Malaysian hockey did relatively well on the field despite the battles off the field in the year under review.
Topping the feat must surely be the remarkable achievement of the national juniors who finished in fourth spot in the Junior World Cup, thus equaling the feat of the 1979 and 1982 squads.
Then there was the qualification to the 2014 World Cup by the senior squad, after a hiatus of 12 years. The women were not far behind as they won the bronze in the AHF Asia Cup in November, their first significant medal of any sort.
The emergence of young players, from the national juniors coached by K. Dharmaraj, augurs well for the future of Malaysian hockey. But at the same time how these players will be nurtured is of paramount importance.
National coach Paul Revington, who quit only to return a few days later prior to the World league Semis, made a fundamental mistake, that is over relying on players with past glories, thus has a limited pool of players.
The South African in reality has only 50 players to chose from and that is a fact that cannot be denied. But even within the 50 there is a vast difference in standards and experience. This can only be over come if Malaysia had a development squad akin to what is being practiced in Australia, Germany and Holland.
But on the domestic front, it has been shambles as the competitions were run haphazardly, development virtually non existent and states left to fend on their own.
Imagine the National Under 21 tournament being run during the Junior World Cup, thus depriving the nations best 18 players from featuring for their states.
Then there was the case of too many tournaments being lumped together, one after another as MHC could have created history as they ran 6 events within 60 days.
First it was the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup, followed by the National Under 16 Indoor, the National Under 14, the National Veterans and ending up with the National Under 21.
What was more appalling was the fact that the states were not paid the subsidies, from the RNA Cup until the Under 21, with only thr RM1,000 being paid for the National Veterans. To top it all, some quarters in MHC proposed to do away with some domestic competitions, citing money as the main factor.
The Malaysian hockey League and Malaysian Junior Hockey League are two success stories that can be further improved if there is a genuine effort from parties concerned.
But all we hear is that plans are afoot with nothing to show in the end and expect the same circus to continue without a ring master to make the improvements that will make it the money spinner that MHC badly needs.
With the teams doing well at various international levels, money should be the least of worries if MHC had a proper marketing plan put in place and entice sponsors with their success stories.
But all that is being wasted as the officials within MHC jostle for attention of the President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah rather then serve the sport.
Infighting, jealousy, back biting and control freaks are just some mild terms that can be used to describe the chaotic situation that MHC is in at the moment.
With elections looming in the middle of 2014, the campaigning has started, so much so that even the position for the Chief Executive Officer has been left vacant as politics rear its ugly head.
One cannot end the review without mentioning the tragic demise of Chua Boon Huat, Malaysia’s finest hockey sons who left us in August. For Chua had gone before realizing his dream of taking Malaysia to the World Cup.
There is much to look forward to in 2014, but things off the pitch need to change for the better.