Last week at the conclusion of the Premier Hockey League the South African Hockey Association announced the SA Hockey Awards (for 2016, the 2017 awards will only be announced at PHL 2018). There was a glaring absence from the awards and that was any recognition for the Indoor format of the game. I have subsequently confirmed with SA Hockey that there are no SA Indoor Hockey Awards at all and so thought I’d take the opportunity to do my own and will continue to do so annually going forward. Maybe with a small sponsor, we can even get little trophies or mementos for the players? As a man who has watched more indoor hockey over this year* than most, I feel like I will have a fairly good basis for my selections.
Coach of the Year – Brinsley Powell – Western Province
The National coaches were excluded from consideration from this for obvious reasons (although should SA finish in the top 8 at the World Cup Pierre may have it wrapped up!). Brinsley Powell led a young and inexperienced Western Province side to the bronze medal at the IPT but followed it up with a silver in the PSi Nationals. I really like the way he interacts with his girls and the way they play their hearts out for him. I think he has a great future and would love to see a South African U21 team given to him for a series or two to help his development.
Runner-up – Shaun Hulley
Umpire of the Year – Lyndal “Binks” Robertson
I only met Lyndal earlier this year in Namibia but was incredibly impressed with her game management in Swakopmund. I then had the opportunity to see her in action at the Indoor IPT and she raised the game again. She has a very good ability to control a game without becoming the main attraction and that form has seen her selected for the Croatia Cup in January where she will add to her impressive list of caps already.
Runner-up – Peter Caulder
Province of the Year – KZN Raiders
It hard to look anywhere other than the SPAR KZN Raiders who were dominant and dismissive in almost belligerent fashion. They make up the bulk of the national squads too and will look back at 2017 as a year where they reaffirmed their status as the home of SA Indoor Hockey at a senior level. The Men and Ladies successfully defended their titles again and in the current climate look a great beat to repeat the feat in 2018.
Runner-up – Southern Gauteng
PSi Franchise of the Year – Cape Town Region (Seals / Sharks)
The Cape Seals remarkably picked up a medal in every A Section tournament at the PSi Nationals in December now picking up 1 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze. While there may be a slight disappointment that they fell short in that many finals, it will rather be a fantastic positive for Western Province Hockey to see the development of their youngsters and a clear pointer to show they are still the home of indoor hockey at youth levels in South Africa. The Sharks, the second franchise to the Seals, were also the B Section champions after the own haul of medals showing further what incredible depth the region has.
Runner-up – Namibian Region (Hawks / Eagles)
PSi Team of the Year – Sables U12 Boys
There is something special about this group of boys. The hockey they played in the junior nationals was nothing short of superb and even had Pierre le Roux, the SA Mens coach, expressing how impressed he was with them. They also did not have one stand out player, further pointing out the powerful team dynamic that exists there. The same group of players played in the Boys U13 B Section where they sealed the gold medal with a 6-0 win. I really hope this team is able to stay together as they will be one of the great team in PSi history if they do!
Runner-up – Barracudas U18 Boys
Women’s U23 Player of the Year – Tegan Fourie – KZN Raiders
I had heard about Tegan Fourie when she went to the Junior World Cup last year with South Africa, but in that team, it was largely about Tarryn Glasby and Kristen Paton and so Fourie went under the radar somewhat. It was at the Indoor IPT that my mind was made up. Tegan Fourie is a class hockey player and is destined to do some great things. As good as she is at outdoor hockey, she is better at indoor. In a team of National stars, Tegan stood out as one of the SPAR KZN Raiders best players. It earned her a call-up to the SPAR South Africa National team for the series against Zimbabwe where she netted a hat-trick on debut! And at the age of 19 could win this award a few more times!
Runner-up – Cheree Greyvenstein
Men’s U23 Player of the Year – Ryan Julius – Western Province
The exciting youngster is constantly impressing and raising his game. His link-up play with Wade Paton in Namibia was incredible at times and almost bordered on the unbelievable. It is also fantastic to see the number of kids coming to watch the national team play wearing Ryan Julius 19 shirts. He is another one of the new breed playing both indoor and outdoor hockey for the National team and could feature in two World Cups and a Commonwealth Games if it all goes according to plan, but its in Germany where I think the crowds will be wowed by the ability of the youngster.
Runner-up – Rusten Abrahams
Women’s Player of the Year – Cindy Hack – KZN Raiders
As far as an indoor hockey player goes, there are few ladies on the African continent that can keep up with an in-flight Cindy Hack. The National captain became the first South African to reach 50 Indoor Caps this year and has put aside the disappointment of the African Qualifiers and turned in performance after performance of the highest quality. She is also constantly proving to be a fantastic mentor for the new caps in the squad and can lead the line for quite a few more years! We are incredibly happy that Cindy is, in fact, a South African and that she keeps playing for a long time (Despite the chirps from this website in the past!)
Runner-up – Nicole La Fleur
Men’s Player of the Year – Jethro Eustice – KZN Raiders
We previously shared an article on the website entitled Jethro Eustice – The first name on the team sheet, but in truth, that article could have been published for indoor hockey 2/3 years ago. JET, as he is well known, has been a leading light on the indoor courts since the last World Cup (Which he did not play in) winning the last two IPT player of the tournament and finishing runner-up as the tournaments top goalscorer. It’s his maturity in tough situations that makes him stand out from the crowd and his defensive side of his game in the African Cup Final was sublime. A deserving player of the Year for us.
Runner-up – Justin Domleo
*In 2017 Tyron attended two PSi Nationals, watching more than 150 kids games and 7 International games, he also attended the IPT in October and the African Qualifiers in June. He will also be heading to Croatia in January and Germany in February to continue telling the indoor hockey story.