Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Museum’s holy grail: producing GB Hockey player numbers

The Hockey Museum is on the cusp of producing the first definitive records for the GB Hockey teams, writes Mike Smith

During 2019 the England football team played its 100th international match. One of these was remembering the 100th player to represent England, which occurred back in 1987, 32 years before.

All of this was possible because football has extensive and definitive records. Hockey, on the other hand, has been a participant sport enjoying a fraction of the coverage by the media. One result of this is that hockey in Britain does not have the records from which such statistics can be distilled and milestones celebrated.

This may seem an amazing situation for one of the nation’s main sports but it was a fact when The Hockey Museum really got going just nine years ago.

We realised the importance of this missing link but it has only been during the past three years that we have really got to grips with compiling accurate and definitive records of our national hockey teams. It has been an amazing journey of investigation and discovery and it is only now in early 2020 that we can announce that we are on the cusp of producing the first definitive records for our national hockey teams.

This has been achieved through the painstaking work carried out by a small group of dedicated volunteers – but more of them later because they are the true heroes.

Firstly one has to define the word ‘definitive.’ Without completely accurate records that tell us all of the matches, results, players and scorers, one has nothing of any real value. We have a few elusive pieces of information needed, to complete the first task: to create definitive records for the GB teams that are going to the Tokyo Olympics. We can tell you that the GB men have played their 600th match and the women are closing in on their 400th.

GB’s main function is to represent us at Olympic level and please remember that women’s Hockey was only introduced into the Olympics in 1980.

However, the holy grail target is to give the team members their team numbers and possibly emblazoned on their shirts like the England cricket team. These represent, numerically, every international player’s position in the history of our sport. For now, we do know that the current women’s number of GB international players is in the region of 200 while the men are approaching 400.

This originally featured in a previous Hockey Paper edition. Don’t miss out. Subscribe in print or in digital format.

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