Mark Hager is “excited” at the challenge ahead after being named as the new head coach of the Great Britain and England women’s hockey teams.
Hager had previously been in charge of New Zealand, leading them to Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 but after almost ten years in the role has been lured away from the Blacksticks to take over the post vacated by Danny Kerry in August.
“To be given the responsibility to lead a squad that has been very successful on the world stage is something I do not take lightly. The role as Head Coach is a terrific opportunity and I can’t thank Great Britain and England Hockey enough for entrusting me to lead their programme moving forward.”
As a player, Hager captained Australia to bronze at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, 10 years after winning the World Cup, whilst his coaching career includes spells as assistant coach for both Australia’s men’s and women’s teams, winning Olympic bronze at Beijing 2008 with the men and Champions Trophy gold in 2003 with the women. Hager also presided over New Zealand’s best ever Olympic placings – 4th in 2012 and 2016.
“I look forward to the challenge of building on the foundations of the programme and I believe that my international coaching experiences with Australia and New Zealand over the past 18 years will help me lead the squad into this new exciting phase. There is a wealth of talent in the squad, which I have enjoyed coaching against over a number of years and I look forward to now being a part of a world class team of players and staff.” he added.
GB and England Hockey Performance Director Ed Barney described Hager as “the outstanding candidate” and a “world class coach” adding: “This is a key appointment for us, which is why we have dedicated a large amount of time to the recruitment process. We have involved a number of people throughout the hockey world and were left with no doubt about Mark’s personal attributes, the quality of his work and that he was the ideal Head Coach for our programme.”
The newly-appointed coach is scheduled to join up with his squad for the first time when they play their opening FIH Pro League games in February, away to New Zealand, Australia and then China.