On Saturday the innovative draft took place for the inaugural Premier Hockey League. The PHL, which gathers the best of the locally based hockey players in our country, is part of the progress being made by hockey being announced as the Sport and Recreation department of the year. The extra budget has allowed massive opportunity for SAHA to put together the eagerly anticipated series. Ahead of this years first tournament here is the all important information that you need.
The tournament features six mens sides and six women’s sides. The PHL will run over four weekends from 3 September – 25 September and all matches will take place at the Randburg Astro. Each team will play each other once in the league stage. This means each team will play 5 games. The teams who finish 5th and 6th respectively in the log, at the end of the league stage, will play-off to determine who finishes 5th and 6th. The top four teams in the log will progress to the semi-finals. The losing semi-finalists will play-off for 3rd and 4th respectively and the winning semi-finalists will progress to the finals of the men’s and women’s competitions.
The Marquee Players
The marquee players include a host of players who have represented the South African senior men’s and women’s national team at international level. London 2012 Olympians Clinton Panther, Rassie Pieterse, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Shelley Russell, Julian Hykes, Tim Drummond, Illse Davids, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Bernadette Coston and Sulette Damons all feature along with some of the hottest players in SA Hockey including Keenan Horne and Kelly Madsen. Each team, except the two U21 sides, was allocated four marquee players before selecting a further 14 from the draft.
The team identities have been inspired by famous tourist areas in South Africa and are representative of all nine Provinces. The Namaqualand Daisies and the Golden Gate Gladiators were formed as the South African U21 sides for the ladies and men respectively. All other teams feature 4 marquee players alongside 14 of the best players in the country.
Fun Fact: Grant Glutz (Drakensberg Dragons) was the first player to ever be drafted in PHL History!
The coaches are a collection of some of the finest coaches in the land and include Robin van Ginkel who has worked with National teams as well as the Delhi Waveriders in the IPL, Lindsey Wright the legendary South African, Pietie Coetzee-Turner who is the arguably the first name that comes to mind when you think of SA Hockey. Langa legend Lungi Tsolekile, who recently featured for the International All Stars in indoor hockey, will team up with Steve Evans while Sihle Ntuli and Lenise Marais will undoubtedly add to the excitement. There are some great combinations in there and we believe it will take the hockey to another level!
What some of the PHL Ambassadors thought after the draft on Saturday
I am very excited for this opportunity and am extremely grateful that the Department of Sport and Recreation have chosen hockey as their focus sport for the year. I think it is incredibly important that we have a great first tournament and we can see it grow from there. In terms of the Orange River Rafters, I think we have a great side. Pietie and Tsoanelo are two legends of the game and they will inspire the younger players in our side immensely. Bronwyn Kretzman and Kirsty Adams are two of our players I think you should keep an eye on.
I am extremely excited for the Premier Hockey League. Getting us to play more competitive hockey can only be good for South Africa. I am also really stoked for the Maropeng Cavemen side as we managed to get a good mix of experienced players including Ricky West and Lance Louw but some great young talented players too! I cant wait to get on the field with the likes of Hendy Seerane, Callan Hansen, Michael Abrahams and Xola Maqula amongst others. I really believe that Mark and Nhlanhla have put together a squad that can compete and we aim to do this! We will definitely be looking to get one over Tim Drummond and his boys the Dragons!
Make sure you stay up to date with all things PHL on their various social media channels and on their website. Sports 24 Seven will be sharing updated scores, results and as much as we can throughout the duration of the tournament so check in regularly for your bit of the hockey fun. #HockeyMustRise