Hockey 5s has picked up its detractors but that’s not the case for everyone. Here, Nik Krykunivsky outlines why the sport can play a part in the modern game
What do you like about Hockey 5s?
I like that it’s simple to understand, can be played on a wider variety of surfaces, is more accessible for a wider range of players and does not require umpires (if you fancy a knock-about). You can manage with one umpire.
It is easier to manage (no fiddling around with circle proximity and complex set piece routines like PCs). I don’t like people’s lack of understanding and prejudice about it.
There’s nothing inherently dangerous, all danger in any form of hockey is created by players and how they conduct themselves. Even now, many experienced players still do not grasp the basic rules of 11s hockey.
I’m not sure the recent televised games were a good example, but it’s early days and players need to get used to the match strategies just as much as officials if something skilful and entertaining is to result.
What is so positive about Hockey 5s in your view?
I think it is healthy and progressive to experiment with different forms of the game. The world is changing…
Not everyone can afford to build full size pitches, or even league-quality small turf. Sharing 3/4g pitches seems reasonable.
Not everyone can scrape together 22 players plus subs plus qualified umpires. Having run a tournament with 100+ players over three days, it created an accessible, festival atmosphere and was simple to organise.
Can you see why it’s a threat to the 11s game?
Is it? Who says so? Politics at the level of global and national governing bodies will always divide opinion. If the 11s game is under threat from this inferior variation, maybe there’s a good reason for that. Only good (popular) things deserve to endure.
Hockey 5s isn’t going away, should it just be an entry, promotional or exhibition game to take to major cities only?
I’m not convinced it currently has the level of interest to become a major event. In some countries it might. I like it as an alternative to the full outdoor game, whereby it would otherwise be impossible to play matches.
Can Hockey 5s co-exist with 11s in the Olympics?
I don’t see a future for 5s at the Olympic games, in the same way that outdoor 5-a-side football is not represented alongside the full game. Of course the resourcing is different for hockey, the scale of hockey is miniscule compared to football.
The governing body needs to figure out how best to allocate a small amount of scarce resources. That resource allocation might well look like focussing on the 11s game.
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