Hockey: Sir Owen Glenn reportedly suspends Black Sticks funding over Hager departure

Former New Zealand coach Mark Hager.
Former New Zealand coach Mark Hager. Photo credit: Photosport

Auckland businessman Sir Owen Glenn has reportedly suspended his financial support of the Black Sticks women's hockey programme after Mark Hager's departure.

According to NZME, Sir Owenhas expressed his dissatisfaction with the sport's governance.

The former New Zealand Warriors part-owner had apparently committed $1 million each to the country's top male and female teams over the next two years.

February's payments, which are reportedly distributed directly to the 25-strong contracted players, have been suspended.

According to NZME, Hockey New Zealand has had to dip into its financial reserves, while negotiations with Glenn continue.

Sir Owen Glenn.
Sir Owen Glenn. Photo credit: Photosport

Former coach Hager quit in January to take up a role as head coach for the British and English teams, heading into next year's Tokyo Olympic Games.

Despite leading New Zealand to a maiden gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, Hager's methods had been called into question.

An email questioning the commitment of some squad members was mistakenly sent to the entire squad.

Glenn was a key supporter of the Australian-born coach and according to NZME, he felt compelled to take a stance.

"I thought 'hang on a minute', I supported Mark and persuaded him to stay," Glenn told NZME. "I backed him and inadvertently supported him financially. 

"If I'm putting $2 million behind hockey, I think there should at the very least be courtesy and respect, so I know what's going on. I put my terms and conditions to the hockey board of what I want to see, including the report, which has been mysteriously under wraps."

New Zealand Hockey said discussions with Glenn are on-going.

"Sir Owen has a highly valued and longstanding relationship with Hockey in which he has provided significant funding and support for nearly 10 years - both for our Black Sticks teams and at grass roots level," a statement read.

"Part of this is his recent commitment to provide direct funding to support our Black Sticks men’s and women’s teams, for which all players are extremely appreciative.

"As a key funding partner, Sir Owen has been concerned about Mark Hager’s resignation - like Hockey New Zealand, he considered Mark to be the coach who would take the Black Sticks women’s team to Tokyo. 

"We are currently working through Sir Owen’s concerns with him, and are hopeful of a positive outcome of continued support for the team."

The results of the independent review into Hager's reign are due to be released next week.


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