.
Besides Lalit, another striker Nikkin Thimmaiah was also dropped from the squad because of a shoulder injury which he sustained during the last tour to New Zealand.
"We will also be missing Nikkin. He sustained a shoulder injury during the New Zealand tour and is likely to be operated soon. He will be out for at least six weeks.
"But we are making progress day by day and we have got a mix of young and experienced players in the side to take on top teams like Australia, Germany and The Netherlands," Oltmans said.
Oltmans, a master tactician and one of the renowned hockey coaches of the world, feels the preceding three-Test series against Australia, starting tomorrow in Raipur will provide him a perfect picture about his wards ahead of the high-profile tournament.
"Australia is the no. 1 team in the world. They are the fittest and the most attacking team in the world and to play three Tests against them will definitely test our preparation and give us an idea where we lack," the Dutchman said.
Taking about the upcoming HWL Finals in Raipur to be held from November 27 to December 6, the Indian coach said he understands the expectations of the countrymen but refused to set any goal for his team.
"I understand in India everyone believes in the final outcome but I believe in the process. The most important thing is if our process is right results will automatically come.
The Times of India
Spotlight on: New Zealand women
Rose Kedell in action for the Black Sticks
Under the guidance of Head Coach and former Australian international Mark Hager, New Zealand’s Black Sticks (FIH World Ranking: 4) have enjoyed arguably the most successful period in their history.
In 2011, the team claimed their first ever Champions Trophy medal when they took third place at the tournament in Amsterdam, and a year later narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal when they were beaten by Great Britain in the fight for bronze.
Following a difficult 2013, the team achieved a hugely creditable fifth place finish at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup before claiming fourth place at the end of year Argentina Hockey Champions Trophy. This year, a fourth place finish at the FINTRO HWL Semi-Final and a silver medal at the Oceania Cup were slightly below expectations, but you can be sure that they will be a force to be reckoned with in Rosario.
Hager has announced a strong side for the Argentina Hockey World League Final with nine players having over 100 caps, three of which have surpassed the 200 international appearances marker - Emily Naylor (250+), Anita Punt (210+) and Gemma Flynn (210+).
Punt and Flynn provide speed and goals, while New Zealand’s most capped player Naylor (257 caps at the time of writing) brings a hard-nosed approach to the defensive line.
21-year-old goalkeeper Georgia Barnett has received the call-up and will be looking to stamp her mark ahead of Rio Olympic selection at the end of this year. Fellow goalkeeper Amelia Gibson has been ruled out with injury while former captain Kayla Whitelock and striker Katie Glynn are building up their fitness and are on track to return to action later this year.
Nickname: The Black Sticks
Key player: Anita Punt. With well over 200 international appearances to her name, lightning fast attacker Anita Punt is New Zealand’s all-time top scorer and one of the most experienced members of the Black Sticks line-up. Her frightening turn of pace has been terrorizing defenders for years, and is also a regular scorer from penalty corner situations thanks to her impressive drag-flicking skills.
3x Oceania Cup Gold medallists (2007, 2009, 2011)
6x Oceania Cup Silver medallists (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2013, 2015)
FIH Champions Trophy Bronze medallists (2011)
2x FIH Champions Challenge Gold medallists (2005, 2009)
Commonwealth Games Silver medallists (2010)
2x Commonwealth Games Bronze medallists (1998, 2014)
4th place at London 2012 Olympic Games
Coach quote – Mark Hager: “We are very pleased with the team named, you only have to look at those unlucky players that have missed out to get a sense of the depth and high calibre of players in our wider group at the moment. Having the team here [in Auckland] has allowed us to work on our set pieces and structures, rather than having to work on those critical aspects of the game when we are away. Goal scoring is the key focus for us at the moment, we know we get the chances throughout a game and it’s just practicing how we convert those.”
Hockeyroos World League squad
Renee Taylor & Gabi Nance named in squad for Argentina World League Final
Renee Taylor is in the HWL Finals squad
The Hockeyroos squad has been selected for the World League Final in Rosario, Argentina, 5-13 December.
