Irish Hockey officially launched Quick Hockey, a new and exciting variation of hockey for everyone, at a demonstration of the game at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown on Wednesday, 21st May. The new game was explained and showcased at the launch in front of the Irish Sports Council, international players, IHA board members and media. The development of Quick Hockey is being made possible through the support of the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.
Irish Hockey designed Quick Hockey after a participation survey revealed a gap in the hockey market for a more casual, fun, flexible variation of the game of hockey. From the survey 70% of hockey players indicated they would continue to play ‘informal’ hockey once they had retired from competitive hockey if it was available. The results also showed that one of the top reasons players cease playing hockey is trying to balance family, work and social life and the inability to commit to a club. Irish Hockey believes that Quick Hockey is the perfect game to fill this gap.
Irish Hockey was one of eleven organisations to benefit from €125,000 distributed through the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund last year. It received a grant of €10,000 towards the project. The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is open for applications once again this year and is seeking to support voluntary and non-profit organisations which want to kick-start new programmes encouraging people to become more active. Details can be found at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou and applications are being accepted online until the 16th of June 2014.
Commenting at the launch CEO Mike Heskin said “Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the support and funding received from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund which is a fantastic initiative helping communities to get and stay active.”
He went on to explain the need for Quick Hockey “We first identified the need for a variation of our traditional eleven aside game of hockey when we conducted our participation survey. The results highlighted the necessity to offer a less formal option of the game that can be played on any surface in a 5-aside format. As a governing body we are always looking to progress our sport in line with our strategic plan, including increasing the numbers playing the sport and retaining those who currently play, the development of Quick Hockey is a game that will help us achieve these two goals.”
Erica Roseingrave, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, said: “The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund makes awards to voluntary and non-profit organisations promoting active lifestyles in communities all over Ireland. Through the Fund we seek to support innovative ideas which will encourage those who don’t participate in physical activity to introduce it into their lives. Quick Hockey captured the judges imagination and we’re looking forward to seeing the programme rolled out across the country.”
Irish Goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick stepped out from the nets to trial Quick Hockey and spoke to us about the experience “I really enjoyed it. I was on a team with people I had never met so it’s a good way to meet new people.”
When asked if she found it difficult transitioning from a keeper to an outfield player for Quick Hockey she said “I didn’t feel disadvantaged playing Quick Hockey by virtue of the fact that I am a goalkeeper and this was due to the easy format and less technical skills required to play Quick Hockey. The bigger ball is more forgiving and the no hitting also makes it less intimidating when playing.”
Pamela felt it was a game that could have mass appeal “Quick Hockey will appeal to those that can’t commit to club training every week, also I think it will be great for schools and areas where there aren’t hockey facilities available. It was really good fun and great for fitness.”
Irish Hockey have laid out a five year plan to roll Quick Hockey out which will bring the game to new players who do not have the facilities to run the traditional 11 sided hockey format while also giving Irish Hockey the chance to bring hockey to new schools and communities.
The major difference between the traditional 11 a-side game and this format is this game is played with a bigger and lighter ball with simplified rules. This format is also played with smaller teams which can be mixed or single gender and it can be played on any surface. But beyond that it is fun, fast-paced so excellent for fitness and health, easy to play, can be played at any age and it is also perfect for beginners.
Irish Hockey has already trialled Quick Hockey with both Pembroke Wanderers Hockey Club and at the National Hockey Stadium with their target audiences with great success.
- Teams are 5-a-side but can be flexible
- Play anywhere – indoor or outdoor on pitches of any size
- Mixed or men/women only
- Simple rules with a larger ball
- Perfect for all levels including beginners