Hockey has last laugh as April Fools’ gags amuse
HOCKEY showed it has a sense of humour – in the shape of three website articles which appeared as April Fools’ jokes on Saturday.
In particular, twitter followers were initially left scratching their heads at an announcement from men’s Premier League club Beeston.
As reported in The Hockey Paper earlier this year, the Nottinghamshire outfit have formed a unique twinning partnership with HC Rotterdam to swap ideas in areas like coaching and commercialism.
But here they were announcing a new plan which would see both the club’s men’s and women’s first team swapping league action with their Dutch counterparts for the whole of next season.
It stated: “The exchange has been relatively straightforward to put together and players will be moving in to their respective team members’ houses correlating to their shirt numbers.
“The exchange is due to take place after European Championships in August. Both sets of men’s and ladies’ squads travel to Spain for preseason preparations before then heading back to England and the Netherlands to start their league campaigns.”
Beeston even claimed that the swap had been approved by England Hockey’s competitions manager, Stephen Barlow.
The site claimed he had responded to the ‘news’, saying: “This is an unprecedented move by the two clubs and their legal teams have been working hard to make this happen. We have been over the league rules here in England and with my counterparts at the KNHB, the proposal from the two clubs is fair and within the regulations for England Hockey.”
And in an unusual step, Beeston director Graham Griffiths told THP that the story would stay on the site for a week, such was its popularity.
He added: “It has all been a bit of fun to show we have a sense of humour but we have been surprised at just how many people on twitter believed it was true.”
Just as unbelievable was an announcement by Wapping HC site that they had landed a sponsorship deal which would see the Lee Valley Hockey Centre renamed later this year.
It said: “We are delighted to tell you that we have concluded a naming rights agreement for the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, which will for this upcoming season be known simply as “Wapping Valley”.
“Signage round the centre will be changed later today. The naming rights deal also includes all communications referring to the centre.
“Therefore, England Hockey competitions will be known as ‘Road To Wapping Valley’ or simply ‘Road To Wapping’ and East London HC will refer to their first teams as having the opportunity of playing at Wapping.”
Elsewhere, King’s College London HC laid claim to this season’s Hockey Varsity title, which they said had been handed to them by winners UCL because of the behaviour of their supporters at Lee Valley.
A statement said: “UCL’s Varsity celebrations this year were premature with the antics that occured at this year’s Hockey Varsity causing UCL’s Union to intervene, and decide that the best punishment for, ‘unruly student behaviour’, was handing the 2017 Varsity Series title to King’s College London.
“Allegedly, due to excessive use of flares, outbreaks of fights, and general drunken student outrage, management at UCL wasn’t happy with the code of conduct of UCL spectators at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre.
“The club were at first threatened with having their second and third teams cut if no-one owned up to the flare throwing, but management subsequently opted to disqualify UCL and hand the 2017 Varsity Series to KCL.”
The story added: “The UCL hockey team has also been banned from Lee Valley after permanently marking the Olympicstandard pitch with burn marks from the flares.”