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New Zealand hockey close to appointing independent reviewer

NZ players celebrate at the Commonwealth Games. PIC: www.photosport.nz

By The Hockey Paper

An independent reviewer will be chosen next week to look into the claims blighting New Zealand hockey in recent weeks.

It follows women’s head coach Mark Hager’s email, sent in error to the whole team, in which he criticised players during the Women’s World Cup.

Hager, who took over in 2008, has since received backing from seven former Black Sticks as the independent review takes hold over the sport.

In an open two-page letter, Hager was handed united support by Katie Glynn, Emily Gaddum, Bianca Russell, Krystal Forgesson, Lucy Talbot, Laura Douglas and Anna Alexander.

“We strongly refute recent allegations around a ‘negative environment’ within the Black Sticks programme, Mark’s ‘mistreatment’ of players, ‘bullying’ or playing ‘mind games’,” the letter read.

“In 2008, the Black Sticks Women finished last at the Beijing Olympics, lost all funding, and dropped to 13th in the world. Mark took over following this result and has been at the helm ever since.”

Former Black Stick Gemma McCaw remained coy on the controversy this week.

“There’s an independent review and it’s not my place to talk about that,” McCaw told NZ’s Newshub. “It should be done in the appropriate measures.

“We certainly had some good performances over that time, so as I say, we will wait and see.”

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