Thursday, October 28, 2021

What will it take to change English domestic hockey perceptions?

The Hockey Paper says... there are a myriad of issues holding back domestic crowd attendances

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Rod Gilmour
The Hockey Paper's Editor. First covered international hockey at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - no better than a full house watching India play England - and has reported for the Daily Telegraph and other major newspapers ever since. Co-founded THP in 2016.

In 1988, Sean Kerly returned from the Seoul Olympics as a gold medallist ahead of a new national league. He ventured down to Devon with Southgate for a clash down at Ottery St Mary before a crowd of 2,000, scored a hat-trick and was on his way to securing a free trip to the United States, the prize offered up by the league’s sponsors as top scorer over the season.

‘Easily a record for a club match in Britain,’ reported The Sunday Times at the time. Over 30 years on, is this still a record for a domestic league game, one wonders? More than likely. With three Olympic medals won by GB women at successive Games, there have been plenty of marketing openings to breathe life into the domestic game. The national governing body say there are more players picking up sticks from the upsurge of international success. But translating that to watching the domestic game continues to be a damp squib.

As a leading publication covering the sport, this is an embarrassment as we try to portray hockey in a leading light. Thousands play regional hockey every week, yet sometimes mere 10s can be seen watching Premier Division games.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. England Hockey live in the land of make beleive.

    Until England Hockey invest finically into hockey club facilities strucure inplace, we will only see the game continue decreases and very low numbers watching the modem game.

    We had the 2012 Olympics Games in London and they talked about a legacy, what legacey!!!

  2. Hockey is only watched by other Hockey players , that’s how it’s been in the past , in the present and highly unlikely to change in the future.

  3. Times move on but every year schoolgirls filled Wembley. Men had Lords but not the same scale. We are not mainstream. We are only noticed when we are very competitive at world level ( top 4 ) . Football is lucky not to be in that situation !

  4. Tommy Alexander is right about playing the elite league competition in the summer. If it was played April to August then the weather would be better for spectators, club hockey players would be free to spectate, and we wouldn’t be competing so much with football

    In terms of the competition it needs to be a new franchise system at the elite level, with a better geographic spread around the country and a business model predicated on getting paying fans through the door and a TV deal

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