Saturday, May 18, 2024

Club hockey file: How Wakefield aim to return stronger

In our Club File series we’ve heard from Gloucester City on momentum after pandemic and Eastcote on insurance issues. Here, Helen Royan, Wakefield HC president, on how the volunteer-run club is coping with life in lockdown

Around this time of year we’d usually be running a Summer League on a week night which is a great bit of income in the off-season and a great way to help with out of season fitness. We’d also be hosting our annual and very popular Summer Splash festival of hockey weekend which is also a big earner for the club. 

We applied to Sport England for emergency relief funding to help us out but sadly were not successful. The bank account will no doubt take a hit and, with a lot of local businesses currently not running as they were, we may also struggle to gain sponsorship like we would usually do.  

Our successful Flyerz section were also supposed to be attending national festivals and hosting their own international gathering in July, which is a blow as you can imagine.  We are incredibly proud of our Flyerz, we work really hard with them to help them develop and we’ve seen huge improvements over the last couple of years across fitness, team work, skills and strategic understanding. And so we will have to go back to basics when we resume, but for now we’re doing our best to keep them engaged with online weekly challenges and activities.

The  first major impact to our club was right at the very beginning where our men’s 1s lost out on the chance to fight for their place to stay in the National League with their final game of the season cancelled. It was subsequently decided that they would be relegated to the Northern Prem, which as you can imagine, has left people at the club pretty disappointed. We can only hope it will not hamper us when looking to attract new players for the top end of the club compared to if we were still in the National League.

Follow our features on helping clubs during pandemic

The down time has really given the club, run entirely by volunteers, a chance to focus and prepare for the new season more than we may have previously done, with us looking to add to our coaching team in the very near future.  We are still intent on progressing and we’re looking at ways to help us bounce back and go again.

In terms of resumption of hockey at Wakefield, the general feeling is that everyone’s just eager for those gates at College Grove to open again so we can get back out there and play some hockey. A lot are still seeing each other over Zoom with quizzes and other team activities being organised across the club but it’s just not the same as having a good quality game of hockey so once we’re given the all clear and it’s safe to do so we’ll be getting back out there to prepare for the new season and look to have a really successful one!

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