Sunday, December 10, 2023

Mark Pearn interview: ‘Playing hockey from nine to 39 is reason why my body is such a mess now’

The Hockey Paper speaks to the GB Olympian on club hockey, his rugby-playing father, Shahbaz Ahmed and a typical hectic week

“There are a lot of club players and you don’t want people to walk away from the game thinking it’s not being valued and respected,” says Surbiton men’s coach Mark Pearn. “You want to have a fair crack at it.” 

Pearn, 45, is describing the moment last February when he finally logged on to Twitter to air his grievances over the myriad of issues the GB Olympian had faced in the domestic game, as he took England Hockey to task. The Hockey Paper met the Premier Division coach and maths teacher in a Cranleigh pub earlier this month and as we sit beside a roaring fire, it mirrored the explosive thread Pearn laid bare on social media exactly one year earlier.

“There is no reason why we can’t follow the model in Germany, Belgium and Holland of structuring our league to support those players,” he says today. “Otherwise it becomes monotonous for them as well.”

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  1. 240+ combined caps, two Olympics, and yet perhaps underrated by England/GB? One of the most talented English players I have ever seen, outdoor and indoor. Even playing against him, you sometimes just had to admire. The combination with Danny Hall absolutely lethal. No surprise that his idol was Shahbaz. Men’s hockey’s GOAT. England hockey would do well to listen to Mark’s opinions on the game, including an increased role for the indoor version.


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