The 18 athletes will have the chance to demonstrate their credentials for inclusion in Australia’s 2016 national squad, the group of players that will train for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Included in Adam Commens’ side are 19 year-old defender Renee Taylor (pictured) and 21 year-old forward Gabrielle Nance. For Taylor, the call-up marks a first major tournament after making her debut against China in Sydney in April, while Nance first appeared for the Hockeyroos a year ago in tests against New Zealand before collecting a silver medal at the Champions Trophy.
The eight-team tournament will give Taylor, Nance and fellow youngsters Madison Fitzpatrick, Georgie Morgan and Mariah Williams valuable experience of playing against the best teams in the world under the pressure of the passionate South American crowd.
“We’re taking a team that can be competitive enough to be playing in finals,” said Hockeyroos’ Head Coach Adam Commens.
“As with the other top nations we’ve decided to use the tournament to give an opportunity to some of our younger up-and-coming players. We want to understand how they handle the crowd noise and the intensity of tournament hockey with six matches in nine days.
“As a result, we’ve left out some more experienced players. We know what the likes of Anna Flanagan and Teneal Attard are capable of under those conditions. But if we don’t expose the younger ones to it then we might not get many more opportunities to do so before having to make our decision on an Olympic team.”
The Hockeyroos will face China (ranked #5), Argentina (#3) and Great Britain (#6) in the opening pool phase with Netherlands (#1), New Zealand (#4), Korea (#8) and Germany (#9) making up the other side of the draw.
Australia’s opening match against China on 5 December will see Jodie Kenny play her 150th game for the Hockeyroos. The 28 year-old Queenslander was recently named Australian women’s Player of the Year.
“We’re ranked number two in the world so we need to be expecting to reach the medal matches and that we can take gold in events like this,” added Commens.
“Argentina is a place we’ve enjoyed success in the past. We’ve reached the final in our last two visits (the 2013 World League Final and 2014 Champions Trophy) and we’ll be looking to do the same again.”
Fox Sports will show the Hockeyroos’ quest for World League Final glory in Australia.
Australia’s women qualified for the World League Final through their third-place finish at the World League Semi-Final tournament in Antwerp in July, the event that secured Olympic qualification.
The Hockeyroos reached the gold medal match of the inaugural Hockey World League Final two years ago where they came away with the silver medal after a 5-1 reversal at the hands of the Olympic Champions, the Netherlands.
Casey Sablowski (née Eastham) and Kellie White continue to recover from knee surgery and were not available for selection. Anna Flanagan – who has played in every major tournament since the London Olympics, Teneal Attard and Georgie Parker are the other experienced athletes to have missed out.
On social media: #Roovolution #HWL2015 #MakeYourMark
Hockeyroos’ squad for World League Final, Rosario
5-13 December 2015
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 311/68
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 84/2
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 73/6
Kirstin Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 84/8
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) [QAS athlete] 6/3
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 149/92
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC) 129/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 76/8
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 17/1
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, NSW) [SASI athlete] 11/1
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 163/32
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 185/66
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 65/12
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 28/8
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 130/56
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD) 5/0
Ashlee Wells (Moe, VIC) 57/0
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW) 24/4
Hockeyroos’ fixtures at World League Final, Rosario
All times AEDT (-1 hr for AEST, -3 hrs for AWST)
Sunday 6 December - 8:45am: Hockeyroos v China (Pool B)
Monday 7 December – 11:00am: Hockeyroos v Argentina (Pool B)
Wednesday 9 December – 4:15am: Hockeyroos v Great Britain (Pool B)
Friday 11 December – tbc: Quarter final
Sunday 13 December – tbc: Semi final / 5-8 playoffs
Monday 14 December – tbc: Medal matches
Hockey Australia media release
Check on age cheats, AHF
By Jugjet Singh
THE ASIAN Hockey Federation (AHF) conducts daily urine tests on selected players, but there is no test done to ascertain the age of players in the Under-21 Junior Asia Cup.
Players, officials and coaches have over the last 20 years urged the AHF and also the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to conduct age-test for junior tournaments, because many of them have noticed that some players seem to remain young forever in a magical manner.
In Kuantan, yet again, many of those who are close to hockey have noticed many anomalies but checks with passports have shocked them to silence.
A hockey true-blood claimed that some players have seen action with him in the junior level, but while he is now well over the junior age, they are still actively playing in age-group tournaments.
