Hockey NZ has announced three new coaches to take the turf in 2020 alongside a highly experienced athlete pathway manager.
This combination of pathway manager and three new hands-on coaches is being called the Performance Network.
It is set up with Associations to prepare aspiring hockey players, coaches and umpires with opportunities that challenge and support the coaches, umpires and players who participate. It will help prepare them for success, whether they stay in sport or if they choose to apply themselves elsewhere.
The Network connects community and high performance and is targeted for aspiring players, coaches and umpires who have the motivation, drive and ability to compete on the World Stage.
The new coaches are Bryce Collins, Aaron Ford, Mark Borgers and Colin Stewart.
Bryce Collins, who has started as athlete pathway manager, is excited at the prospect of beginning contact with the next group of players outside the Vantage Black Sticks squads.
Bryce Collins believes the coaching team is a great one. He himself steps away from his previous role as Assistant coach to the Black Stick Men, a role he has held for the past 7 years that included the Rio Olympics, two World Cups, two Commonwealth Games and the inaugural FIH Pro League.
Prior to this Bryce supported the Black Stick Women including being a member of staff that won the silver medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games. He has lead the NZ U21 Men’s programme over the past five years and held various high performance and community roles at North Harbour Hockey.
Speaking on the appointment, Bryce said : “ It is exciting to have full time, highly experienced coaches alongside us to help make a big step to be world-leading. Our difference is we are a country that can share and connect well. While we will be giving opportunities that prepare our players to be ready to perform, it is so important we create broader opportunities for people to excel, deliver enjoyable hockey and grow and encourage lifelong involvement in sport.”
Aaron Ford is the southernmost coach to join the performance coaching team. Having spent the last 8 years as a director of OPX Building Contractors, expertly building architecturally designed homes has supplemented his passion for coaching and been a challenging and enjoyable experience.
The professional outcomes in the building industry have some great synergies with sport. We need to do the best for people, we listen and understand their needs and keep them updated every step of the way.
Being based in Canterbury his coaching has included Head Coach for the successful Canterbury Cats and Canterbury U21 campaigns. Aaron has been able to develop his coaching skills in a variety of environments. After being involved with the NZ Junior programme over the last few years, he is looking forward to our new development systems being implemented and seeing that talent transition from potential players into world-class athletes.
Speaking on his appointment, Aaron said; “I am really looking forward now to making a difference to the development of individuals and sharing the leanings from our Black Sticks with the country.”
Secondly, Mark Borgers brings a strong knowledge of the Dutch Hockey systems, coaching and coach education and the ability to drive an individually focussed development programme are standouts in an extensive hockey career that includes both outdoor and indoor experience with the Dutch Federation, Kampong Hockey Club and recently Midlands Hockey.
Borgers talked about his motivation behind the network; “As an athlete in high-performance teams I have always been provided with ‘the best’ available coaches. Looking back I would define them as result driven and ambitious. Coaches who applied a proven practice and generic team approach in team cultures defined by strong hierarchies. What triggered me deeply, is that till the day I quit playing hockey I never felt complete confidence, trust or acknowledgement”.
Known as ‘Bacchus’ in the hockey world, Colin Stewart’s background has been in the Australian Institute of Sport Hockey Programme and qualified Art and PE teacher. ‘Bacchus’ has coached in five countries around the world, and three at international level.
The latest chapter has been with the Irish Women’s World Cup Silver medallists as Assistant Coach and Technical Coach. ‘Bacchus’ has previously coached with the New Zealand Black Sticks Women’s team who were ranked third in the world at the time. At European level, he has coached with Pembroke and Surbiton men’s to reach the EHL last 16.
Speaking about the role ‘Bacchus’ said “ I’m very excited to be involved with such a positive and professional new network programme with New Zealand Hockey. It displays a real intent to progress both coaching and player development.”


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