Spectacular hockey news, which sooner or later will inspire die-hard field hockey fans and beyond, will be reported from the international hockey sport world: On 19 January, 2019, the high-calibre FIH Pro League, created by the FIH (International Hockey Federation), was launched with 17 exceptional world-class teams.
One of the key ideas behind the competition, which is to be held on an annual basis, is to further increase the popularity of hockey around the world. To achieve this, fans are more likely to have opportunities to watch world-class hockey live in their home stadium or on TV. To this end, 25 of the best hockey stadiums in the world across 10 different countries were selected as host sites by the FIH. In Germany, hockey fans can look forward to attending high-profile matches in the Mönchengladbach SparkassenPark and Crefelder HTC in Krefeld . At both facilities, as well as at the Wujin Hockey Stadium in Changzhou, China, Polytan’s newly installed Poligras Tokyo GT synthetic turf system ensures optimal playability.
In a complex selection process, in which not only the sporting achievements of the national teams were assessed by the FIH, but also their marketing, TV and event concepts, a total of 18 national hockey teams qualified for the new hockey league. After both India and Pakistan had to waive participation of their men’s team, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Spain will now play for the title in the men’s hockey tournament. Playing for the women’s title, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands, China and the USA are among the selected teams.
After that, the league has truly taken off. By June, eight men’s and nine women’s teams will meet each other every week for a total of 128 games around the world, with each team taking it in turn to enjoy a home advantage. The order in which the hockey matches are played follows the course of the sun. First, the countries in the southern hemisphere welcome those from the northern hemisphere. Next, the teams from the south play against each other. In the second half of the season, it’s the other way around. The south will be guests in the north, before the teams from the northern hemisphere meet each other. Overall, every women’s team will play eight home and eight away games, while the men’s teams play seven each. The scoring system ensures great suspense. Each and every hockey game is important, so the teams can’t afford to put the brakes on for even a single match. In a big showdown, the remaining four teams compete in eight further hockey games for the final title of Pro League Champions, which also comes with a cash prize. Participation in the final is also a ticket for the qualification tournament of the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.
After the first away games have been held in the southern hemisphere in February and March, the German ‘Danas’ – the German women’s national hockey team – will play their first of the second round’s home games on 24 April 2019 against Great Britain’s women’s team. The exciting game will be played in Mönchengladbach SparkassenPark, which is already equipped with Polytan’s latest-generation hockey turf. The first opponent to meet the home crowd of the ‘Honamas’ – the German men’s team – is the Netherlands, an encounter which is set to be another promising match of international hockey at its finest, hosted by Mönchengladbach SparkassenPark on 26 April! You can find all the matches being played by the German women’s national team here, and the men’s national team here.
Both Poligras Tokyo GT and the well-established Poligras Platinum CoolPlus have been selected by the International Hockey Federation, the FIH, for use at the Olympic Games: Poligras Platinum CoolPlus was the official turf for the Olympic hockey tournament in Rio 2016, while Poligras Tokyo GT has been selected for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. In addition, the 2018 and 2022 World Championships were also held on this hockey turf.
The new Poligras Tokyo GT artificial grass is not only a fast surface that promises exciting hockey games with precise moves but, as the latest generation of hockey turf, it boasts an improved environmental footprint. The abbreviation ‘GT’ stands for green technology. This is thanks to the use of the bio-based I’m greenTM plastic from bioplastics world market leader Braskem. The polyethylene (PE) filaments consist of 60 percent renewable raw materials, making them particularly sustainable. Furthermore, the playing characteristics of the hockey turf benefit from this new mode of production. Ball run length has improved by up to 25 percent. An equally positive environmental footprint is evident in the featured PolyBase GT elastic layer. The permanently elastic compound of the granulates uses a binder produced by manufacturer Covestro, which scores points by reducing CO2 emissions during the production process.
The men’s final showdown will take place on 30 June 2019 in Antwerp, while the women’s hockey final will be held the day before in Amsterdam. Meaning the hockey-loving nation of the Netherlands was selected as the first host country for the finals. Did you know? The Dutch are the reigning women’s hockey world champions, who claimed an outstanding victory over Ireland on 5 August 2018 at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre in London on a Poligras Platinum CoolPlus hockey pitch by Polytan!