Hockey: Black Sticks women's coach Mark Hager reportedly set to lose job

New Zealand Hockey has denied speculation that women's Black Sticks coach Mark Hager is facing the sack.

On Friday, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported that both Hager and players had been informed that the long-serving coach would be relieved of his position after a review into the national team culture.

But Hockey New Zealand board acting chair Shane Collins has poured cold water on the speculation, insisting the independent review is still being conducted and "no decision will be made, until the final review is complete".  

"We want to ensure the review is as comprehensive and robust as possible to help the sport as it continues on its journey of continuous improvement."

The review's findings were due to be announced last month, but on Wednesday, Hockey NZ advised that had been delayed until early next year.

The review was launched in September, after allegations of a negative team environment emerged.

Hager, a former Australian international, accidentally sent an email to the entire team, naming and shaming individual players for their performance and effort, after finishing 11th at the women's World Cup.

Three months earlier, they had won gold at the Commonwealth Games.

The RNZ report adds that  Hockey NZ have asked Hager to stay for the Black Sticks' first two games of the 2009 season, against the Netherlands and Belgium, before departing on February 1.

But Hager, who is contracted through the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, is reportedly considering legal action against Hockey NZ as a result of their decision.

Hager has been in charge of the women's side since 2008.

Attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.