With under a week to go until the launch of the LearnCoach New Zealand Badminton League, all players and coaches were officially drafted to four exciting franchise teams. The four teams will compete in a rapid-fire match format over the next seven weeks, with $15,000 NZD up for grabs.
Badminton New Zealand Chief Executive Joe Hitchcock is looking forward to seeing close competition every night.
We have an outstanding group of players based in New Zealand and the innovative new draft process ensures every team is even and every match will be meaningful.
The draft process took place over the past week, comprising of three stages: Coach Lottery, Draft Order & Team Selection.
The first stage, released on Tuesday, saw the Coach Lottery take place with Badminton New Zealand Performance coaches Rikke Olsen Siegemund, Fanny Megahwati, Henry Tam and Tony Griffen randomly paired with each of the four franchises.
First drawn were the ONEPURE Wolves, paired with Fanny Megahwati. Fanny brings a wealth of international experience having competed for Indonesia, and coached for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore & Philippines prior to arriving in New Zealand.
Next drawn were the HUAWEI Dragons, paired with Rikke Olsen Siegemund. Having represented & coached in Denmark, Rikke is currently the Badminton New Zealand National Coach & Performance Manager.
TIGER BROKERS Tigers were next drawn, to be coached by Henry Tam. A former New Zealand Commonwealth Games representative & Assistant Coach to the National Squad, Henry is very familiar with the players. “It is great to have franchise teams on board, I think with the growth of fantasy leagues in so many sports around the world, this allows more engagement from both the casual viewer and seasoned fan.”
Lastly, the HEYTOUR Hawks were paired with Tony Griffen. Also having represented New Zealand as a player, Tony turned to coaching after a knee injury side-lined him from badminton. Tony is also an Assistant Coach to the National Squad, recently accompanying the NZ team at the Oceania Team Championships.
Each of the Franchise teams had the opportunity to consult with their newly appointed coaches, in preparation for the Team Selection phase, which took place over the weekend. The player groups were arranged by Badminton New Zealand to ensure quality match-ups and also ensure it would be a near impossible task to pick the winning team at this early stage. The Draft Order, determined at random, was the Tigers, followed by the Wolves, Dragons and Hawks respectively. The Franchise teams submitted their preferred Team Selections, and in drafting order, were assigned their new cast of team members.
Players are abuzz with the opportunity to represent their Franchise Team.
OnePure Wolves team member Catelyn Rozario is excited to play in a professional league.
I’ve seen this done with the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in India and always thought it was so awesome – I can’t wait to represent the ONEPURE Wolves.
We look forward to the launch of the LearnCoach New Zealand Badminton League next week and seeing our teams make their debut on June 16/17th. The matches will air on Sky Sport 9 and on the Sky Sport Next YouTube channel.
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