The Junior Asia Cup is a World Cup qualifier, and the stakes are very high and age becoming a magical number has seen some impressive results and some disappointing outcomes.
Teams take great pain in preparing their juniors, and when there are alleges elements of unfair play, sportsmanship is thrown out the window and replaced by result-oriented cheats.
Malaysia's preparations, among others, is a great example of how much time and effort is placed to groom youth to become matured players.
Coach Arul Selvaraj and his team of social-science scientists have practically left no stone unturned to nurture the 18 who are in Kuantan to defend their Junior Asia Cup title.
Arul is not only a coach, but acts and rules the brood like a fatherly figure using scientific methods to check their heart-rate, their food (energy) intake and urine tests are conducted twice a day to check the level of water and other minerals in the body.
And he waits at the door to hand them the amount of liquid (one or two bottles of mineral water) when they attend briefings and makes sure they finish their quota of drinks before they exit the briefing.
Arul also pulls the occasional ear, gives the fatherly shelling, and praises players and its a family affair with one objective -- to bring out the best in his boys.
Many other coaches are doing the same to their junior charges, but some are only interested in results and do not care the method used to achieve it.
This is what the AHF and the FIH need to weed out of junior tournaments to give more credibility and accountability to their sanctioned tournaments.
If the parent bodies don't care, don't change, don't give a hoot -- then those who take the right path will always fall victims to scam artists.
NOTE -- WIKIPEDIA ON AGE TEST: The most commonly used method is based on a single x-ray of the left hand, fingers, and wrist.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Malaysia the better team
By Jugjet Singh
MALAYSIA have a better record than South Korea in the ongoing Junior Asia Cup, and coach Arul Selvaraj and his men are not afraid or taken aback with their opponents in the quarter-finals in Kuantan today.
After Bangladesh upset South Korea 3-0, Malaysia believe they are made of better stuff and their target of qualifying for the semi-finals and grabbing a ticket to the Junior World Cup in December 2016 is still in sight.
The tournament offers four places, and with India claiming one as World Cup hosts, the other three semi-finalists are also assured of playing in New Delhi next year.
India are sure bets to demolish Oman in the first quarter-finals of the day, Bangladesh play Japan in the second quarters and if the Bengali pull off another upset -- they will play in their maiden Junior World Cup.
Pakistan look the better side against China, while Malaysia only need to polish on their accuracy and South Korea will become history.
Korea team manager Yoo Moon-Ki believes his charges are better prepared after three matches.
"We never played any matches before this tournament and so the Group B outings were good practice. We started with a 5-2 win against Oman, but hit a bad patch against Pakistan (3-0) and Bangladesh (2-0).
"But my players are much more experienced and composed now, and I expect them to give Malaysia a tough time and eventually qualify for the World Cup," said Moon-Ki.
Malaysian coach Arul Selvaraj and his boys are not afraid of the challenge today.
"The fourth match is what matters most in this tournament and we are ready for any team. Past records at junior or even senior level invincibility does not come into account in this match.
"We came with a single objective which is to qualify for the semi-finals and I know we will achieve it regardless our opponents," said Arul.
Some believe South Korea are a better side than Malaysia and were not their true self in Group B, but lest we forget, Malaysia beat them in the last encounter -- 2-1 in the Junior World Cup quarter-finals and both the goals were scored by Shahril Saabah.
Shahril is still with the Malaysian team, as he is 21 and eligible for the qualifier but not the next World Cup.
Skipper Najib Abu Hassan rounded it up by saying: "This is the most important match of our lives as it will determine our future in hockey. So believe me, we will not blow up this chance of a life-time."
TODAY: Quarter-finals: India v Oman (3.45, Pitch II); Bangladesh v Japan (4pm, Pitch I); Malaysia v South Korea (6.15pm, Pitch I), Pakistan v China (8.30pm, Pitch I).
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
It's do or die for Malaysia against South Korea
By S. Ramaguru
KUANTAN: Malaysia have failed to reach the Junior World Cup Finals only once in 10 editions.
Whether they will get to play in next year’s Finals in India will depend on the outcome of the make or break match against South Korea in the quarter-finals of the Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here on Thursday.
The Malaysians, who only missed the Finals in 1997 in England, need to reach the semi-finals to be one of the four teams in India next year.
