Hockey NZ banking on Comm Games medals
Next month's Commonwealth Games could be make or break for Hockey New Zealand. With millions of dollars being poured into the sport from the government, a mediocre performance could hit the organisation's pockets hard.
The two Black Sticks teams have met their funding key performance indicators at the World Cup in the Netherlands, but not excelled. They fell short of their main goal of winning a medal.
The women's side played off for fifth and sixth last night while the men play tonight for seventh and eighth.
Falling short of the medal games in Scotland could lead to High Performance Sport New Zealand reassessing the two teams' funding and if they really are medal prospects at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
HPSNZ boss Alex Baumann said it was too early to comment on the sides' World Cup performances, but a full and proper debrief would be done at the end of a big season.
He said the sides' funding was not solely based on their on-field performances, but that was obviously a key aspect. Performing well on the world stage has a roll-on effect for both teams.
The better they play, the better competitions they get into and the more other top countries want to play them. The more top level competition the New Zealand sides play, the better they will be. Medals will be a bare minimum in Glasgow.
The men's competition will be missing Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, the world's second, third and fifth ranked sides. That leaves the Kiwi men, ranked No 6, as the third ranked team.
The women, ranked No 5 in the world, are also third in the Commonwealth, though a quirk in the draw means they are the top ranked team in their pool while England (No 3) and Australia (No 4) are on the other side of the draw.
Adding to the four medals New Zealand has won at the Games in the past - a silver and a bronze for each team - will go a long way to ensuring the HPSNZ money keeps rolling in ahead of Rio and will also prove the sport is worthy of the $2.3 million it received this year.