Lily Owsley takes on the New Zealand defence. Credit Simon Parker

Incoming New Zealand Hockey chief executive Anthony Crummy will join the sport at the start of “probably the busiest period in the sport’s history”.

Crummy, who starts in January, was recently appointed as NZ hockey’s boss following two years of uncertainty at the embattled governing body.

Crummy has an impressive CV as he aims to turn around the sport following work as New Zealand Cricket’s deputy chief executive and senior positions at the 2015 Cricket World Cup and 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Hockey NZ chair Mike Bignell was optimistic that Crummy’s management experience can make inroads both on and off the field.

He said: “We are looking forward to leveraging Anthony’s expertise, not only in propelling hockey’s growth and development from the strong base built over the past decade, but also in continuing the sport’s transition to semi-professionalism.”

New Zealand’s Premier Hockey League starts this week for the women, and the men a week later.

New Zealand’s top men and women players have been split into eight teams for the tournament which runs until next month.

Bignell added: “There’s real excitement about our best players going head-to-head in the new Premier Hockey League, followed by probably the busiest period in the sport’s history in 2021 and 2022.”