Hockey NZ boss appears in the dark over player dissatisfaction - 'I’m not sure what you’re talking about'

For a small organisation that players say has some serious problems the chief executive of Hockey New Zealand has somehow been in the dark.

1 NEWS spoke to 11 past and present players today who all highlighted the same problems.

They alleged the use of bully tactics and mind games, describing it as 'shut up and do as you're told, or don't play' atmosphere within New Zealand women's hockey culture.

The players say they feel mistreated and are too scared to speak up as if they do, there's repercussions.

However, CEO of Hockey New Zealand Ian Francis seems to be unaware of any issues when asked by 1 NEWS.

"Sorry I'm not sure what you're talking about there, we were notified yesterday that there was some concerns from the players' association," Mr Francis said.

The players' association says Mr Francis must be aware as they meet monthly.

"We have had discussions on an ongoing basis of things happening in the environment," said Glen Sulzberger.

At least 13 people have left the organsation in the last two years, with a farmer staffer saying they had a lack of confidence in its direction.

The revelations come as Black Sticks women's coach Mark Hager has apologised to members of his New Zealand women's hockey team after inadvertently emailing them criticism of their attitude.

Hager, who has coached the Black Sticks for a decade, admitted sending an email to his players which was intended for team management during the women's World Cup in London last month.

The 54-year-old singled out several "struggling" players.

He expressed frustration at several players' work ethic and training habits.

Hager hasn't returned calls from 1 NEWS.

Hockey NZ is in the process of signing off on a person to conduct its independent review and Mr Francis will meet with the players' association on Monday to get to the bottom of the Black Sticks' problems.

Pressure is mounting on Hockey NZ in the wake of increasing claims of toxic team culture in the Black Sticks Women. Source: 1 NEWS


Former UFC champion Jon Jones to return to the octagon after 15-month doping suspension

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones should be eligible to fight by late October after completing a 15-month suspension for a doping violation.

The US Anti-Doping Agency today announced the length of Jones' ban for his second violation of the UFC's anti-doping policy.

The decision means the 31-year-old Jones could even fight at UFC 230 in New York on November 3, if the UFC decides to book his comeback bout on that card.

Jones is widely considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world, but he has repeatedly sabotaged his own career.

He reclaimed the light heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier last year, but the victory was taken away when he tested positive for a steroid metabolite.

Jones also failed an out-of-competition test in 2016.

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  (L-R) Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Center on July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California. Source: Getty



North and South Korea confirm joint bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement today that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

At a major summit, the two leaders gave no details of which cities might host certain events at the games, or how advanced the plans were.

The International Olympic Committee traditionally does not announce host cities until seven years ahead of the games. That would give the Koreas until 2025 to put together a joint bid.

Germany has already announced plans for a multi-city bid for 2032, as has Brisbane, Australia. The India Olympic Committee has also indicated its interest in hosting the 2032 Games.

A successful bid by the Koreas would mark the second time South Korea hosted or co-hosted the Summer Games, the first being 1988 in Seoul. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

Asia also features in the next two Olympics — the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, which also hosted the summer version in 2008.

The joint statement today also said the Koreas would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, also without elaborating.

South Korean President Moon Jae In (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a pine tree planting ceremony in the border village of Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool) (Kyodo)
(Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In took part in an historic meeting in April. Source: Getty


Eden Park's new Our Wāhine mural showcases iconic female athletes to celebrate women’s suffrage anniversary

Auckland sports stadium Eden Park has unveiled a new mural dedicated to iconic New Zealand sportswomen as part of celebrations of the 125th anniversary since Kiwi women gained the right to vote.

The mural, which spans multiple areas of the stadium, includes Yvette Williams (track and field), Suzie Bates (cricket), Farah Palmer, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (rugby), Ruia Morrison (tennis), Dame Valerie Adams (shot put) and Lisa Carrington (kayaking).

Eden Park commissioned Kiwi artist Kate Hursthouse for the artwork.

Hursthouse says 'Our Wāhine' was a special piece for her.

"It's great to have such an iconic venue in my local neighbourhood celebrate New Zealand sportswomen, acknowledge Suffrage 125 and additionally make these seven women a permanent feature of the stadium," she said.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said inspiration for the mural came from last month's Black Ferns Test match against the Wallaroos.

"My great grandmother signed the scroll to get women the vote," he said.

"It's important to celebrate the women who are pushing limits and breaking boundaries in both the professional and sporting worlds. Most of those featured have long affiliations with our stadium."

Dame Valerie Adams and Yvette Williams feature among the seven chosen for the piece. Source: 1 NEWS