Leandro Negre & Neil Mallett
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)
Grays and the FIH are delighted to announce an exclusive agreement with the FIH to become their official equipment and clothing supplier.
Grays Sales & Marketing Director, Richard Gray, said: “Everyone at Grays is delighted and proud to have secured this contract with the FIH as the world governing body. Grays is the world’s leading hockey brand with an un-rivalled distribution network around the globe and as such is perfectly placed to support the exciting future programme of FIH events around the world. We have worked hard to develop a teamwear collection that is particularly suited to the sport of hockey. This is supported by our experienced back-up staff, who are also responsible for the delivery of the extensive Gilbert rugby and netball and Grays-Nicolls cricket teamwear programmes”.
FIH President Leandro Negre said: “We are pleased to welcome Grays to the FIH family. I am confident that they will provide FIH events with a professional look and feel and will continue with their tradition of maintaining the highest standards.”Grays Hockey Heritage
Grays was established in 1855 by the world racquets champion H J Gray and from the beginnings of the game of hockey in 1870’s, Grays were producing ash hockey sticks in Cambridge, England. By 1914, Grays were exporting a range of hockey equipment around the world and were making customised sticks for leading players. The acquisition of leading hockey brand Hazells in 1941 established Grays as leaders in the hockey equipment field. The company invested in a new hockey manufacturing plant at their Cambridge factory and it was here that the foundations for Grays unique hockey reputation were laid. The rapidly growing popularity of Mulberry heads led to the establishment of Grays Pakistan in 1965.
It was here that the world renowned Grays Karachi King stick with its instantly recognisable orange flash was first established – used by Pakistan’s gold medal winning side at the Mexico 1968 Olympics and the first ever Hockey World Cup in 1971. With the introduction of composite materials to hockey in the 1990s, Grays were one of the first brands to launch a composite stick and after years of testing and refining, Grays joined forces with the world’s leading experts in composite stick technology to produce the first range of composites that had the same unique quality, playability and feel as players had come to expect from a Grays stick. Grays pioneered new technology that allowed the introduction of the Low Backhand Zone for the new style of back-hand hitting, and Grays footwear and clothing were launched for the first time, specifically designed for hockey.
Grays became the world’s leading hockey brand in the new millennium with over 40% of all the players at the Athens, Sydney and Beijing Olympics using Grays sticks. Working in conjunction with leading universities, players and coaches, Grays introduced new concepts such as bowed sticks, lighter and more powerful Turbos and expanded into team kits incorporating the very latest in technical fabrics as well as lightweight shoes. A rapidly growing number of leading clubs, schools and national bodies are now choosing Grays teamwear.
Now with the London Olympic Games on the horizon, Grays look forward to further continued success with many of the world’s leading players choosing to use Grays. Argentineans Matias Paredes, Silvina D’Elia and Daniela Sruoga, Spain’s Pol Amat and Santi Freixa, Holland’s Robert Van der Horst and penalty corner ace Maartje Paumen, Germany’s legendary women’s star Natascha Keller and Linus Butt, Australian Eddie Ockenden and Great Britain penalty corner experts Ashley Jackson and Crista Cullen are just a few of the world level players who choose to use Grays. The Hockey Associations of Korea and China - two of the countries that have already sealed qualification for the London 2012 Olympics – both choose Grays exclusively.
Upon the announcement of the new partnership between Grays and FIH, legendary German striker Natascha Keller commented: “I've been with Grays since 2003, and they have always satisfied all my wishes. Grays have given me the opportunity to take part in the development process of my new sticks, and I really appreciate that I was able to add my feeling of hockey into my current stick. I'm pleased to hear that Grays will also bring forward the sport of hockey in their position as an FIH partner."
FIH Umpiring Manager Richard Wilson summed up the feedback that he has received from officials wearing the new garments at the Argentina FIH Champions Trophy in Rosario. “The initial reaction here from the tournament officials, umpires and FIH staff is that they are pleased with the quality of the clothing Grays has developed for us, particularly considering the intensity of the extreme heat we have experienced on some days in this competition,” said Wilson. “Our tournament officials have also been complimentary about the shirt design and colours, with the umpiring shirts standing out well and distinctively against the crowd background.”
Grays Hockey Marketing Manager Neil Mallett said, “Being a family company, Grays will look to build the relationship within the hockey family during the next few years to make sure that the equipment requirements of the FIH are looked after and the partnership strengthens as we move forward.”