Friday, December 1, 2023

Hockey Pro League: Olympic champions Belgium men without top stars

Belgium men, the Olympic champions, will be without key stars for their FIH Pro League campaign in London due to club commitments — but will have their Tokyo-winning coach back in the ranks.

Belgium, also the World Cup runners-up, will meet India and hosts Great Britain over the next two weekends at Lee Valley.

Vincent Vanasch, Arthur Van Doren, Alexander Hendrickx, Florent van Aubel and Sébastien Dockier are still playing with their clubs in the Dutch Hoofdklasse and German play-offs. Meanwhile, Antoine Kina is injured while Simon Gougnard, Gauthier Boccard, Cédric Charlier, Maxime Van Oost and Tom Boon aren’t in Michel van den Heuvel’s squad.

Van den Heuvel said: “This will be an opportunity to give young people some playing time. It will be a great challenge for them against the two teams in form in this Pro League. But we are convinced that they are ready to show themselves at this level.”

Meanwhile, Kiwi Shane McLeod is back as assistant coach, returning from his stint in German club hockey. 

He has rejoined up until Paris 2024 and will join up with the Red Lions for their GB game on June 2.

Following Craig Fulton’s move to India, Xavier Reckinger has been announced as Belgium’s T3 coach.

On the women’s side, the Red Panthers will be without Ambre Ballenghien, who broke her collarbone last Sunday.

Belgium men Pro League squad

Loic Van Doren, Simon Vandenbroucke, Arthur De Sloover, Guillermo Hainaut, Loick Luypaert, Nicolas Poncelet, Manu Stockbroekx, Tobias Biekens, Nicolas De Kerpel, John John Dohmen, William Ghislain, Arno Van Dessel, Victor Wegnez, Tanguy Cosyns, Thomas Crols, Roman Duvekot, Nelson Onana, Thibeau Stockbroekx.

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