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A TRIBUTE TO LOUIS VENTER – A MASSIVE BUT UNASSUMING CONTRIBUTOR TO SOUTH AFRICAN HOCKEY
BY STEVE JASPAN

Louis Venter passed away in Cape Town approximately 2 weeks ago at age 85 and the Western Province and South African hockey community mourns the death of one of its most loved hockey characters.

My first impression of Louis was him umpiring a premier league hockey game in Johannesburg in 1970.  Whilst his physical stature may not have been as imposing as Granville (Granny) Rolfe, he managed the game with total control. 

Louis had overcome polio in his twenties and surprised doctors by taking on many physical challenges.  He ensured misdemeanors were handled with a quiet warning word or a little dash of humour engendering the respect of players and fellow umpires.  This epitomized Louis and why he was universally respected as a national umpire.  He umpired at SA’s inter-provincial tournament and SA Country Districts from 1964 until the late 70s, after which he became a national umpires selector and in the late 70s had also assumed the mantle of Chairman of Western Province Hockey and a Council Member of the SA Hockey Association.

He had managed provincial teams, coached club teams including the University of Cape Town’s brilliant champion team of the early 70s which produced the likes of Ian Richter and Don Welham, both of whom had celebrated stints in the green and gold.

Louis was also the Technical Delegate (TD) at numerous inter-provincial tournaments not only ensuring that the tournaments ran like clockwork but also helping to nurture a generation of great SA umpires such as Dan Thysse.  He certainly was a major figure in creating the solid base that has made SA Hockey a leader in producing world class umpires.  He probably allowed himself a small chuckle of satisfaction when people asked how a medium sized hockey nation, for so long in the hockey wilderness, punched well above its weight when it came to producing umpires of the highest calibre.

His involvement as Chairman of WP Hockey and as SA Council Member at a very delicate time required diplomacy and skilled administration as he and other hockey stalwarts such as Dave Metter, Froggy Miot and John Marquard piloted the hockey boat through the very choppy waters of the despised apartheid era.

In the late 70s Louis’ wonderful wife, Lorraine, became Secretary of WP Hockey (probably a first in SA Men’s Hockey) and the husband and wife combination together with other superb administrators ensured WP hockey administration was at the forefront and the envy of other provinces. Tournaments such as the IPT at Milnerton and many more were a joy to attend.  Prior to the advent of artificial surfaces, he had identified the importance of indoor hockey in developing skills; as a development tool and a game of sheer fun and he ensured that the hosting of tournaments in Cape Town often included European Teams, a precursor to this common practice nowadays.  He also edited and produced SA Hockey’s first magazine entitled “Whistle Happy” and it brings back myriad memories to page through one of the back numbers of the magazine – nowadays a hockey collector’s item.  This means of communication and constructive criticism extrapolated into the digital age would be a revelation!

He shared many hours of fun,friendship and humour with another great hockey stalwart, Vic de Mink, and these two epitomized the camaraderie of hockey.

When we measure the impact a person has made it is often seen in the love and respect with which his peers hold him.

Whether it be fellow umpires and selectors such as Bobby Gagel and Graham Loudon-Carter, fellow administrators such as Don Perry, journalists such as Iain Cameron-Strange, players such as Ian Richter and Don Welham, we all have wonderful memories and anecdotes of Louis – a warm, generous, kind, loyal and courageous person and friend.

He was acknowledged formally by SA Hockey when he became an Honorary Life Vice-President of SA Hockey-fitting acknowledgement for his herculean efforts.  A very successful businessman, he loved and cherished his family and his beloved wife, Lorraine and son, Raoul were the light of his life.  Our thoughts are with them in these sad days.

The Western Province and South African hockey community were very fortunate that this man who overcame adversity, loved his parallel unpaid career in hockey, second only to his family.

That’s why our hockey scene is so much the richer and why all who had spent quality time with him felt he had enriched their lives.

