2018 is arguably the biggest year in hockey for a while and while you sit on the edge of your seating eagerly anticipating what the hockey world will offer, its time to make sure you plan your international holidays around these epic events for 2018! Here are Five Hockey events that we think will excite in 2018.
Premier Indoor Hockey
We start with something a little below the radar, but its something that excites me immensely. Having grown up playing indoor hockey in Eastern Gauteng it was devastating news to hear that the province had lost their home after an “Administration Error” by the local metropolitan. After three years Indoor Hockey is back in Eastern Gauteng and the PIH will be the exciting welcome back that it deserves. Five teams featuring five captains who are legends in the province with players then chosen by a draft process. I will be taking part, 10 years after I last played indoor hockey and can’t wait to get back on the court! We will keep you posted here regularly!
South African Premier Hockey League
So for me, year two was not quite the game raiser we had anticipated, however having the amount of hockey broadcast live on tv, to rewatch again and again, has raised the profile of the players in the country. There are murmurs that the PHL will happen around May / June this year which could allow a host of our internationally based players to take part and that will surely strengthen the tournament. In a big hockey year, the PHL is hopefully not prepared to fade into the background, but rather to the forefront.
The Commonwealth Games
As far as Multi-sport events go, this one is a real medal opportunity for South Africa. The other thing is that the Commonwealth Games is financed by SASCOC, and based on recent media reports we know they have a lot of money so our players may not have to pay their own way! The Squads have already been submitted to SASCOC and the 16 man squads (featuring only one goalkeeper) is due to be announced on the 25 January. Of course, it will be interesting to see who the Men’s coach is, but Sheldon Rostron will be keen to show their good performance at the FIH World League Semi-Final was not just a flash in the pan.
FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
It is not far away now and watching the EuroHockey Indoor Championships this past weekend has just raised the excitement. The thrilling final between Belgium and Austria (Two teams that South Africa will meet at the World Cup) just showed the excitement that indoor hockey brings. There will also be the historic appearance of Namibia in the Women’s World Cup while Trinidad and Tobago make their debut too. South Africa will move into the top 10 in the world rankings after the World Cup, but there is a chance for them to move as high as 6th with a great performance. I am more excited about the Indoor Hockey World Cup than the night before Christmas when I was six years old.
FIH Hockey World Cup
So, unfortunately, the Mens and Womens Hockey World Cup’s will take place at different times. South Africa have qualified for both, with the Men securing their qualification by winning the African Cup in Egypt. Will South Africa be able to call on the stars of 2012 for one last time, will it be the youngsters like Dayaan Cassiem and Tyson Dlungwana going. The Men’s side leave a lot of questions that need answering, while the Women’s side is more settled and sees Sheldon Rostron having to make some difficult decisions in cutting one or two players out. Both sides will be looking to sneak into the Top 8 and assist their world rankings in the process.
Of course if you are an avid follower of the world of hockey, then you need to listen to the weekly global hockey podcast and our friends from down under, The Reverse Stick, and in particular, this one highlighting whats ahead in 2018!
Remember that Sports 24 Seven will be covering all of these events in one way or another, so check back in, often!