Hockey New Zealand withdraws national sides from all competitions through June 2022

  • 17/09/2021

Hockey New Zealand has confirmed the Black Sticks won't be hosting or playing scheduled matches in the Hockey Pro League, Junior World Cups or the Indoor World Cup.

HNZ says it isn't in a position to stage or participate in any International Hockey Federation (FIH) scheduled events until June 2022's Women's World Cup.

Junior World Cups are to be staged in South Africa in December (women) and India (men) in November, while the Indoor World Cup is scheduled for Belgium in 2022 - all three events won't include New Zealand.

The men's Black Sticks were set to host India, China and the Netherlands in February, before both the men and women's teams headed abroad to play several top-ranked national sides in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next July.

But New Zealand's strict COVID-19 border protocols, including a mandatory two weeks in managed isolation, meant it was logistically impossible for teams to enter the country, or the New Zealand teams to return home before the Commonwealth Games.

"The current COVID-19 situation and the unlikelihood of any change to travel restrictions in the near future, combined with health and wellbeing considerations, mean it is just not possible to participate in these events," says HNZ chief executive Anthony Crummy.

“We know how important high-level competition for our Black Sticks is going into pinnacle events such the World Cup and Commonwealth Games. 

"We have been working closely with Hockey Australia (who has also withdrawn from these events) and there is certainly a strong intent from both parties to facilitate trans-Tasman opportunities alongside domestic programmes through the back half of 2021 and into 2022.”