Coach A. Arulsevaraj’s team, runners-up to India in Group A, had wanted to avoid South Korea in the last eight. But the Koreans set up the clash after a surprisingly third-place finish in Group B following their shock 2-0 loss to minnows Bangladesh on Tuesday.
Arulselvaraj is certainly not taking any chances. He has warned his players against under-estimating the Koreans.
“It’s true the Koreans are not as lethal as they used to be. But we cannot take them lightly. Every time Korea play Malaysia the games are usually explosive and close.
“We see a tough match and it could go either way. But we are prepared and will be going all out to win it,” said Arulselvaraj.
Malaysia started off impressively, beating China 4-0. In the next match, they showed a lot of fighting spirit before losing 4-5 to India. On Tuesday, they were held to a 2-2 draw by Japan.
Malaysia’s Achilles heel is the goalkeeping department. Mohamed Ridzwan Azmi is still erratic, but he’s still the best at the moment.
The seven goals Malaysia conceded were soft and could have been avoided. The defenders also made too many errors.
National skipper Mohamed Najib Hassan, who marshals the defence, vowed to put up a better show against the Koreans.
“The Koreans are fast and will trouble us if we give them space. We made some mistakes in the earlier matches and we need to learn from it. We want to qualify for the Finals and we do not plan to give up now. We are going to win this match,” said Mohamed Najib.
Korean team manager Yoo Moon-ki said Malaysia have the advantage.
“We lack the experience. We lost two matches here as our players seemed to be in awe of better opponents.
“And we will be playing Malaysia in front of their home crowd tomorrow. We have not been in this situation before. It will be a new experience for my players.
“Having said that we’ll still try to beat Malaysia. We have nothing to lose. It is a do-or-die game for us too,” he added.
The Star of Malaysia
India, Pakistan favourites to reach Junior Asia Cup semis
By S. Ramaguru
KUANTAN: India and Pakistan should make the semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup.
The South Asian neighbours have been handed relatively easy quarter-final ties with India, Group A champions, playing Oman and Pakistan, Group B winners, taking on China.
But Pakistan coach Tahir Zaman has warned his team against complacency against winless China, who finished last in Group A.
“I never take any team for granted. I have told the players to maintain their team play and also to keep faith in their abilities.
“China play a good strong game. I feel they are capable of playing better.
“I am happy with what my players have done in the three group matches. They have improved and we want to win and secure a berth to the Junior World Cup Finals. This is the match we need to prove our worth,” said Tahir.
The four semi-finalists will qualify for next year’s Finals in New Delhi.
India coach Herendra Singh is optimistic of continuing their winning aways against Oman, who lost all their three matches in Group B and conceding 17 goals.
“It is all a matter of making sure we play our best hockey. We will not take it easy although Oman have been beaten comprehensively in the group stage. We will play hard and there will be no let up,” said Herendra.
The quarter-final match-up that could see a surprise result is that between Japan and Bangladesh.
Both teams are delighted that they are meeting each other and quietly confident of winning.
Japan coach Takajiko Yamabori thought they would meet South Korea initially, but was glad to play Bangladesh instead.
“It is a bonus (playing Bangladesh). We have better a better chance of winning. We are determined to make the Finals as the long term plan of this team is to play in the 2020 Olympics (in Tokyo).
“We are not underestimating Bangladesh but this is the best chance for us to qualify,” said Yamabori.
Bangladesh manager Mohamed Islam said they had hoped to play Japan and were relieved to have their wish granted.
“It is up to us now to go out there and grab the chance to qualify for the Finals for the first time. It is a great opportunity to make history and the players must seize the chance,” he added.
The Star of Malaysia
Confident India take on Oman in Junior Asia Cup hockey quarterfinal
KUANTAN (Malaysia): Following three consecutive victories in the group phase, a confident Indian hockey team is all geared up to face Oman in the quarterfinal of the eighth Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
India's path to the knockouts so far has been laden with victories over Japan (2-1), hosts Malaysia (5-4) and China 4-1. Harmanpreet Singh has been in good form, scoring five goals so far with Mandeep Singh and Manpreet following with two goals apiece.
