Junior Black Sticks programme to make return

We are delighted to announce that our Junior Black Sticks (JBS) programme is kicking back off after an enforced hiatus due to Covid and the lack of international opportunities as a result.

Part of this is, of course, having coaches in place for the men and women’s programmes. After an extensive recruitment process we have appointed Aaron Ford as the head coach of the JBS Men and Mitch Hayde as head coach of the JBS Women.

Both Aaron and Mitch are familiar faces in the high-performance network with Aaron looking after our South Island players on the performance pathway and Mitch coaching on the performance pathway in Auckland. Both are well rehearsed in age group international competition and will look to utilise those experiences as we shape a robust programme for this critical age group.

The next course of action is the selection of players for the JBS and this will happen after a “super-camp” in October. Players will be invited to the camp based on performances from the North vs South series, National U18s, and the upcoming Ford NHC.

From the camp, teams will then be selected to face Australia in the Junior World Cup qualifier later in the year, and ultimately the Junior World Cup at the end of 2023.

The camp will also be an opportunity to involve coaches and staff before completing the remainder of the assistant coaching and management role appointments within the programmes.

We’re really excited about the reintroduction of our JBS programme as we look to build depth as part of a wider plan to create sustained success on the world-stage.

Aaron Ford

Aaron is a passionate, analytical, hardworking and successful coach hailing from the Canterbury region. He has notched up U21 and NHL titles while also naturing athletes for higher honours. Having been connected with Hockey NZ’s age group development programmes for many years Aaron made the leap into full time coaching in 2020 as a Performance Coach for the South Island. Over the past three years Aaron has further honed his coaching capability and is well positioned to lead the JBS Men through to the next Junior World Cup late 2023.

 Mitch Hayde

Mitch’s appointment comes with a wealth of experience having successfully coached Canterbury and North Harbour U21 teams to glory. He has lead NZ U18 development programmes, worked as a JBS Assistant Coach and is currently the lead coach of the Auckland Men’s Performance Network. Mitch is ready and eager to take up the challenge, to lead the  JBS women’s into the next Junior World Cup. A deep thinker of the game, well planned, caring and with excellent communication skills, our talented young women are in great hands!

Posted on Monday, 1 August, 2022 | Feature