Fast-paced renegade hockey to lure youth
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.