From today the New Zealand Hockey Federation will be known as Hockey New Zealand. This is part of a new vision to become a major nationally recognised sport.
The vision is the driving force behind Hockey New Zealand’s newly completed Marketing and Strategic Plans. Highlights of the new drive were unveiled at a special launch in Wellington today, attended by hockey identities, officials, National players and coaches and the media.
The new name updates the national body’s title, positioning it more effectively as a current, forward thinking organisation.
Other changes introduced include a new name for the New Zealand Men’s Hockey team and a new Hockey Fern logo.
Hockey New Zealand CEO Ramesh Patel said: “Hockey has built a solid base on which to grow the game but must now compete more effectively in the business world of sport and entertainment.
“The cornerstone of our Strategic Plan is to turn hockey into a marketable spectator sport and to increase sponsorship and television coverage,” he said.
New Zealand hockey is on a high having reached an enviable position internationally with both teams finishing sixth at the Athens Olympics. The Women are currently ranked sixth in the World and the Men, eighth.
Hockey is a truly global sport and an Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport. 112 countries are registered with the International Hockey Federation.
There are 42,000 registered players in New Zealand. Just under 20,000 are junior players. There are 46 artificial playing surfaces nationwide.
Best Sticks Forward for newly named New Zealand Men’s Hockey Team
Hockey New Zealand has showcased the unique relationship between its national teams with the unveiling of the new name for the New Zealand men’s hockey team.
The team will now be known as the Black Sticks, sharing the highly successful brand with the national women’s team.
Hockey is distinctive in New Zealand in that its national men’s and women’s teams play at a similarly high level internationally, neither side overshadowing the other. Both teams finished sixth at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The teams periodically take to the international stage together, most notably at the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. As well as competing together, the sides often share practice turfs.
Hockey New Zealand CEO Ramesh Patel said: “Both our national teams are well recognised and respected at elite level internationally. The Black Sticks symbol will now represent the ultimate achievements of New Zealand’s best and will denote passion, pride and the will to win for our country every time.”
The two teams combined present a formidable and valuable marketing opportunity.
The teams will be known simply as the Black Sticks, but at times when it is necessary to differentiate they can be referred to as the Black Sticks Men’s Hockey Team and the Black Sticks Women’s Hockey Team.
Black Sticks Men’s Coach Kevin Towns said he was pleased a positive solution had been found to strengthen the identity of his team.
“I had been dreading the moment for some time when a name for the NZ Men’s team would be confirmed. Over time there have been many suggestions but they have all fallen short by a long way mainly because Black Sticks has become the name for our (New Zealand’s) international hockey players and it is difficult to move away from a well recognised and strong brand,” he said.
New Zealand midfielder Darren Smith - one of the team’s on-field leaders with over 180 games for New Zealand - backed Towns’ comments.
"With both the NZ Men and Women amongst the elite internationally I think it is fantastic that both teams will now adopt the name Black Sticks. Sure there will be some adjustment and scepticism at first but once this settles we will be left with a strong brand which girls and boys can aim for,” Smith said.
"I was happy to hear our national Men's team will now also be represented by the well known and respected Black Sticks name. Both the Men's and Women's Hockey teams have worked alongside and supported each other for many years - New Zealand Hockey can only be strengthened by the power of two,” former New Zealand Black Sticks Women’s Captain Anna Lawrence said.
Hockey New Zealand Logo
As part of the renaming, Hockey New Zealand also launched a new look, introducing a stylish new Hockey Fern logo.
The adaptation of the traditional Silver Fern, an iconic representation of Kiwis in competition, creates a uniquely “hockey” national symbol.
The upward sweep of the hockey stick handle doubles as a fern stem to portray speed, ascendance and hockey. The aggressive execution of the fern fronds gives forward momentum to the hockey stick.
The new fern will feature in the new Hockey New Zealand logo and has been incorporated into the new Black Sticks logo which will be worn by the National Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams.
The Black Sticks women’s team will debut the new brand identity on new uniforms during the five test series against the USA Women’s Hockey team starting later this week.
The series begins in Wellington Saturday, May 14. The Black Sticks then travel to Napier for two matches on Monday, 16 May, and Tuesday, 17 May. The fourth test will be played in Levin on Thursday, 19 May, before returning for the final test in Wellington on Saturday, 21 May.
The new Hockey Fern will also be worn by New Zealand age group teams.
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