A GIANT AMONGST HOCKEY MEN – A TRIBUTE TO BRIAN VICTOR EDWARDS

(1936-2016)

BY STEVE JASPAN

The news of the death of Brian Edwards has sent shock waves through the South African hockey community.

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The SA Hockey family is sadden to hear about the passing away of SAHA ‘s Honorary Life Member Mr Brian Edwards this morning.

Brian was fondly known as “Puffy” within his close knit hockey community in the KZN Inland area, a name that became widely adopted by all who knew him.  It is with great sadness that we convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

 

Until we meet again Puffy, may your soul rest in eternal peace.

The PHL has confirmed its official list of team sponsors for the inaugural event, which gets underway at the Randburg Astro, this Saturday, 3rd September 2016.

Alongside Grays and Tsogo Sun, who are the official technical apparel and hotel partners of SAHA respectively, ten other brands are involved in the inaugural event – as sponsors of individual teams.

“We are delighted by the number of brands that have bought into our vision for this new elite hockey event. The most exciting aspect is the mix of sponsors – FMCG, online property retail, medical and personal grooming brands all feature prominently. It shows the diverse audience that hockey in South Africa attracts and bodes very well for the future.” said Marissa Langeni, CEO of SAHA.

The confirmed list of team sponsors (and the teams they are sponsoring) is as follows: 

Women’s Teams:

Sponsor Brand

PHL Team

Nestle Pure Life

Blyde River Bunters

Ezee Tile

Madikwe Rangers

Lip Ice

Namaqualand Daisies

Clinix

Orange River Rafters

Young Solutions

St Lucia Lakers

Private Property

Wineland Wings

Men’s Teams:

Sponsor Brand

PHL Team

Everysun

Addo Elephants

Tsogo Sun

Drakensberg Dragons

Schick

Garden Route Gazelles

Private Property

Golden Gate Gladiators

Greenfields

Mapungwe Mambas

Milo

Maropeng Cavemen

On Monday it was announced that SuperSport had concluded an exclusive five year deal to broadcast selected matches from the PHL. For the 2016 event, 24 of the 40 PHL games, including all semi-finals and both finals, will be broadcast live across all SuperSport platforms, including television, mobile and online – throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. A further eight PHL games will be streamed exclusively live via the SuperSport website and will be repeated, on a delayed basis, on selected SuperSport broadcast channels.

Thanks to support and investment from the Department of Sport & Recreation, the inaugural PHL event will be hosted at the Randburg Astro, Johannesburg and will consist of both a men’s and women’s league that will run over four weekend’s – from Saturday 3rd September to Sunday 25th September 2016 (inclusive).

The PHL forms a key part of the SAHA high performance pipeline which is aimed at better equipping our national men’s and women’s teams for international competition in future. To this end the PHL will be the very first Hockey League in the world where all the women participating will be paid to play the game.

How the PHL Works:

The inaugural event consists of six men’s teams and six women’s teams, respectively, playing in two gender based competitions. These teams are all franchise teams that are 100% owned by SAHA.

The team identities have been inspired by famous tourist areas in South Africa and are representative of all nine Provinces. In 2016, two of the twelve participating teams will be the SA u21 Men’s and SA u21 Women’s National teams, respectively. This is to prepare our national age group teams for the FIH Junior World Cups which take place later this year. The SA u21 Men’s team will play as the Private Property Golden Gate Gladiators and the SA u21 Women’s team will play as the Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies.

Event Structure and Format:

The event consists of a league stage and a play-off stage where each team will play each other once in the league stage. This means each team will play five games.

At the end of the league stage, the teams who finish fifth and sixth in the log, will have a play-off to determine who places fifth and sixth in league. The top four teams

in the log will progress to the semi-finals. The losing semi-finalists will play-off for third and fourth respectively and the winning semi-finalists will progress to the finals of the men’s and women’s competitions.

For more information about the PHL, please visit: www.premierhockeyleague.co.za 

The national men’s and women’s teams may not have been competing on the field, but tremendous honour and respect still came out of the Olympic Games for South African hockey thanks to the outstanding efforts of their officials.

