Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wales Hockey stars aim to encourage more young people into the game

Stars of Wales and GB hockey teams delivered an interactive session last week to around 100 school children to mark a new initiative to help grow the game in Wales.

It comes off the back of a rebrand for Hockey Wales, which has also developed a new initiative to help introduce young people into the sport.

Following the recent news that sports across Wales could see a possible funding cut of almost £5m, Hockey Wales has developed new “game modes” that are designed to be an accessible way in.

On February 6, pupils from various schools were invited to the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff to experience hockey in a new way, with some of the best players in Wales.

Sarah Jones, who plays for Wales and is due to play for Team GB at this year’s Paris Olympics, was at the session, helping to encourage youngsters into the game. A recent Sports Wales survey revealed that, out of 116,000 participations, nearly 17,000 pupils expressed a keen desire to play hockey. In response to this demand, Hockey Wales have set out important plans to reach out to these young people and give them the opportunity to play.

Sarah Jones answering questions at a Q&A

A key part of the plan involves the introduction of new game modes across Wales, designed to simplify the game format and make hockey accessible to every child in Wales to engage with hockey anywhere and at any time, particularly schools who do not have access to hockey facilities.

Reflecting on this pivotal rebrand, Hockey Wales CEO Paul Whapham, said: “We’re really excited to carry out the plans that we have going forward where we’re ensuring that young people in Wales have every opportunity to pick up a hockey stick and play.

“The new game modes being developed will be such an important part of giving those without the facilities access to the game which we hope will inspire more to join local clubs in the future.”

The new strategy will aim to engage and inspire a younger generation across Wales. It sees the introduction of a new logo that portrays the traditional Welsh dragon in a modern and bold way that

aims to motivate a new and younger audience. This fresh look offers Hockey Wales the opportunity to be more identifiable and share their aspirations with everyone.

Youth hockey
Budding Welsh hockey players

The new brand and strategy follow an incredibly successful year for Hockey Wales, including the men’s team representing Wales for the first time at the Hockey World Cup in India, the women’s senior team claiming bronze at the European Championship and Cardiff and Met Men playing in the Premier League, the first Welsh team to do so.

Four Welsh players have also been selected to represent the GB team and are in line for selection at the Olympics in Paris next year.

Speaking about this achievement, Sarah said: “As a Welsh athlete, being part of a squad that has gained qualification for Great Britain to be at the Paris Olympics 2024 is an honour and a testament to the unwavering support I’ve received from Wales.

“To work together to reach aspiring young athletes who may have never had the chance to know if they love hockey or not. I hope these new game modes can inspire those in schools to join a local club and play the fantastic sport that is growing every day.”

Total Hockey

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