"Yes, we are happy about what we have achieved so far, but here on it's a new tournament for us as we enter the knockout stage of the tournament. We are aware that we enjoy an upper hand over our opponents in the quarterfinal but we cannot take this lightly, as it's in such do-or-die situations where most of the upsets happen," said India coach Harendra Singh.
"Oman is a strong team and our boys are leaving no stones unturned to give their 100 percent to the match. We plan to stick to our basics and do not intend to test or try any new techniques or strategies especially in the knockout stages."
India enter the quarterfinal as the table-toppers of Pool A while Oman did not even manage to win a single match, out of the three they played in Pool B.
The Times of India
U23 New Zealand Series
Australian men’s U23 team to play New Zealand in five matches starting Saturday
An Australian men’s under 23 team will face friendly rivals New Zealand in a series of five competitive matches in Canberra from Saturday 21 to Friday 27 November.
A training camp consisting of five matches was created to ensure athletes from both Australia and New Zealand were receiving enough competitive opportunities within the specific age group. The camp will offer development opportunities for our younger athletes with training sessions and workshops interwoven within the teams scheduled matches and activities.
As the 2016 Junior World Cup edges closer, there’s a strong focus on Australia’s U21 National Junior Squad to align with international competition opportunities, however, this means there's the potential for lost opportunity within our talented young athletes between the ages of 22 and 23. The Australian men's U23 camp will allow all athletes the chance to showcase their talent under the watchful eye of some of Australia's most experienced coaches.
Aligning with the development opportunities for athletes, there will also be development opportunities for coaches. The Australian men’s U23 team will be led by NSWIS men’s coach and retired Kookaburra Brent Livermore with assistance from Hockey Australia’s national junior coach Ben Bishop and Mick Evans. Evans was the coach of the 2015 winning men's Australian Hockey League team the Queensland Blades.
Australian Men’s U23 Team
National Hockey Centre, Canberra
Oscar Allan (VIC)
Jacob Andrade (NT)
James Benetti (WA)
Simon Benetti (WA)
James Day (ACT)
Johan Durst (VIC)
Isaac Farmillo (NSW)
Max Harris (VIC)
Ryan Jones (TAS)
Cameron Joyce (SA)
Jason Lowe (NT)Ag
Jayden Pearson (TAS)
Hugh Pembroke (QLD)
Aiden Rintala (QLD)
Marshall Roberts (WA)
Lachlan Sharp (NSW)
Stuart Shepherd (ACT)
Jai Walker Kidd (TAS)
MacKenzie Warne (QLD)
Cameron White (SA)
Brent Livermore - Coach
Ben Bishop – Assistant Coach
Mick Evans – Assistant Coach
Ben Webb – Team Manager
Suzie Goodall - Physiotherapist
U23 New Zealand Series Fixture
Saturday 21 November: Australia v New Zealand, 3pm AEDT
Sunday 22 November: Australia v New Zealand, 4pm AEDT
Tuesday 24 November: Australia v New Zealand, 3pm AEDT
Wednesday 25 November: Australia v New Zealand, 4pm AEDT
Friday 27 November: Australia v New Zealand, 10am AEDT
Hockey Australia media release
KO16 match-ups decided for Easter 2016
Following today’s draw, next Easter’s KO16 looks set to be another major festival of hockey as 16 clubs learned their fate for the next phase of the world’s premier club competition.
The KO16 will take place on March 25 and 26, quickly followed by the KO8 ties on March 27 and 28 with 12 high quality matches taking place in quick succession.
The draw was conducted by EHF President Marijke Fleuren, EHF Board Member Jorge Alcover and EHF Competitions Manager David Voskamp (pictured above) with Maria Mir acting as an independent adjudicator.
Among the many highlights is the meeting between reigning champions Oranje Zwart and Belgium’s Royal Leopold who feature former OZ players Gabriel Dabanch and Elliot van Strydonck.
There is an all-German showdown between Rot Weiss Köln and perennial challengers UHC Hamburg while Real Club de Polo and Club Egara meet in a spicy Spanish battle.
Wimbledon, the one newcomer to the competition at this stage, has a tough date with Dutch Hoofdklasse leaders AH&BC Amsterdam. Racing Club de France’s first ever KO16 tie, meanwhile, is another big task as they play SV Kampong.
