HockeyFest returns this summer with clubs across the UK opening their doors to thousands of new and current players, all with the aim of doing one thing: celebrating the social and friendly aspect of playing hockey!
This year’s HockeyFest runs from 19th August – 10th September, supported by Notts Sport, will be jam-packed with fun and informal events with a big community feel. These can be anything from a fundraising bake off, taster sessions for beginners to evening socials at the clubhouse; there is an event to suit the whole family. Some clubs in England are lucky enough to have England athletes visit their event, after the success at the Euro Hockey Championships in Amsterdam, where our men and women both came away with Bronze this will be an exciting opportunity to inspire the hockey family.
HockeyFest highlights the best aspects that the sport has to offer including an equal split between men and women playing and inclusive to all ages and abilities. With many clubs seeing a range of generations taking part, it really is a family affair.
As the nation tuned in to watch Team GB’s hockey heroines make history at the Rio Olympics by reaching their first ever Olympic final and following the England women’s team gold medal success at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships, more people than ever want to give this exciting sport a go.
Since 2011 the number of junior players has increased by 64% as more people have been inspired since London 2012 when Great Britain Women’s Hockey team took home a bronze medal. We saw 10,000 new people join hockey club straight off the back of Rio games, where the GB women gold. Last year we saw 23,000 players attend their local HockeyFest event where many of the Rio Olympians visited, showing off their gold medal with the aim to inspire the next generation.
England and Great Britain player Susannah Townsend, who was part of the gold medal winning team in Rio says; ‘After Rio it was incredible to see the uptake of people wanting to get involved in hockey, a sport I love. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my first club, Canterbury. We set out to inspire the Future, and to see so many people taking up our sport is incredible. Hockey Fest is a great opportunity for families to try and see what their local hockey club has to offer in a fun, social environment.’
Sam Ward England and Great Britain athlete is going on tour where he will be attending seven HockeyFest events across England in one day. Sam Ward was part of the European bronze medal winning squad who recently beat Germany 4-2 in Amsterdam to claim the men’s first Euro medal since 2011.
Sam Ward said; ‘It has been an incredible year for us England players, winning Sultan Azlan Shah with GB, qualifying for the World Cup in London in June and now winning bronze at the Europeans. We have seen a real increase in children taking up the sport over the past couple of years and I hope our bronze medal will continue to inspire people to take up the sport I love.’
‘My hockey journey started at my local club and I am so excited to visit as many clubs as I can over the weekend. HockeyFest is the perfect way for anyone new to get involved. I am really looking forward to this challenge, it is going to be a long weekend but I can’t wait to meet everyone on route and play a bit of hockey!’ You can find the list of clubs that Sam will be attending below.
The HockeyFest campaign is organised by Great Britain Hockey, the sport’s official National Governing Body, in association with Notts Sport. Over 250 hockey clubs across the UK have signed up to be a part of HockeyFest 2017 – to find your nearest session, or learn more about the sport, please visit: www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/playhockey or follow on Twitter @EnglandHockey or @_GBhockey #HockeyFest
England and Great Britain Athlete Visits *names in bold part of Euro Hockey Bronze medal team
|Sidmouth & Ottery HC||Giselle Ansley|
|Sheffield Hallam HC||Phil Roper|
|Alton HC||Liam Sanford|
|Ashby HC||Ollie Willars|
|Maidenhead HC||Jo Hunter|
|Yately HC||Dan Fox|
|Aylsebury HC||Mark Gleghorne|
|Bicester HC||Ian Sloan|
|Leamington HC||Ellie Watton|
|Bishops Storford HC||Helen Richardson-Walsh|
|7 hockey clubs in the North East and North West||Sam Ward|
|Marlow HC||Peter Scott|
|Oxford Hawks HC||Jonty Griffths|
|Ealing HC||Mikey Hoare|