With the FIH Hockey Stars Awards just a few weeks away, there is still plenty of time to make your vote count in our three major categories – Player of the Year, Rising Star of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year. Public voting in these categories closes on 14 January 2018, so
As it stands things couldn’t be much closer and the current voting reflects a year of superb performances by our nominees. Belgium are currently leading the way, with the most votes in three of the six categories, with Argentina leading two and England one.
"In all categories, a late surge of votes would change the complexion of this year’s Hockey Stars Awards."
The men's Player of the Year is proving one of the closest contests in recent years. Whilst Belgium's Arthur van Doren is currently in front, Argentina's Gonzalo Peillat and Germany's Mats Grambusch are not far behind in the voting.
Delfina Merino and Maria Granatto currently top the voting in their respective categories, after a year which saw both Argentina's men’s and women’s teams win the Pan American Cup and qualify for the 2018 World Cups.
Merino picked up the top goalscorer award at the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final in Auckland (joint with Netherlands Maartje Krekelaar) and will be hoping to add another award to her trophy cabinet in the form of women's Player of the Year. Granatto meanwhile will be looking to win back to back Hockey Stars Rising Star of the Year awards.
There is a distinctly European feel to the men's Rising Star of the Year award, with last year's winner, Arthur van Doren, currently topping the vote. His team-mate Victor Wegnez is closely behind him, with Germany's Timm Herzbruch also hot on their tails. Of all the categories, this is the most closely contested – just a few votes could see the award go to any of the five nominees.
Belgium star goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch is leading the pack of men's goalkeepers, however winner from the past two editions of the awards, Ireland’s David Harte, is also very much in the running along with Argentina's Juan Vivaldi.
In the female Goalkeeper of the Year vote, last year’s winner Maddie Hinch continues to impress her peers and the public. However, the rise of the Belgium Red Panthers in recent months has given Aisling D’Hooghe a platform to showcase her admirable abilities between the posts. She is hot on Hinch’s trail for the title along with USA's impressive stopper Jackie Briggs.
In all categories, a late surge of votes would change the ranking in each category of this year’s . 2017 has seen a year of dramatic and high quality hockey action on the pitch, it looks as if the annual awards evening is all set to reflect that tension and excitement.