Playing for your country is the highest honour for any athlete and now Great Britain Hockey internationals will have a physical reward for this thanks to The Hockey Museum.
With little statistical data previously existing in the sport, a number of years ago they decided to begin the project of creating a definitive record of Great Britain international matches that would allow caps to be awarded and individual player numbers to be calculated.
Over the last five years a number of dedicated individuals have worked tirelessly to log the nearly 1,000 matches played by Great Britain's men and women and identify all 581 players to have so far worn the shirt in an official international fixture.
Steve Ellis, Sue Lane, Katie Dodd and Mike Smith have worked tirelessly at The Hockey Museum, with support from GB Hockey’s current and former Presidents Sheila Morrow and Richard Leman, as well as ex-GB internationals Simon Hazlitt and Rob Clift from the Hockey Internationals Club. Player representation on the project meetings came from Olympians Helen Richardson-Walsh and Simon Mantell.
Having created this definitive record, The Hockey Museum has subsequently begun the process of contacting all of Great Britain's international athletes (or the families of those no longer with us) in order to arrange presentation of the caps. Whilst the global pandemic has made this a tricky task, that didn't stop many of the current international players from receiving their caps back in May at a special ceremony hosted by Richard and Sheila.
Alongside the presentation of the caps, the project will continue as the focus now turns on to the Home Nations, a much bigger undertaking seeing as they have played a lot more international hockey.
“Everyone involved should be hugely proud of their efforts to bring this work together for the good of the sport," said Great Britain Hockey's Chief Operating Officer Nick Pink.
“We are immensely grateful to The Hockey Museum and all the volunteers who have spent thousands of hours producing a high quality historical record of all men and women who have represented Great Britain alongside their individual player records.
“With the Tokyo games almost upon us, this is a perfect time to be sharing this piece of work and congratulations to everyone who played a part.”
Mike Smith, Curator of The Hockey Museum, added: “We are very proud of what we’ve done; it’s been an amazing project all carried out by volunteers. We’ve created a legacy for our sport which previously did not exist.”