Batch appointed as New Zealand men’s hockey coach

[img_assist|nid=3512|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=220|height=104]AUCKLAND, September 25 – Hockey New Zealand have appointed former Belgium coach Colin Batch as head coach of the Black Sticks men.

A former Australian player, Batch is highly respected and recognised as a world-class coach. He has a proven track record having been head coach of the Belgium men’s team for the last two years and assistant coach of the Australian men’s team for eight years which included two successful Olympic campaigns.Hockey New Zealand’s chief executive Hilary Poole is delighted with the appointment and says recruiting a coach of high calibre was identified as a key priority in having a successful men’s high performance programme moving forward.

“Colin is going to be a huge asset. He has a wealth of hockey experience in various coaching roles, including being part of the gold medal winning Australian team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Colin is known for his strong, calm leadership both on and off the field and for bringing a level of commitment, professionalism and success to the teams he coaches,” says Poole.

“We wanted to attract someone who had achieved results as a head coach, had worked in more than one high performance programme, had the ability to develop, lead and maintain a strong team culture – and Colin has all of these qualities and more,” says Poole.  

Named 2011 FIH All Star’s men’s coach, Batch is excited about the opportunity and is looking forward to leading the men’s programme through to the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I am very excited to be taking up the challenge of improving the Black Sticks world ranking. I will enjoy working with new players and determining their strengths and weaknesses and developing their talent,” says Batch. 

“This opportunity presented at the right time for me after having achieved much success within the Belgium hockey programmes; both club and national teams. I believe Hilary has secured a dynamic high performance team, led by Toni Cumpston, for Hockey New Zealand and I am looking forward to bringing my strengths and international experience to the programme,” says Batch.

“While I will miss being based in Europe, I welcome the opportunity to be back closer to my home country, Australia.  With both the New Zealand teams having Australian coaches, I am sure the good natured rivalry between Australia and New Zealand will continue!” says Batch.   

Poole says there was strong national and international interest in the role, including several candidates from higher ranked programmes applying. 

Batch begins his role as head coach in early November and is contracted till the end of 2016. He will select players and lead the team at the FIH Champions Trophy in Melbourne. Former national head coach Shane McLeod will assist with this transition, before he relocates to Belgium to join his partner.  

Background on Colin Batch  

  • National head coach Belgium men (2010-2012)
  • Moved team from 13th ranked to 8th ranked in two years
  • Belgium finished fifth at 2012 London Olympics
  • Named 2011 FIH All Star’s Men’s coach
  • 2011 Champions Challenge gold medal (qualified team for their first ever entry into a Champions Trophy)
  • National head coach Belgium U21 Men/National assistant coach Belgium Men (2008-2009)
  • Silver medal, U21 European Championships (first time this age group had played off in final)
  • Head coach KHC Dragons Hockey Club (2008-2010) 
  • Back to back championship wins, qualified team for their first ever entry to the European Hockey League.
  • National assistant coach, Australia Men (2001-2008)
  • Bronze medal, Beijing Olympics
  • Gold medal, Athens Olympics
  • Australian national player and Vice Captain (175 caps) and Victorian State player.