Hockey New Zealand and the Hockey Players Association have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which sets out the terms and conditions governing player contracts and the high performance environment.
The MOU is effective through until July 2015 and builds on the initial MOU between the parties which was signed in September 2011. One development of the MOU is that both organisations have agreed to further develop services that assist players in their careers outside of hockey.
Other features of the MOU include defining and detailing the relocation and centralisation process leading into major world events.
“We want to create the optimal high performance environment for our national players so that they can succeed, and part of this is encouraging players to develop their own careers,” says Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole.
“While hockey remains a largely amateur sport but in the early stages of professionalism, the demands on elite hockey athletes continue to grow as we work hard to remain internationally competitive – this is particularly evident as our world rankings continue to improve,” says Poole.
Thirty-three national squad players currently study and receive Prime Ministers Scholarships that cover their tertiary fees and a number of the players also work full time.
“As a sport, especially at an international level, we are working to lock in a four year calendar which will go a long way to help athletes effectively manage their time between study, work and hockey,” says Poole.
The calendar includes Hockey New Zealand ensuring there is a clear window during the men’s Hockey India League, which would allow players to compete and earn money without risk of it conflicting with national commitments.
Hockey Players Association executive manager Phil Gaze said he has been very happy with the negotiation process and is looking forward to further developing the relationship with Hockey New Zealand over the term of the MOU and beyond.
“Signing this agreement is another significant step forward for the sport. It helps provide clarity for the players on what their obligations are, and also what the expectations are of them and Hockey New Zealand,” says Gaze.
“We are confident that this MOU will form the basis for an even stronger relationship between the players and Hockey New Zealand and will enable the parties to develop the best possible high performance environment,” says Gaze.
Black Sticks co-captain Kayla Sharland is on the HPA Board and can see the value an agreement like this offers players.
“I think this agreement is really important as it makes it clear exactly what is required and is a professional approach. Especially for young players coming into the side, it helps them to better understand the processes in the team, where to go for support, and what to expect,” says Sharland.
Hockey New Zealand