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Exclusive: Blacks Sticks Women’s coach opened rift with squad after mistakenly emailing criticism of team to players, shortly before being dumped out of World Cup

Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager created a rift with his players and New Zealand Hockey after mistakenly sending a critical email to his team during the World Cup last month.

1 NEWS has that email and understands it's just the tip of the iceberg for the organisation's problems.

The email contained Hager’s frustrations with the team and was intended for a team trainer.

In the email, he wrote that one player is "struggling to run", another "struggles to do repeated efforts" and a third "struggles to push through pain and heat".

He finished by saying they "don't work hard enough at trainings", before inadvertently sending his criticisms to every member of the team.

Hager apologised to his players after realising his mistake, but this created a rift between him and the Black Sticks squad at the World Cup in London.

Less than a week later, the Black Sticks lost to Argentina and were knocked out of the tournament.

They placed 11th, well below expectations.

NO FURTHER INVESTIGATION 

Hockey New Zealand responded to 1 NEWS’ requests for an interview by saying the matter had been dealt with by senior players and Hager and the requires no further investigation.

1 NEWS has spoken to people close to the team who say something needs to change, with friction between coach and some players understood to have been an issue for some time.

In April, the team won gold at the Commonwealth Games, a first in New Zealand hockey history.

That success aside, they've had just a 21 per cent win rate this year, dropping them to sixth in the latest world rankings.

The team is currently on a break before preparing for their next competition, 1 NEWS understands players and their coach have decided to put the incident behind them and move on. 

Mark Hager created a rift with his players and New Zealand Hockey after mistakenly sending a critical email to his team during the World Cup last month. Source: 1 NEWS


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