Sir Owen Glenn has slammed the independent review into the negative culture and claims of bullying within the Black Sticks women's hockey team as "cowardice".

The six month independent review conducted by Maria Dew QC found serious failings by Hockey New Zealand. The review revealed that of the 33 players interviewed, 24 players reported 'serious concerns' about the environment within the team.

The majority player view of a negative environment had been experienced for at least the last two years, with players arguing that the environment wasn't helping them reach their full potential, and was impeding the success of the team.

Glenn, who the Herald revealed froze the $1 million he had committed to the women's Black Sticks because of dissatisfaction with the sport's governance, continues to stand by now-departed coach Mark Hager, who he has been a vocal supporter of.


Hager resigned last month to take over as coach of the British and English teams leading to the Tokyo Olympics. His decade-long Black Sticks tenure culminated in a maiden gold medal at April's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Hager also took the team to two Olympic fourths, two World League finals and a Champions Trophy bronze.

But he has been at the centre of the review, and believing he could no longer be himself, left the role, something Glenn was not pleased about.

"He is a good coach - I saw a lot of his coaching all over the world. No complaints, all the good players are supporting him. Who are the ones who aren't? This is cowardice, absolute cowardice," Glenn told Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams.

Read more: 'We are deeply sorry': Hockey NZ release shock findings into bullying claims

A small number of players and Hockey Players Association representatives interviewed reported they had been informally raising concerns with HNZ about the Black Sticks environment for several years, but particularly after the Rio Olympics in 2016.

But HNZ chairman Mike Bignell was unable to define what constitutes a negative environment in today's press conference.

"It is a very broad term. And Maria has been very careful around the confidentiality of who spoke to her. The report doesn't have significant or specific examples, as that is not what the purpose of the review was. We still don't know who came forward, or what was said."

The lack of information stems to the players as well. They were this morning presented with the same three and a half page summary which is publicly available.


By comparison, the independent review into Cycling New Zealand was 83 pages.

"The process has always been about confidentiality, and that's what we have maintained throughout," said Bignell.

Those three and a half pages are far less than what Glenn has seen, however.

"I saw the amended copy. Probably 30 to 40 pages. But it has huge gaps in it," Glenn said.

"Everything that could have been contentious has been deleted. And it looks like a lawyer has gone over it with a fine tooth comb.

"Where's the justice in that? Where's the fair play in that? Someone has to question this. Nobody wants to take responsibility.

"I want the hockey board to be taken to task."

Owen Glenn has hit out at Hockey New Zealand. Photo / Getty
Owen Glenn has hit out at Hockey New Zealand. Photo / Getty

The lack of transparency and releasing of information is an area the New Zealand Hockey Players Association also has an issue with.

"That's where we have a different position to Hockey New Zealand, which we've conveyed to them," said Players Association boss Heath Mills. "We do believe that anyone who has participated in the review, past or present players, have really gone out on a limb to do so. And they should have access to the review and outcomes of it."

Mills added "We strongly believe the only way the players will heal and move forward, is if they start at zero with what Maria has found and written. Hockey NZ run the sport, and they've got other considerations they need to think about, which we respect and understand. So we need to work with them to get this relationship and environment better than it has been."

Bignell vehemently denies HNZ are hiding information from its players or the public.

"There's nothing to cover up. Confidentiality is fundamental."

Glenn maintains his stance over his funding, setting some demands that Hockey New Zealand need to meet to earn the money.

"They've got conditions from me. I want this thing to be investigated, and I think an independent person should investigate it." Glenn said.

"There needs to be a fair assessment of whether [Hager] deserves any compensation. I want an investigation into the Players Association's role, and I want the hockey board to be taken to task by a competent person who will make an assessment of whether they performed their duties.

"They appointed the coach, and they said they stood by him, but I don't think they stood by him."