For the love of hockey
With National Hockey Week hitting off on June 17, we took to the field to find out what makes our junior competition players so enthusiastic about this great game. And they’re not shy with their responses. They love playing in a team, making friends and learning new skills. And some of them are pretty keen about oranges at half time too.
Talk to the young players – and junior coaching and umpiring representatives – and you’ll hear words like teamwork, respect, friendship, fitness and fun. They’ve also got a few interesting ideas about how to improve the sport they love.
National Hockey Week is all about celebrating and promoting hockey. Thousands of people across the country support hockey in clubs such as Newtown City Hockey Club every week. They are players, coaches, umpires, officials and volunteer helpers. They line fields before play and line-up on fields to play. They run canteens and barbecues, training sessions and teams, matches and clubs and carry out a myriad of other jobs so hockey continues to thrive.
Our Newtown City Hockey Club juniors are thriving too as they grow in their sport. One player put it simply: “Hockey makes me feel happy.”
Leo, Under 10 player
What’s the hardest thing about playing hockey?
Learning all the original tricks and then learning better ways to do them at training.
Has hockey made a difference to your life?
It has made quite a big difference, meeting new people and also maybe playing against them too. I think it’s made me a lot more confident.
What new rule would you introduce?
Maybe being able to legally trip people with your legs. It would make it a lot easier to defend.
If you were in charge of Newtown City Hockey Club what would you do?
I would make it that any time we played, everybody got a `best player on the field’ award.
Matilda, Under 8 player
What is your favourite position on the hockey field?
Centre, because you get to run a lot.
What’s the best part of being in a hockey team?
Using team work. And it’s fun to play with other people. It makes me feel happy.
If you were Newtown City Hockey Club president, what would you do?
I’d make sure there was hot chocolate at half time!
Drew, Under 8 player
What’s the best part of playing in a team?
That you pass the ball to each other and call to each other.
What’s your favourite rule?
Don’t touch the ball with your feet!
What should you remember when playing hockey?
Always keep your eye on the ball.
Nate, Under 10 player
Favourite hockey position?
I like being in the centre, because you run a lot and you get to attack more. It’s exciting.
How could we encourage more kids to play hockey?
I’d persuade them. I’d say, hey this is a really fun sport to play. It makes you fit and healthy and at half time you get oranges.
What’s one of the things you like about Newtown City Hockey Club?
Half-time oranges. Do all the other clubs get oranges like us? And I just like playing and training. It’s really fun.
How important are the umpires?
They are very important because if you didn’t have umpires we’d all be running at the ball and pushing people over. We all need to respect the umpires.
Baxter, Under 8 player
What do you like about playing hockey?
That it’s outside.
What’s your favourite hockey position?
Being left wing. I don’t really know why, I just like it.
What new rule would you bring in?
When you goal you could lift the ball.
Pollyanna, Under 8 player
What’s the best part of playing hockey?
When you make new friends. That means you have even more people to play with at hockey. I like that.
Why is your coach so important?
She is very important to us. She keeps us going so we can get better and better. She teaches us how to get around the player in front of us, she teaches us to pass to our teammates. She teaches us lots and lots of things. I do like her a lot.
What are some important rules in hockey?
That you keep your eye on the ball and your stick on the ball. And that you treat everyone nicely, like you treat your family.
What would you change about your uniform?
I’d make it more colourful. Maybe aqua? But I’d keep the skirt as it is.
Amelia, Under 10 player
What can hockey teach you?
To work with a team and when you play you learn the skills of the game.
How long will you play?
Well, I’m eight now, so maybe until I’m 45?
What do you like most about hockey?
Scoring goals. Hockey makes me feel happy. I like playing when kids on my team are from my school.
Avah, Under 8 player
Where do you like playing on the field?
In the goals because then you can stop goals. It is lots of fun.
If you were boss of Hockey Australia, what would you do?
Make your own rules. But I’m not sure what they’d be.
Jarret, 12 ½, junior umpire:
How long have you been umpiring?
This is my first season umpiring and my fifth game. I started because I wanted to do something else for the club and get more involved. Mum said ‘Why not umpire?’ and I thought that’s what I’d do. It’ll make me a better player, I’ll know the rules more and be helping out the club as well. It’s all good.
What’s the hardest thing about umpiring?
Getting the kids to listen to you. Sometimes you blow the whistle and they keep playing. You have to get their attention.
What do you like most about umpiring?
Probably seeing all the kids’ smiling faces. That’s really nice and shows they’re having fun. It was the same for me at their age.
Anna, Under 10 player
If you were in charge of Hockey Australia, what would you do?
Probably get some more assistants so I could go on a nice holiday, spend time with my family and knit a lot!
What is one of the hardest things about playing hockey?
Probably with the umpires when they whistle and wave their hands around everywhere and you wonder what’s actually happening.
What do you like about hockey?
I actually like being goalie for some reason. I get to watch the others running up and down the field getting tired while I stand there. And it’s fun to fall over.
Oscar, Under 8 player
What do you like most about playing hockey?
Defending people, because then you can score a goal.
Ruben, Under 10 player
Why do you enjoy hockey?
It’s a very fun sport and easy for everyone to play. It’s all about playing as a team.
If you were boss of Newtown City Hockey Club, what would you do?
I would copy what Claire (Barnes) and Kellie (Barnes) do. I think they do a good job, because they think about the kids and help them to play even better.
Hardest thing about playing hockey?
If you are against a really good team, you need to have confidence. Don’t be scared of the team just because they’re bigger or older. Just do your best.
Eliza, Under 8 player
What do you like best about being part of Newtown City Hockey Club?
That I get to score goals. I like that, because it’s fun.
What are some really important rules in hockey?
You need to be five metres away from the ball (at a free hit) and pass to each other.
What would make half time better?
How would you encourage more kids to play hockey?
Just say `Do you have a hockey stick?’ and then ask them if they have a hockey ball. If they have those things then they can play hockey. And then I’d tell them to come and play for our club!
Kellie, coach of Under 8 and Under 10 teams
What do you like about coaching junior teams?
I enjoy teaching and I enjoy helping kids learn to play hockey and understand the game. And obviously it’s very rewarding to see the improvement the kids have made by the end of the year and even see them applying what they’ve learnt from the first half of a game to the second half. When you get a kid who has really incredible skills it’s just lovely to watch. It’s all really rewarding.
What do you love about the game?
It’s a really accessible game – easy to pick up from no knowledge. I enjoy the running I get out of it because I love running. And I love being part of a team. I also love that hockey is equal in terms of males and females and from the top our males and females are paid the same amount. I’m really happy and proud to be part of a sport that does that.
Come and join our hockey family.
Hockey is a family game, where players from 3 to 70+ can participate – for fun, friendship and fitness.
Newtown City Hockey Club welcomes anyone to come and have a game – whether you have played before or not. If you think you might like to play but would like to try it out before making a commitment, we have lots of ways for you to try out the game.