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Mark Hager quits as Black Sticks women's coach to join England

Black Sticks women's coach Mark Hager has resigned from his role with the New Zealand side, taking up a role as head coach of the Great Britain and England's women's teams.

After 1 NEWS last year revealed that Hager caused a rift within his side by accidentally emailing criticism to members of his own squad, it was speculated that the long serving coach was to be sacked from his role, however Hockey New Zealand denied any reports.

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    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

    Instead it appears that the Commonwealth Games gold medal winner will leave of on his own terms.

    In a statement released today, Hockey New Zealand confirmed the news, thanking Hager for his serivces.

    "When Mark took the reins in 2009 we were well and truly outside the world's top 10 countries," Hockey NZ Chief Executive Ian Francis said.

    "Since then he has taken this team to two Olympic fourths, two World League finals, a Champions Trophy bronze, and a medal of every colour at the Commonwealth Games. We have been ranked as high as third in the world and have never been outside the top six.

    "These are by far the best results in the history of our women's game."

    Captain Stacey Michelsen followed suit, wishing Hager all the best.

    "Mark has been an integral part of allowing this team to grow to our highest ranking of third in the world. Personally he has provided me with the environment and the guidance to develop into the player I am today, and I am very grateful for that", says Michelsen.

    "I am very sad to see Mark go but I do understand his decision and wish him all the best in his new role."

    Hager's departure sees current assistant Sean Dancer take on the role of acting head coach, with the Black Sticks women preparing for the FIH Pro League, beginning later this month.

    The 54-year old coach had been in charge of the Black Sticks women since 2008.

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      It follows claims made against Black Sticks coach Mark Hager. Source: 1 NEWS


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