Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Anna Toman: English hockey must look to domestic changes – I play this sport for matches

'I’m not going to lie, it is hard when you go through periods of time where we aren’t playing games.'

The scheduling of the English domestic season for indoor and outdoor has always baffled me.

Hockey is classed as a winter sport but why do we play into December and then January when pitches are usually frozen? It is difficult for people to drag themselves out after work when it’s cold, dark and wet. Yet, when it’s warmer it’s what everyone wants to do and when the sport is more enjoyable.

There’s no reason why we can’t change the mentality. I’ve never understood the reason why we start so early, particularly after Christmas. In Holland we have two weeks of double headers, playing on Thursday night and Sunday. We could get more games in a short amount of time, given we don’t want the season going long into the summer.

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  1. Many clubs share clubhouse facilities and players with cricket clubs. Running the season later into spring/summer would cause issues in this respect. Dutch clubs don’t face that issue.

  2. Agree with much of this article. The traditional clash with cricket is undoubtedly an issue, but the game in the UK would benefit from a longer indoor season and shifting outdoor fixtures and training to warmer months with more light. Hockey cannot take it for granted that there will be a steady stream of players coming through. The options for kids and adults are increasingly plentiful. So every effort should be made to position hockey to maximise its appeal.


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