That South African umpires are at the very top of the game was confirmed by John Wright and Michelle Joubert being appointed to handle the respective men’s and women’s finals.

For Wright, it capped a stellar career as it was the fifth Olympic Games he has officiated in and the second time he has been awarded the final, on what is likely to be his last umpiring stint at the global sporting showpiece.

“I was very pleased with the way things went, the Olympic Games has been the pinnacle of my career and it was a lovely way to end off. I’m very grateful that I have been given all the opportunity I could ever have wanted,” Wright said.

“It was a wonderful experience and I’m just so grateful for all the kind words and support from back home,” Joubert said. “It was a dream come true, just so exciting and I had a perfect time in Rio with so many happy memories.”

The experienced Wright had some kind words to say about his colleague as well.

“I believe Michelle is by far the best women’s umpire in the world and she had an exceptional tournament, even though she was battling injury. It did not hamper her in the final though, where she had a 26-year-old co-umpire, and she made a 100% correct call on the penalty stroke. Michelle has really come on leaps and bounds,” Wright said.

Joubert, the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH)’s 2015 Women’s Umpire of the Year, and Wright weren’t the only South Africans to feature in an Olympic hockey final as Deon Nel was the men’s video umpire.

Behind the scenes, Sheila Brown was the women’s tournament director and Marelize de Klerk the umpires’ manager.

A former umpire herself who was ranked number one in the world and was the first woman to officiate in 200 internationals, De Klerk blew in three Olympic Games from 2000-2008 before retiring in 2011 and becoming an umpires coach and recently a manager.

Brown is a stalwart of South African hockey and a veteran technical official and leading administrator. Her appointment was one of the highest honours in hockey and an enormous responsibility as the final authority at the event.

Brown, a colonel in crime intelligence, made her international debut as a judge in 1996 and was tournament director of the All-Africa Games in 2003. Since then she has been in charge of two World Cups. Brown was the assistant tournament director at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games.

Former national captain Marsha Cox nee Marescia may no longer be active as a player, but she was in Rio de Janeiro bringing over 300 international caps worth of experience to her new roles as a member of the appeal jury and the FIH’s athletes’ commission.

PETER WHITFIELD DAWSON TURNER 1938-2016

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR GREAT HOCKEY UMPIRES – A TRIBUTE BY STEVE JASPAN AND

BOB GAGEL

Sadly, the passing of another fantastic hockey person has gone virtually unnoticed by the hockey fraternity.

Dr Peter Turner passed away in May of this year leaving behind a legacy of a selfless and massive contribution to the game of hockey, especially in Southern Africa.

After a very successful all-round school career at the famous Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg, Peter attended the University of the Witwatersrand where he graduated as a dentist.

After a stint in London, where he married Penny he returned to South Africa in 1967 where he continued to practice as a dentist whilst Penny and he raised their 4 children.  He later branched out and enjoyed a very successful career developing hospitals.

But it was his role as a hockey umpire, coach, umpires’ manager and administrator where he made a profound contribution to South Africa’s growth as a hockey nation.

He was able to impart his knowledge and experience as an international umpire to aspirant umpires and together with many of his friends including Bobby Gagel, Fred Zackey and Dave Metter – laid the foundations for South African hockey umpires rising to the top of world hockey.

Many of the world’s mightiest hockey nations marvel at the fact that we have produced umpires of the calibre of John Wright, Gary Simmonds, Marelize de Klerk and Michelle Joubert to name but a few of those who have graced the local and international scene.

When it comes to umpiring and officiating, South African hockey “punches well above its weight” and that’s due to the foundations laid by the likes of Peter Turner.

As an umpires coach and manager Peter’s excellent inter-personal skills and humour benefitted so many of our young umpires whilst setting the very highest standards.  I can recall the All Africa Games in Zimbabwe in 1995 where these incredible skills benefitted a crop of Africa’s finest umpiring prospects.

Peter served on the SA Hockey Executive for a number of years where he held the “Umpiring” portfolio which he handled with vision, wisdom and aplomb.

