TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective
TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective

Festival of Indoor Hockey

How many times have you heard when recruiting from other clubs, “I’ll stay, I just want to play with my mates.”?
Every year, every coach in the word tries to attract a new player to their club and every year this line gets trotted out. And rightly so. Playing sport with mates is what it’s all about an most levels (professional may be an exception).
On the weekend Hockey Tasmania held its Festival of Indoor Hockey at the Launceston Silverdome. A fast paced, balls to the wall version of the great outdoor sport testing the skills, speed and endurance of participants vying for the crown of unofficial state champion. There was an open mens and womens competition with teams from each region, under 18s, 15s and 13s with the same representation. In fact, there were two southern teams in the 15s and 13s making the umber of junior players bigger than the adults which can only be a good thing.
As a long-time hockey player, coach and administrator (about coughs 30 years) I was skeptical of what indoor could offer. But I discovered it was the mateships that could be formed through the teams that made this weekend.
I paid special attention to the North West Under 13 team with my son and daughter both playing but did cast an eye over the other grades. What I saw was kids from West Devonport HC arm-in-arm with kids from cross town and bitter rival Devonport HC, players from South Burnie HC mixing with Smithton HC kids and even, more broadly, players from each and every region catching up after a game. This was not just limited to the juniors either. Despite not paying myself I had a yarn to a UTAS HC, South Launceston HC, Launceston City and Queechy HC.
The coaching on offer to these teams seemed first class with national standard coaches looking after teams and helping to run the competition. The coaches of the NW Under 13s, Jason and Jess, deserve a shoutout from a parents point of view. While my eldest, Snuffo, is the keeper and bound to get maximum court time, these coaches balanced “state title v participation” perfectly over the weekend which allowed younger players, like Oodn, to also get valuable minutes, hit the scoreboard and give proud parents a moment to cheer. Big ups to Ruth on her first goal too!
Still on and partially off court, couple of cool things happened. A 13-year-old umpired a game by himself. He is confident young lad in general but to grab a whistle and get involved was a marvellous thing. Well done Turbo. Well done also to Jo and Jypsi who match managed the under 13 final at short notice and if anybody can find out who umpired the under 13 final, give him a massive thank you from all involved in the game for a massive performance at extremely short notice and single handed.
HT is to be commended for putting this tournament on despite having few volunteers. ALL those who contributed deserve a pat on the back for their efforts in giving these participants a place to play a sport that is extremely marginalised, even more so than traditional hockey.
We can only hope that HT see the benefit of this tournament and make if a priority in coming years and really develop into a spectacle of indoor hockey. This event gives participants, coaches, umpires tech officials, parents and fans in general a place to enjoy this high scoring somewhat crazy sport, above all, creating a space for mates.

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