April 9 - England and Great Britain men's hockey have secured their biggest ever investment backing as NOW: Pensions was revealed here today as the new sponsor of the team as it starts its journey on the road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The four-year deal, which also covers the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, coincides with the unveiling of a new 30-strong Britain and England men's squad which will begin training in a centralised programme this week in the hope of securing a medal position at the upcoming Games.
With some noticeable names missing from the line-up around half the squad is made up of relatively new faces to the senior international scene.
The squad includes a number of the players who secured fourth place at London 2012, including captain Barry Middleton, Richard Smith and Nick Catlin, with Ashley Jackson, Rob Moore, Dan Fox, Iain Lewers, Harry Martin and George Pinner also returning to the side.
Alongside the London 2012 Olympians, the experience of Simon Mantell, Adam Dixon, Alastair Brogdon and Mark Gleghorne has also been called upon and will undoubtedly play an essential role in the squad over the next four years.
Following impressive debuts in the Champions Trophy in December several players have been recalled to the squad, including Dan Shingles, Henry Weir, Ben Arnold and Ollie Willars.
"I am very excited about working with this new group of athletes and it's fantastic to have the support of NOW: Pensions," England and Great Britain men's head coach, Bobby Crutchley said.
"There have been a number of changes made since last summer and we know as a squad there is a lot of hard work ahead.
"This Summer will see a home nation focus as we prepare for the FIH World League in Malaysia and then the European Championships in Belgium."
Speaking about what the next four years hold for England Hockey, performance director Danny Kerry explained how a new training programme will also help boost the team's chances at Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016.
"Over the next four years the men's programme will be centralised to allow athletes access to more frequent quality training, which we feel is essential to ensure England and Great Britain continue to advance on a world level," he said.
"The centralised programme will allow this group of athletes to prioritise their desire to be podium athletes in the future, whilst also allowing for the appropriate balance of rest and recovery alongside career and education opportunities."
Sally Munday, chief executive of England Hockey added: "It is fantastic to have the support of NOW: Pensions.
"The ambition of our two organisations feels very similar as we continue to take advantage of the opportunity London 2012 has given us to grow the numbers playing and watching our sport.
"It's a real fillip for both the elite and grassroots elements of the sport and the journey begins next weekend at the NOW: Pensions Men's Hockey League Finals, which will include prize money, a Rush Hockey zone and coverage on Sky Sports."
Together with the new sponsor and squad, England Hockey also revealed a new-look adidas kit here today.
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