From Olympic coverage to 3G and the future of England’s talent path, 2021 provided us with a wealth of topics to discuss in the sport.
1. With no caps on offer, we doff our own to Hockey Ireland
From an England or GB Hockey perspective, uncapped, unofficial international friendlies are funny old things. You pull on a national shirt, line up for the anthems, flog yourself for four quarters and yet your cap number doesn’t move an inch.
2. Dearth of good BBC Olympic coverage emblematic of wider issue facing hockey
Alastair Whatley suspected hockey’s lack of coverage in the mainstream media was an old story, but the dearth of good Olympic coverage on the BBC seemed emblematic of a wider issue facing the sport.
3. Revealed: 3G pitches overtake hockey in stark 20-year decline
Data from Sport England’s facility database showed that hockey is rapidly disappearing pitch by pitch across the country, as well as from less affluent parts. This well read story was part of our growing coverage into the 3G issue.
4. ‘This is not normal!’ Flawed system makes mockery of FIH Hockey Stars Awards
‘Failure of the voting system’ decreed Hockey Belgium in October as India nominees won all eight categories on offer.
5. Does Great Britain set-up miss true talent at trials?
It seems that once new players are added to the programme, that is then almost a closed shop, barring the odd player who may come into senior squads at a later stage.
6. Why England Hockey’s talent strategy isn’t suitable model
In the first of his exclusive series of short essays focusing on the state of play at junior and club level in England, Jon Royce charted where the sport is heading.
7. England Hockey’s GMS: Match sheets will stem teams’ cheating
Our series on the Game Management System saw David Lloyd-Williams look at what will be gained by the match sheet.
8. We need to simplify hockey, not add layers of participation
Leading coach Jon Royce argued that we need to bring independent schools under the umbrella of clubs to stem burnout and player dissatisfaction.
9. Blackheath or Teddington? Oldest hockey club in the world revealed
The debate over who can lay claim to this historic mantle can now be put to bed. Teddington HC, who mark 150 years this season but have put celebrations on hold, have the rightful claim to the accolade over Blackheath, according to research by The Hockey Paper. Blackheath still believe they are the oldest.
10. Cannock, the hockey club everyone loved to beat in 1990s
There is always a club that everybody loves to hate. It’s usually one which wins a lot or is perceived to have buckets of money, wrote Claire Middleton
11. Should hockey follow rugby for ‘no winners’ coaching policy
Helen Richardson-Walsh posed this question; given the choice, would you want to train with your club five times a week?
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