Teams from Malaysia, India and New Zealand will compete for the first time in the 2016 Australian Hockey League (AHL) which will take place from September 29–October 9 at the Perth Hockey Stadium.
Along with teams from each State and Territory, the Malaysians will be represented by the men’s senior team (Malaysian Tigers), men’s development team (Malaysian Blues) and the women’s seniors (Malaysian Tigress).
The Indian National Juniors and New Zealand Futures (men and women) make up the numbers in the two-week long AHL.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Chief Executive Officer, Logan Raj, said: “We are extremely pleased to receive the offer to play in what we perceive to be one of the world's most competitive leagues. This remains a milestone for Malaysian Hockey.
“We believe this will strengthen our already close relationship. We thank Hockey Australia for extending this offer and will aspire to do our best in the tournament.”
Players from the national teams, the Hockeyroos and the Kookaburras including Kathryn Slattery, Aran Zalewski, Fergus Kavanagh, Tyler Lovell and Edwina Bone are set to take part in the league for their home states.
Hockey Australia Chief Executive, Cam Vale said: “Hockey Australia is excited to be able to extend the opportunity to take part in our national league to India, Malaysia and New Zealand.
“It will add great depth to the tournament, which will be the first time the men’s and women’s competition has been held at the same time, and will give our State and Territory teams a fantastic opportunity to experience international competition.
“This will also be the first time both the boys and girls Under 13 competition will be hosted in conjunction with the men’s and women’s league, which is an exciting opportunity for young hockey players to play the sport they love alongside their hockey heroes. It is a credit to our State and Territory hockey associations for leading and supporting this sort of initiative.”
The other invitational countries all expressed their delight at being included in the tournament to not only strengthen ties in the international hockey community, but to give teams the chance to compete on an international stage.
Terry Evans, High Performance Director of Hockey New Zealand commented:“Competing in Australia’s premier domestic hockey competition alongside teams from India and Malaysia not only provides unique opportunity for developing athletes and coaches against quality opponents, but also signals the start of a strategic relationship involving all four countries that grows the exposure of the sport, and improves the opportunities for each countries national teams.”
Indian Junior Men Hockey Team Coach, Harendra Singh, said: “We are extremely pleased to be one of the international teams to be invited for the first time by Hockey Australia for the Australian Hockey League.
“The tournament will present a good set of diverse talent from different teams. It will be very beneficial for our team to face this challenge building up towards the Junior World Cup which will take place in a few months to follow.”
The men’s and women’s competition will be hosted at the same venue for the first time in league history when the competition takes place in Perth later this year.
Peter Churack, Hockey WA’s CEO, said: “This year’s AHL in Perth will undoubtedly go down in history as the biggest and best event in the tournament’s history.
“A fantastic family-friendly event, this year’s AHL will give Hockey WA the perfect opportunity to grow the game of hockey throughout the State and showcase our fantastic athletes, outstanding facilities and progressive programs on the international stage.
“Thanks to the Department of Sport and Recreation and Curtin University for their support which will ensure that this event will be a success and I look forward to welcoming everyone to Perth as we look to establish who will be the best in the west.”
The participating teams are as follows:
Men’s Teams - Northern Territory (NT), Southern Australia (SA), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Malaysian Tigers, Malaysian Blues, India Junior, and New Zealand Futures.
Women’s Teams – Northern Territory, Southern Australia, Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Malaysian Tigress, New Zealand Futures.