We will always cherish our time serving hockey with this wonderful, self-effacing man.

A generation of hockey umpires may never quite know the work Peter put in to set the sound foundations for their glittering careers.

 

Peter – rest in peace, friend – you epitomised all that is great in hockey and what volunteerism is all about!

THE PHL REVEALS U21 TEAMS FOR THE 2016 EVENT

5th August 2016

With less than 24 hours to go to the first ever Premier Hockey League player draft, the PHL has unveiled two of the playing squads that will be playing in the 2016 event.

While 10 of the 12 playing squads will be selected via Saturday’s draft, the South African Hockey Association has decided that both the SA men’s and women’s U21 national squads will play in the new event as franchise teams.  The men’s U21 team will play as the Golden Gate Gladiators and the women’s U21 team will play as the Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies.

This is in order to help them to prepare for their respective Hockey Junior World Cups that take place in India (men) and Chile (women) towards the end of the year.

“We decided to allow our national U21 team’s to participate as franchise teams to give them as much quality game time as possible in the build up to their two Junior World Cup’s. If the U21 team experiment proves a success then we may make these age group national teams a permanent fixture in future PHLs,” said Marissa Langeni, the CEO of SAHA.

“Not only is the PHL good practice for the upcoming Junior World Cup but the U21 men’s team plans to be really competitive. The team has had great practice and they know each other well. As such, we have a competitive edge that the rest of the teams don’t. With star players such as Rob McKinley, Ryan Crowe, Ryan Julius and Alex Stewart, the squad has already proved that they are equipped to take the team to the next level,” commented Garreth Ewing, Coach of the Golden Gate Gladiators men’s team.

“With the U21 women’s team only recently been announced, the ladies will be using the PHL as a form of preparation for the Junior World Cup. The PHL is going to give us the platform to get the team together and really build camaraderie. The core group are good sportswoman and I am positive that with players such as Tarryn Glasby, Marizen Marais, Marilize van Tonder, Tegan Fourie and Sandi Tabata we will be victorious,” added Patrick Tshushani, Head Coach of the Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies women’s team.

The 10 other PHL teams (five men’s and five women’s) will be selected via a unique player draft that takes place this Saturday (6th August 2016). The draft commences at 10am on Saturday morning and interested parties will be able to follow it live online, via the new PHL website (www.premierhockeyleague.co.za) which launches late tonight.

The draft, which has been inspired by American sports leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL), is a squad selection process that sees the coaches of each PHL team take turns, based on an order sequence drawn out of a hat, to choose from a pool of eligible players.

Golden Gate Gladiators Playing Squad (Men’s Team):

1          Charles Bowren
2          Ryan Crowe
3          Matthew De Sousa
4          Tyson Dlungwana
5          Courtney Halle
6          Ryan Julius
7          Tevin Kok
8          Nduduzo Lembethe
9          Amkelwe Letuka
10        Kyle Lion-Cachet
11        Rob McKinley
12        Steve McManus
13        Khumo Mokale
14        Siya Nolutshungu
15        Bili Ntuli
16        Walter Pfaff
17        Jayson Reed
18        Tylo Remke
19        Bjorn Sorensen
20        Alex Stewart

 

Golden Gate Gladiators Coaching Team:

Head Coach

Trainers

Manager

 

Garreth Ewing

 

Neville Rothman &
Devon van der Merwe

 

Lindsay De Kock

The Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies (Women’s Team):

1          Danni Cairns
2          Gretchin Davids
3          Alegra Dijkstra
4          Natalie Esteves
5          Amy Etherington
6          Tegan Fourie
7          Tarryn Glasby
8          Antoinette Louw
9          Sisipho Magwaza
10        Nthabi Maine
11        Ongi Mali
12        Marizen Marais
13        Kirsten Paton
14        Marissa Poolman
15        Christine Seggie
16        Shindre-Lee Simmons
17        Donna Small
18        Sandi Tabata
19        Marilize van Tonder
20        Margeruite Van Wyk

The Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies Coaching Team:

Head Coach

Trainers

Manager

 

Patrick Tshushani

 

Gregg Hesom & Inky Zondi

 

Bridget Kee

PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE UNVEILS INNOVATIVE PLAYER DRAFT FORMAT

The inaugural South African Premier Hockey League (PHL) has taken a step closer to becoming reality today, with the announcement that the official player draft will take place this Saturday (6th August 2016).

