Hockey New Zealand releases damning findings of independent review

Hockey New Zealand has released the findings of the independent review into the Black Sticks womens side, and it's brought to light some troubling claims.

The review was commissioned as a result of concerns raised by the Players Association in August of 2017 surrounding the allegedly negative culture fostered under then-head coach Mark Hager, which were first brought to light by an email he accidentally sent to the entire team criticising certain players.

The review was conducted by QC Maria Dew in September - three months after the team won gold at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Of the 33 players interviewed as part of the review, 24 have corroborated those allegations by reporting "serious concerns" regarding the team environment.

Some dated the issues back as far as the Rio Olympics in 2016, saying they'd impeded the side's chances of reaching its potential, while others said they'd been flagging problems with HNZ for several years.

Hockey New Zealand chairman Mark Bignell made an apology to the players.

"The failings resulted in unacceptable outcomes for some of our players and consequently the broader management team," he said.

"It should never have got to this point and the fact that it has is something Hockey New Zealand is deeply sorry for and unequivocally apologises to all those who have had a poor experience in the environment."

Among the resulting recommendations for improvement include a closer working relationship with the Players Association and more clarity surrounding roles.

In January, Hager resigned as coach of the national side to take up a role as head coach of the Great Britain and England women's teams.