Hockey: Coach in the wings, players deciding

By Terry Maddaford

Chief executive Hilary Poole said her association was "in the middle of the process" as it considered applications for the coaching role. Photo / David Rowland
Chief executive Hilary Poole said her association was "in the middle of the process" as it considered applications for the coaching role. Photo / David Rowland

Hockey New Zealand remains on track to appoint a new coach for the men's Black Sticks team next month.

But it has no firm indication on which current players are set to end their international careers.

Chief executive Hilary Poole said her association was "in the middle of the process" as it considered applications for the coaching role.

She would not reveal how many applications had been received or where they came from, but said the board was pleased with the calibre of applicants for the job about to be vacated by Shane McLeod.

"There has been a lot of interest and we are working through the assessment process," she said.

"We are still on track to be in a position to make a call by the end of the month."

Poole said the association's coaches were on leave and several players had yet to return from Europe.

"There was such a full-on lead-up to the London Olympics we haven't had the chance to sit down with the players and discuss their futures," said Poole.

"That probably will not be done until the new coach is in place but it will need to be done soon as we have to get a squad for December's Champions Trophy in place."

Of suggestions Hockey NZ might be preparing to bid for another international tournament, Poole said it was awaiting the FIH calendar.

"We have done a feasibility study in looking at the size and type of tournament we would be keen to host but with the changes to the FIH programme we will have to wait and see.

"I will attend the FIH Congress in Kuala Lumpur early in November and should know more then."

Introduction of the new World League will do away with Olympic and World Cup qualifying tournaments. Instead, those places will be allocated on the basis of league rankings.

Hockey NZ is working on a new four-year plan in conjunction with High Performance Sport NZ but with Olympics, Commonwealth Games, world cups, the World League and Champions Trophy tournament on the horizon it promises to be more of the same for both Black Sticks teams.

New Zealand will enter the World League at the semifinal stage in June next year when eight teams (men and women) will be in action with the top four to progress to the finals.

In another change, men's and women's New Zealand Maori teams will play December's Oceania/Pacific tournament in Fiji.

But the Maori teams, to be named after next month's annual Maori tournament, will not be able to progress to the next round of the World League.

- NZ Herald

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