NMMU-Madibaz hockey star Ignatius Malgraff emerged as the leading goal-scorer after the inaugural Premier Hockey League (PHL) drew to a close in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Thirteen Madibaz players – 10 men and three women – were chosen for the PHL, which saw five men’s and women’s teams playing in a month-long competition.
Malgraff’s seven goals saw him top the list ahead of Lloyd Norris-Jones and Ricky West, who notched five each.
The human movement sciences student said being the top scorer was not necessarily his aim.
“Honestly speaking, all I did was take my chances in front of the goals and, in the end, I was the top goal-scorer,” said Malgraff.
“I’m happy that I got this award but I couldn’t have achieved it without the help of my team-mates.”
The 23-year-old striker, who made his debut for the national team two seasons ago, turned out for the Addo Elephants alongside fellow NMMU students Devon Clarke, Chad Durrheim and Joshua August.
They qualified for the final where they lost 2-0 to the Maropeng Cavemen, who had Madibaz player Dillan Langeveld (as well as Michael Abrahams of PE’s Lakeside Cavaliers) in their ranks.
Madibaz star Lauren Nina was included in the Blyde River Bunters side, who beat Madikwe Rangers 3-1 in the women’s final.
The Madibaz premier league mentor Cheslyn Gie, who coached the Addo Elephants, felt the PHL was a “huge step in the right direction for SA hockey”.
“The concept gave players from smaller regions the opportunity to compete at the highest domestic level possible.
“It also gave them the opportunity to be coached by various coaches with different ideas of how the game should be played.”
Malgraff was excited about the concept, saying the PHL was just what domestic hockey needed.
“It was the perfect platform to showcase the talent the country has to offer.”
He said they now had something to play for and, with a players’ draft system in place, they could be spotted at any level.
While the PHL essentially consisted of franchise squads, each team was allocated four marquee players who turned out for the region in which they were born.