COMMENT:

As far as I can tell it takes quite the talent to make as big a hash of a review as Hockey New Zealand has. They end the week having infuriated just about everyone.

Some players complained about the culture under Mark Hager, the then coach of the women's Black Sticks.

It was a bad year for sport last year,: between hockey, cycling, and women's football codes there was a lot of unrest, upset, complaint - and as a result, reviews. But unlike football and cycling, the complaints at the hockey seemed more vanilla.

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Cycling and hockey had very specific allegations and potentially broken rules and regulations. As a result people have walked and been pushed.

Mark Hager has now been 'promoted' to coach Britain's team.
Mark Hager has now been 'promoted' to coach Britain's team.

Hockey seemed to have some players who thought Hager was too tough - hardly a crime at elite level sport. But then he had just as many supporters saying how good he was.

So was he a bully or a success story? There were no tangible allegations, broken rules, or breaches of laws, just a general misery around approach.

The other two sports investigated, reacted and moved on. Hockey dragged, dragged, and dragged until this week we finally got the result. Well, when I say result, we got a couple of glossed over headlines that totalled three pages.

The full report, which was heavily redacted, went to the heavyweights, and people like Sir Owen Glenn, the sport's biggest individual backer.

We got an apology from the administrators to the players for, well, we still really don't know. The vibe? The mood? The lack of taking stuff seriously? It's all so hopelessly vague we are no better off.

But in the ensuing period the lawyer who did the report has vanished, was not there this week to answer questions - and the players are furious the detail hasn't been published.

High Performance Sport is furious, the players' union is furious, Sir Owen Glenn is ropeable and has suspended his money.

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There isn't a single person in all of this that looks, sounds, and acts remotely happy as a result of months worth of angsting and hand-wringing.

Meantime Mark Hager is off to Britain to coach one of the best sides in the world, essentially having been promoted. So what has been achieved? Is anyone here a winner?

Is the sport held in higher esteem? No. Are the players pleased? No. Are the sponsors happy? No. Are the fans on board? No.

And all of this took longer than the other sports, and got a worse result. That's the trouble with incompetence at the top. They stay, and the real talent (the coach) is gone.

So who's the real loser?