The draft, which has been inspired by American sports leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL), is a squad selection process that sees the coaches of each PHL team take turns, based on an order sequence drawn out of a hat, to choose from a pool of eligible players.

The draft commences at 10am on Saturday morning and interested parties will be able to follow it live online, via the new PHL website (www.premierhockeyleague.co.za) which launches late on Friday evening.

Thanks to support from the Department of Sport & Recreation, the inaugural PHL will consist of both a men’s and women’s competition and will run over four weekend’s - from Saturday 3rd September to Sunday 25th September 2016 (inclusive). More information about the draft and the 2016 PHL event structure is contained at the end of this media release.

“The player draft system is an exciting new innovation for the PHL and we are sure it will generate much talk-ability and debate amongst hockey fans in this country”, said Mike Du Plessis, the President of the South African Hockey Association (SAHA).

“The PHL forms a key part of SAHA’s high performance pipeline which is aimed at better equipping our national teams for international competition. We are especially grateful to the support and investment from the Department of Sport & Recreation, as well as the belief they have shown in the future of hockey in this country”, added Marissa Langeni, the CEO of SAHA.

Meanwhile, the PHL has also revealed the head coaches for the 2016 PHL teams. The immediate priority of these coaches will be to select their playing squads during Saturday’s draft.

Men’s PHL Teams

Women’s PHL Teams

Team

Coach

Team

Coach

Every Sun Addo Elephants

Cheslyn Gie

Blyde River Bunters

Lindsey Wright

Drakensberg Dragons

Sihle Ntuli

Madikwe Rangers

Robin van Ginkel

Garden Route Gazelles

Steve Evans

The Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies

Patrick Tshushani

Golden Gate Gladiators

Gareth Ewing

Orange River Rafters

Pietie Coetzee-Turner

Mapungubwe Mambas

Krinesan Moodley

The Young Solutions

St Lucia Lakers

Lenise Marias

Maropeng Cavemen

Mark Saunders

Winelands Wings

Ryan Pillay


Note to media:
Selected coaches and players will be made available for interview post the draft on Saturday afternoon – from 3.30pm onwards. Interviews can be done telephonically or in person at the draft venue. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like further details about the media arrangements for Saturday’s draft.

More about the 2016 Premier Hockey League:

· The 2016 event consists of six men’s teams and six women’s teams, respectively,

· All matches will be played at the Randburg Astro in Johannesburg.

· Both the SA men’s and women’s U21 national teams will be playing in the PHL as franchise teams. This is to help them prepare for the Junior World Cup that takes place later this year. The men’s U21 team will play as the Golden Gate Gladiators and the women’s U21 team will play as the Lip Ice Namaqualand Daisies.

· Squads will consist of 18 players. The two U21 teams will, however be allowed to select a squad of 20 players.

· Both the men’s and women’s PHL competitions will consist of a league stage and a play-off stage:

o Each team will play each other once in the league stage. This means each team will play five games in the league stage.

o The teams who finish fifth and sixth respectively in the log, at the end of the league stage, will play-off to determine who finishes fifth and sixth.

o The top four teams in the log will progress to the semi-finals. The losing semi-finalists will play-off for third and fourth respectively and the winning semi-finalists will progress to the finals of the men’s and women’s competitions.

More about Saturday’s Premier Hockey League Draft:

· The players for these two national U21 teams will be pre-selected and will not enter the draft.

· It has further been decided that the respective coaches of the senior men’s and women’s national teams will allocate four marquee players to each of these remaining ten teams (20 men and 20 women).

· The list of marquee players, and their designated teams, will be announced on Saturday at the beginning of the draft.

