Sharland and Pontifex named New Zealand’s best

[img_assist|nid=3063|title=Award|desc=Kayla Sharland (right) of New Zealand in Oceania Cup action vs Australia’s Emily Smith (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=136]New Zealand  Black Sticks hockey co-captain Kayla Sharland and goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex have been announced as the 2011 Players of the Year at the Hockey New Zealand Awards Dinner held in Wellington on Saturday April 28.

The evening also acknowledged the unsung heroes of the sport presenting 20 recipients from throughout the country with bronze, silver or gold awards for the huge contribution they have made to the sport.

“It is so important that we acknowledge those who continue to make an invaluable contribution to their hockey community – these are the people that keep hockey running well at a local level,” says Chief Executive Hilary Poole. 

Sport New Zealand chief executive Peter Miskimmin presented Black Sticks Phil Burrows and Ryan Archibald with a framed shirt for reaching 250 international test caps – making them the highest capped hockey players in New Zealand’s history.  

Although Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod was unable to be there on the night, he sent a video message to both players.

“To me what makes it impressive is not just the longevity of your careers but some of the victories you have had along the way. Let’s hope that our results this year will be a nice way to add to that legacy,” said McLeod.

The Hockey New Zealand AGM was held during the day and attended by 50 representatives from the 32 Associations and eight regions throughout the country. 

“2011 was an amazing year for hockey – both on and off the field.  We are now into year two of implementing a five year Whole of Hockey Plan and I’m very pleased with the progress the sport has made this year,” says chief executive Hilary Poole. 

Over the twelve months, there was a seven per cent increase in registered summer and winter players, a 10 per cent increase in umpires and officials and a four per cent increase in the number of active coaches.

As Hockey New Zealand works to rebuild its financial reserves, a surplus of $40,179 from core operations was achieved for the January-December 2011 period. 

After seven years on the Board and two as Chairman, John Williamson steps down and Dean Ellwood who was appointed to the Board mid 2011, was appointed as Chairman at the Board meeting immediately following the AGM.

“John has been instrumental in moving the sport forward. He has given a huge amount of time to the sport, providing exceptional leadership and governance over many years. The sport has been very fortunate to have him involved,” says Poole. 

2011 Hockey New Zealand Awardees

Player awards

Male Player of the Year – Kyle Pontifex (Wellington)
Female Player of the Year – Kayla Sharland (Palmerston North)
Male Under 21 Player of the Year – Nick Wilson (Palmerston North)
Female Under 21 Player of the Year – Stacey Michelsen (Whangarei)

Umpire awards
Male Umpire of the Year – Nigel Iggo
Female Umpire of the Year – Kelly Hudson
Male Most Promising Umpire of the Year – Ben Grant
Female Most Promising Umpire of the Year – Lucy Townend

Service Awards
Gold Awards (For 25 years or more service to hockey)
Sam Clark – Bay of Plenty
Audrey Dorsey – Marlborough
Jeanette Dunning – North Harbour
Dianne Harvey – Bay of Plenty
Darryl Howard – Bay of Plenty
Annette Kennedy – Marlborough
Denise Lloyd – Marlborough
Rex Manning – Wellington
Richard Munt – Canterbury
Diane Proudfoot – Nelson
Andy Rowe – Marlborough
Gaylene Russell – Buller
Cherie Stringer – Nelson
Richard Taylor – Wellington
Ian Waugh – North Harbour
Mavis White – Buller

Silver Awards (Between 20 and 24 years of service to hockey)
Peter Miskimmin – Wellington
Paul Tessier – Wellington

Bronze Awards (Between 15 and 19 years of service to hockey)
Richard Knudsen – Buller
Lynette Morrison – Marlborough