Sunday, May 20, 2012

Club warms up for Hockey's golden Ball | Expatriate Express

Hong Kong Football Club?s Hockey section?is literally having a golden season. On Friday, May 25?it celebrates ?a historic double league win, and?its 50th year, with a special Annual End of Season Ball. HKFC Hockey section chairman Charlie Poulton tells William Wadsworth about the local game, this season and next week?s swish celebrations.


Expatriate Express: How has Hockey changed in Hong Kong and at Club over the past 50 years??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Charlie Poulton: The game is totally unrecognisable today from where it was even 15 years ago, never mind 50, and the Club?s hockey season has moved with it at the same pace. It is perhaps enough to say that hockey is a very progressive sport, so much so that in fact I would say it is second nature to all hockey players, not only to embrace changes but to expect them. At the start of each season everyone will ask if there are any new rule changes for the new season ahead. Hockey, like cricket, is also experimenting with changes in its format too with different numbers of players a side and different pitch dimensions. Like tennis, the surface has changed and the weapons are no longer wooden. The leading tournaments have also adopted umpire-decision review systems and these tournaments are expertly streamed and presented onto the web allowing the sport to reach huge audiences worldwide. Hockey is played and enjoyed by large numbers of men and women all around the world and it is perhaps this last point that makes it a uniquely sociable sport between the genders, this has in fact always been the case, and I am glad to report that this aspect of the sport has not changed, it remains one of the most inclusive and accessible team sports for men and women globally.

EE: Are there any oldies about who have seen it all, who have any special memories or can recount any achievements?????????????????? Poulton: In our Club there are plenty! Gathering their insights will be a challenge, however a read of the Club?s 125th Anniversary book Along The Sports Road and a walk down the players? tunnel to look at all the hockey team photos over the years will give you some inkling of the spirit the infuses the section.

EE: Have you seen any changes in the game since you?came here?? Poulton: The game at the Club remains based around 15 teams, seven women?s and eight men?s teams, as it was when I arrived in 2000. Over that time the players have, along with the growth of the city, a great deal more to do in their daily lives and so perhaps the biggest challenge has been to get people to make the Club and the Hockey section their home from home rather than simply a multi-sport recreation centre. People are less able to commit than perhaps they were in the past and this has meant we have had to try so very much harder to get people to tour, to attend social events, to umpire, to help with the junior programs or to volunteer onto the committee to help run the section. We are however once again enjoying some considerable successes in all of these areas and perhaps that is also reflected in the talent that now plays for us at all levels. At the highest level, we have of course just won the men?s and ladies Premier leagues, (and the ladies? Cup) proving that we are as strong as we have ever been and that there is real camaraderie throughout each of the teams as well as between the teams at all levels now. Perhaps the most striking element of change in the game is the speed at which it is played. To win at any level now it seems that you have to be physically and mentally faster than ever before, the game is so much faster than it used to be. In Hong Kong we are also now seeing the top teams being paid to play, so our amateurs are now up against imported players from the sub-continent who are very talented and whose day job it is to play hockey. For how long we can continue to be the best, as amateurs against these professional teams, is a matter for conjecture, but I like to think that to win the Premier league you have to beat HKFC and that you have to spend a lot of money importing players to do so and I say good luck to them if that?s what it takes to lift the standard of hockey being played in Hong Kong.

EE: How would you encourage new arrivals and newbies to play or watch hockey in HK?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Poulton: We have a vibrant hockey community with over 300 senior players registered and a very active minis hockey affiliated to the Hockey Section. We regularly field 15 teams (8 Mens & 7 Ladies) so for those who want to watch some hockey, the HKFC hockey pitch over the weekend is normally a good bet! We welcome new members; particularly at the beginning of the season (late August/early September) when trials take place and team squads are decided. We also have a mixed Summer Hockey league that is open to all and is a fun way to keep fit over the summer; try your hand at hockey & meet new people! For all membership & hockey details please visit our website We also run special events during the eyar

EE: What are your predictions for the Hockey Olympics?????? Poulton: England to win the Ladies Gold/Australia silver/Argentina bronze. Australia to win the men?s gold / Germany Silver / Dutch 3rd / Great Britain 4th.

We wish the HKFC Hockey section a splendid Ball, look forward to seeing some pictures of the event, and invite readers to add their comments ? and Olympic predictions ? below.

Posted by admin on May 19, 2012. Filed under HOCKEY,SOCIAL,SPORT. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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