· Thereafter a list of eligible players, who have expressed an interest in participating in the event, will be entered into the draft on Saturday.

· There will be two drafts – a men’s draft and a women’s draft. They will each follow the same process.

· The coach of each team will need to select 14 players to fill his or her squad of 18 players. The other four players are of course the pre-selected marquee players.

· Round one of the men’s draft will take place first, followed by round one of the women’s draft. Round two of the men’s draft will then commence and the overall draft will conclude with round two of the women’s draft.

· In each round, each coach will have the chance to select seven players.

Round 1:

· Each coach will draw a number out of a hat.

o Number one = first pick in round one of the draft.

o Number two = second pick in round one of the draft.

o Number three = third pick in round one of the draft.

o Number four = fourth pick in round one of the draft.

o Number five = fifth pick in round one of the draft.

· The coach with number one will pick a player first, followed by the four other coaches in their number sequence.

· This will continue for seven selections. Each time the coach with number one will go first.

· Once all five coaches have made seven selections then round one will end.

Round 2:

· The picking order will be reversed and the coach with number five will have first pick and the coach with number one will have last pick. The coach who had pick number two in the first round will have the fourth pick and the coach who had pick number four in the first round will have the second pick. The coach with the third pick will stay third.

· Each coach will make seven final selections based on the above order sequence.

Reserve players:

All players not selected for the draft will be automatically entered in a reserve pool of players that can be utilised by the teams, in the event of injury or player unavailability.

Read more ...


The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) has officially unveiled Grays as its exclusive technical apparel partner for the next five years.

The Grays apparel sponsorship, which runs until the end of 2020, covers all SAHA outdoor representative teams - from under 18 through to the senior men’s and women’s international squads, all teams participating in the forthcoming SA National Hockey League, as well as SAHA coaches and match officials.

As part of the partnership, Grays has the exclusive right to produce official SA Hockey replica wear, supporters wear, fashion wear and other key hockey products and will also be launching an official SA Hockey endorsed e-commerce platform later this year. SAHA will earn a percentage of all revenue generated from these new revenue streams.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Grays on board as our official apparel partner. Grays is an iconic and global hockey brand and their partnership is a massive endorsement of our vision and strategy for hockey in South Africa. We are especially excited by their plans for the e-commerce platform, which is due to launch towards the end of this year,” said Marissa Langeni, CEO of SAHA.

Grays and its South African distribution partner, Leisure Holdings, are equally optimistic about the new partnership.

“Everyone at Grays is delighted to have secured South African hockey. Grays is the world’s leading hockey brand and as such is perfectly placed to support the exciting growth of hockey in South Africa.” added Richard Gray, Sales and Marketing Director at Grays.

“We really believe in the South African hockey revolution and see a sport that is on an upwards curve, from an interest and participation perspective. This is a true business partnership, with SAHA incentivised to help us grow the Grays brands in South Africa. We look forward to a very productive long term relationship,” concluded Brett Burnill, Director of Leisure Holdings.

About SAHA:
The South Africa Hockey Association is the national governing body of field hockey in South Africa. SAHA focuses on the administration, development and co-ordination of all activities of the game within South Africa, in areas such as coaching umpiring and playing - at International, Provincial, Club and School level. SAHA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the Africa Hockey Federation (AHF) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

About Grays:
Grays was founded in Cambridge by world rackets champion H.J. Gray in 1855 and have built a worldwide reputation for supplying quality sports equipment; notably for hockey, racquets and cricket (under the Gray-Nicolls brand).  The company has remained in family hands ever since and is now owned and controlled by 5th generation of Grays.

About Leisure Holdings:
Leisure Holdings is one of South Africa’s top distributors of sporting goods, with a significant warehouse and distribution network. Leisure Holdings currently supplies and has excellent working relationships with most the major retailers in South Africa and has extensive experience in managing the following brands: Arena, Grays, Gray Nicolls, Prince and Gilbert.

SA Hockey Sponsors, Partners and Affiliations