Fast-paced rene­gade hockey to lure youth

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

By SVEN HERSEL­MAN A new ver­sion of hockey is be­ing pi­loted by Hockey Marl­bor­ough as a way of try­ing a fresh ap­proach to at­tract­ing teenagers to the game.

With help from a $4050 Ki­wis­port grant from Sport Tas­man, it has launched rene­gade hockey, a new ver­sion of the game aimed at year 9 to 13 youths who aren’t play­ing any sport.

The to­tal cost of the project is just un­der $8200.

The game is a fast-paced form of five-a-side hockey with few rules and no um­pires, which is played on a quar­ter-sized field with side boards and a big­ger, softer bounc­ing ball.

Spe­cial hockey sticks are also used, but nor­mal hockey sticks are OK.

Hockey Marl­bor­ough spokesman Mike Treloar says rene­gade hockey is ideal for kids who didn’t par­tic­i­pate or fit in any­where and just want to play.

‘‘ Hockey can be quite struc­tured, but this is about grab­bing a stick and hav­ing some fun with­out too many rules in a way that pro­motes hand- eye co­or­di­na­tion and team play,’’ he says.

The game is a New Zealand Hockey ini­tia­tive, and has been tri­alled with some suc­cess in Manukau City, Mike says.

‘‘We would like to see it take off like touch rugby.’’

The new game not only teaches ba­sic hockey skills, but will hope­fully also at­tract 30 play­ers to take up the game full­time through their schools.

This will re­verse the sig­nif­i­cant drop-off in year 9 to 13 teenagers play­ing hockey.

Good fun: Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege stu­dent Meg Hoc­quard, 15, fires the ball into the net dur­ing a game or rene­gade hockey.

The pro­gramme has started at Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege, and it is hoped that at least eight boys and girls col­lege teams will be formed to play games of two 12-minute halves in a round robin for­mat over 12 weeks.

It is hoped this will grow to 12 teams and to be ex­tended to the cor­po­rate world and at- risk youths.

Marl­bor­ough Hockey board chair­woman Denise Lloyd says they are very ex­cited about the project.

‘‘The game is a good lev­eller, so even good hockey play­ers won’t re­ally have an ad­van­tage over people who have never played hockey,’’ she says.

Photo: SCOTT HAM­MOND/FAIR­FAX NZ

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