Dutch are showing the way forward
Awinter break, matches starting at sporadic times, players missing for international duty. These have been just some of the issues affecting the profile of Premier Division and National League hockey across the men’s and women’s spectrum for years.
The Hockey Paper has already reported on how the domestic structure outlook might look from 2019 thanks to world hockey’s new events portfolio, but news that the calendar may indeed be rejigged to accommodate this is to be welcomed.
How this will be laid out is yet to be known, but if England is to host events in the January to June world calendar, then an August-December domestic calendar can’t be ruled out.
This would work on many fronts, including regular broadcasting contracts and all matches starting at, say, 2pm. It’s how the Dutch model works. Fans know the push back times and even with live matches, grounds are filled out to watch their heroes. THE victorious GB women’s hockey team made their appearance on stage late on at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday.
By this time, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy – who formed part of the Team of the Year award – was seen on TV looking at his watch with team-mates.
Hannah Macleod then tweeted that she had yet to spot a footballer smile “but I’m sure deep down they were proud with the accolade”.
No awards for hockey, but a year to savour – with dignity, pride and beaming smiles. THEY were regarded as the most experienced and balanced team in the men’s Junior World Cup, but India’s title win over Belgium, another emerging force, goes deeper than just lifting their first trophy since 2001.
There seems to have been a togetherness about this team, one lacking at both junior and senior level in recent years. Seven members of the junior team, including captain Harjeet, are apparently sons of drivers. Tellingly, most have also played in the last three editions of the Hockey India League. England’s players, of course, haven’t played as many pressure matches against such global competition.
Meanwhile, India’s JWC win added to their victories at the Junior Asia Cup and the recent four-nation tournament in Valencia. The future – as well as the fanbase – burns bright in India.