Dinamo Kazan’s bid for a KO8 place sees them play 2014 champions Harvestehuder THC; WKS Grunwald Poznan meet KHC Leuven on their return to the EHL while KHC Dragons take on Atlètic Terrassa in another well-matched fixture.
The venue and fixture times for the KO16 and KO8 will be confirmed at a later date while ticket details are also set to follow.
The FINAL4 will take place in Barcelona between May 13 and 16.
KO16 draw in full (to be played on March 25 and 26):
Dinamo Kazan (RUS) vs Harvestehuder THC (GER)
Oranje Zwart (NED) vs Royal Leopold (BEL)
Rot Weiss Köln (GER) vs UHC Hamburg (GER)
Wimbledon (ENG) vs AH&BC Amsterdam (NED)
Real Club de Polo (ESP) vs Club Egara (ESP)
WKS Grunwald Poznan (POL) vs KHC Leuven (BEL)
Racing Club de France (FRA) vs SV Kampong (NED)
KHC Dragons (BEL) vs Atlètic Terrassa (ESP)
Euro Hockey League media release
Passing of an Iconic Person in the Field Hockey World
Beatrice Toner. Photo and information courtesy of Sandra Vanderstoep
USA Field Hockey celebrates the lasting legacy of Beatrice Toner, an iconic person in the field hockey world who shaped the course of the sport in the United States. We would like to extend our condolences to Beatrice’s family for her recent passing in late October at the age of 86.
Beatrice Toner stood with a stature of 5 foot 2 inches and was a feisty, quick center forward for the Adelphi University field hockey team. Upon graduating from the university in 1950, she had a vision for field hockey in the United States.
Residing in Long Island, N.Y. as a physical education teacher and high school coach, Toner’s earlier vision took flight when she provided leadership for two, 5-year terms as the USA Field Hockey President from 1970 to 1980. During her tenure, a lot of positive change happened for the sport, especially for women in the United States.
In the 1970s, club hockey was the only existence and market to offer individuals who wanted to play field hockey outside of high school and college. To expand the club program, Toner helped form the first ever National Hockey Festival in 1979. This tournament was inspired by the National Sports Festival, an amateur multi-sport event held in the United States by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in the years between Olympic Games. The purpose of the National Hockey Festival was to reward club teams by having a national club playoff but also to bring people together who loved hockey. This very tournament still falls during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from when it first originated.
With the wheels turning and still with the vision to grow field hockey, Toner felt that women’s field hockey needed to be represented in the Olympics. Men’s field hockey already existed in the Olympics since 1908 and with Title IX coming into effect in 1972 she knew it was the perfect time to push for the change. With the International Olympic Committee approving the addition of women’s field hockey to increase the balance between gender equality in the sport, it meant that the United States had to form a U.S. Women’s National Team.
Not eager to select just anyone to represent the United States, Toner help create and implement the National Developmental Team, a feeder program or pipeline to lead to the national team. This very system is still used today and is known as the Olympic Developmental Pipeline. Camps and clinics were held for the selection process and the National Hockey Festival even was used as a try-out opportunity.
Through her efforts, the first year that women’s field hockey was present in the Olympics was the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, the United States boycotted those Games due to the protest of the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan. However, the next Olympic cycle showed much promise for the U.S. Women’s National Team. In their first year contending in the tournament, the team went on to claim the bronze medal at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
With an ever-growing love for the Olympic movement, Toner also was a high ranked member of the USOC in terms of site selection for the Olympic Games and Pan American Games. She would travel to various places and help in determining future sites of both international events.
Following her tenure as USA Field Hockey President, Toner briefly was the interim executive director of the organization before retiring. Her engagement with the USOC continued on for several years once she left USA Field Hockey.
Through Toner’s ultimate vision and voluntarily, unselfish efforts the sport of field hockey today wouldn’t be where it is without her hard work and dedication.
A fund has been set up in Beatrice Toner's honor where all donations to the fund will focus on simplifying the game, increasing participation, focus on children and reduce economic barriers to participation. USA Field Hockey has received an anonymous matching donation to kick start the campaign of $5,000. So every dollar that is donated up to this amount it will be matched and so have twice the impact.
CLICK HERE to donate to the Beatrice Toner Fund
USFHA media release