Celtic Dragons Director of Netball, Tania Hoffman will be departing the franchise at the conclusion of the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague season to pursue an exciting new role with the Good Oil Tactix netball franchise in New Zealand.
Hoffman, who has led the franchise as its first-ever dedicated head coach for the last three years, will be returning to her native New Zealand in the summer to join Good Oil Tactix as the new Mainland Development Coach. There she will be leading the development of the franchise’s future talent and leading its development team in the Netball New Zealand National Netball League.
Hoffman has been instrumental to the development of the Celtic Dragons franchise in the last three years. She arrived from Surrey Storm and immediately stabilised the franchise after a challenging year in 2018, leading the team to 7th in 2019. This was followed by a run to the semi-final of the 2019 British Fast5 All-Stars tournament – the first time Dragons had qualified for the event.
As the first coach not to share duties with the Welsh national side, Hoffman professionalised the franchise’s off-court operations and helped to drive a close relationship with its official partners at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has also spearheaded the return of Celtic Dragons age group squads and was instrumental in bringing some world class international ‘import’ players to the franchise in recent years. Over the last year, Hoffman’s work and dedication has helped the franchise to weather the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic which had proven incredibly disruptive to preparations to the 2021 Superleague season.
Reflecting on her time in Wales, Hoffman said: “I have really loved my time at Celtic Dragons. I have been privileged to meet and work with so many incredible athletes and coaches. It has been challenging at times, particularly with the pandemic, but I will be taking many fond memories back to New Zealand with me. Andrew and I will miss so many people when we leave.
“However, for now I remain focused on our final fixtures in the 2021 Superleague where there is still plenty of netball to be played.”
Looking forward to her next challenge in Christchurch, Hoffman added: “I’m looking forward to the role as it touches on so many aspects: being able to assist with the Tactix squad, lead their National Netball League programme, and to develop and implement a programme that will identify representative and franchise players of the future within the Mainland region. An important part of the role will be to develop relationships with the netball centres and coaches.
“Having the opportunity to help identify and work with up-and-coming players that Mainland produce is an opportunity I could not pass up. As a proud Cantabrian produced coach it will be great to be back to contribute to the growth of the Tactix, reconnect with players and the netball community.”
The draw of family was also a big part of Hoffman’s decision to take up the new role. She said: “With the majority of the world still in some form of lockdown and it being so hard to just hop on a plane to visit family and friends it was an opportunity that Andrew and I had to look at. Our parents still live in Christchurch with our children scattered around New Zealand. So many things have changed since we were last home so there is lots to catch up on!”
Sarah Jones, Welsh Netball CEO paid tribute to the impact Tania has had on the franchise and netball in Wales more generally. She said: “Tania has been a huge part of our netball family since arriving three years ago and has driven standards right through the Dragons franchise both on and off the court. I would like to thank Tania for everything that she has done for us.
“We know that being away from family in New Zealand has been difficult for Tania and Andrew, particularly with the pandemic. We would much rather keep Tania with us in Wales, but this is a fantastic opportunity for her with Tactix and we are excited for the next stage of her coaching career.
“For now, Tania’s focus will be the leading the Dragons through the concluding stages of a really difficult season. I know that her full focus will be on supporting her athletes and colleagues in these final weeks of competition.
“Meanwhile, the search for a new head coach for the 2022 season is now underway.”