Hockey NZ plan independent review into women's Black Sticks culture

Hockey New Zealand has confirmed it will conduct an independent review into Black Sticks team culture after "feedback" from past and present players.

Several national team players have spoken out in the past week about the negative environment under long-time women's coach Mark Hager.

On Monday, CEO Ian Francis confirmed an investigation would take place, after a "positive and constructive" three-hour meeting with the players association.

"We've agreed to a plan to address the feedback," said Francis. "That involves an independent person to look into that and gather more information, if appropriate.

"There is absolutely no question that athlete welfare is paramount. At the same time, we must consider and protect the rights of our employees."

Francis added they'd reveal who that person would be in the next few days.

After a defeat at the recent World Cup, Hager accidentally sent an email naming and shaming individual players for their performance and effort to the entire team.

The 54-year-old singled out several "struggling" players - all of whom saw a copy of the email - and expressed frustration at their work ethic and training habits.

Last week, Hager issued an apology to team members, after which Francis said no further action would be taken.

But further player complaints surrounding wider-ranging issues have prompted the national body to pursue an independent review.

The Black Sticks finished a disappointing 11th at the World Cup, three months after snaring gold at the Commonwealth Games.


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