The FIH Pro League is a ground-breaking new global hockey competition that is going to be kicking off in January 2019. The two leagues will each comprise of 9 of the best hockey nations as they battle out for glory and the Pro League Trophy.
There will be 144 matches played worldwide and at the conclusion of the round robin the top 4 teams will head to the Grand Final weekend which will be held the last weekend of June in The Netherlands.
The FIH Pro League replaces the Champions Trophy and World League Semi and Final. It will provide the participating countries fans with the opportunity to see 16 meaningful matches on home soil every year.
The FIH state that “The FIH Pro League will transform the landscape of international hockey because hockey fans the world over will be able to watch their favourite sport for an extended period on the same channel each year”.
Some of the benefits of the new event will mean that all the matches that the Vantage Black Sticks play now will be significant, fans will be able to get in behind 8 doubleheaders each year and it is going to provide consistent matches against the top teams in the world meaning that we will have the chance to build some great rivalries with the top countries in the world.
The Vantage Black Sticks will be competing in both leagues where they will play 8 home international double headers, 5 in Auckland at North Harbour Hockey Stadium and 3 in Christchurch at the Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub. The two venues will be set up to not only provide an avenue for great international hockey but will also be a festival atmosphere where there will be food and games designed for the whole family to get a taste of what the visiting nations have to offer.
Christchurch NZ General Manager Loren Heaphy says, “It's a fantastic opportunity to showcase Christchurch to hockey fans nationally and internationally”.
Stuart Turner Head of Major Events at Auckland Tourism states “We look forward to welcoming the international teams, supporters and tournament viewers and showing them everything that Auckland has to offer”.
New Zealand has named their National Squads for the 2019 season, these squads will form the pro league teams and features several experienced players who have been in the national set up for a long time. The Vantage Black Sticks Women’s most experienced players are Stacey Michelsen (261) and Sam Charlton (226) while the Vantage Black Sticks Men are led in experience by Shea McAleese (272) and Arun Panchia (253).
The Vantage Black Stick Women also have some exciting up and coming talent in their squad with the stand out name there being 17 year old Olivia Shannon who caps off a remarkable year with a place in the 2019 National Squad.
Vantage Black Sticks Women 2019 National Squad
Leah Butt, Sam Charlton, Tarryn Davey, Fances Davies, Steph Dickins, Madison Doar, Shiloh Gloyn, Ella Gunson, Megan Hull, Kate Ivory, Alia Jaques, Tessa Jopp, Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Grace O'Hanlon, Kirsten Pearce, Brooke Roberts, Deanna Ritchie, Sally Rutherford, Olivia Shannon, Kelsey Smith, Liz Thompson and Lulu Tuilotolava.
Vantage Black Sticks Men 2019 National Squad
George Enersen, Richard Joyce, Devon Manchester, Shea McAleese, Dane Lett, Blair Tarrant, Cory Bennett, Brad Read, David Brydon, Kane Russell, Arun Panchia, Nic Woods, Aidan Sarikaya, Marcus Child, Harry Miskimmin, Hayden Phillips, Mac Wilcox, Hugo Inglis, George Muir, Dominic Newman, Sam Lane, Stephen Jenness, Jared Panchia, Dylan Thomas and Nick Ross.
Argentina – Australia – Belgium – China – Germany – Great Britain – Netherlands – New Zealand – USA