Great Britain Hockey has today announced that its ‘Hockey Nation Give it a Go’ programme will offer 20,000 opportunities to play hockey over the Olympic Games period. More than 500 sites across the country will run sessions for young people and adults over a five week period as the sport looks to proactively build its legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A new website – www.hockeynation.info – went live today, providing an easy-to-use search engine of hockey activities. From 27 July, the programme will be supported by the Hockey Hotline, a dedicated phone line offering advice to people looking to give hockey a go. The Hockey Hotline on 0845 340 4000 will operate from 8am until 8pm daily.
Hockey Nation Give it a Go sessions will provide anyone, regardless of age, ability, previous hockey experience or location, the opportunity to pick up a stick and give hockey a go.
Give it a Go is the largest element of Great Britain’s Hockey Nation programme, which is being delivered by the governing bodies for hockey in England, Scotland and Wales.
Running from 27 July until 2 September, the programme will see hockey clubs and leisure providers offer coaching clinics and sociable hockey activities. In England, it culminates in the Harvester National Club Weekend, 1-2 September, a nationwide hockey open weekend providing a fantastic opportunity for clubs to open their gates and welcome the local community.
Holly Woodford, Development Director at the England Hockey Board, said: “Having seen hockey participation increase over the past six months we are determined to retain this growth and use the excitement of the 2012 Olympic Games to engage thousands more people in hockey. Our 500-plus clubs and partners have done a fantastic job in preparing for the potential influx and we are delighted to be offering thousands of local playing opportunities this summer. With the recent introduction of new and different ways to play hockey for both adults and young people we are confident that everyone will be able to find an activity to suit them.
“It will be an incredibly exciting and inspirational time and I am confident that with the enthusiasm of the amazing people involved in hockey, we are ready to welcome sports fans to hockey!”
Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, said: “The Olympic Games that begin in just a few days offer a remarkable opportunity to put hockey in the shop window and encourage more people to get out there and play sport. Hockey has seized this moment with both hands and I am delighted to support the Hockey Nation Give it a Go campaign, which will help people all over the country to put stick to ball this summer.”
Robert Heatly, Chief Executive of Scottish Hockey, said: “The Olympic Games gives us the catalyst we need to raise the profile of hockey in Britain, and the hockeynation.info website will be vitally important in being able to direct a large number of people to hockey playing opportunities.”
Helen Bushell, Chief Executive of Hockey Wales, said: ““Whilst the games are taking place in London, we want to ensure that people all over Britain have the opportunity to get involved. The Give it a Go programme will cater for all ages and abilities, and give people a great environment in which to play hockey.”
Hockeynation.info is simple to use. Visitors to the site input their gender, age, location and whether they would like to play or watch hockey. Based on the parameters, users will be given a list of Hockey Nation Give it a Go sessions along with the details, location and contact information for the operator.
As well as the opportunities to play, hockeynation.info will contain details of where to watch Great Britain during the Games. The site lists more than 80 Hockey House venues around the country, including the O’Neill’s and All Bar One chains, where supporters can gather to celebrate the goals, discuss the decisions, ‘oooohh’ the tackles and raise the roof in support of GB.
The Hockey Nation programme has been running since January 2012. The ambitious engagement and profile-building exercise has included athlete ambassador school visits, the npower Big Dribble, an observation day for grassroots coaches with the Great Britain teams, the Investec London Cup, 2012 Gala Dinner and Hockey Houses.