Week of November 2, 2010
USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of November 2, 2010
Yesterday we announced a set of new properties (events) owned by USA Field Hockey. They are the USA Field Hockey U19 National Club Championship and the U17 National Club Championship. Yesterday’s news-release (read more) gave you a fair view of what the events are about and where they will be held in 2011 (on a superb new property, Sports Quest, near Richmond, Virginia). In this report, I wanted to provide you with the thought process we followed in developing these two new properties.
Simply put in field hockey, our dilemma is creating more opportunities for athletes to learn and advance in our sport. Our efforts within the National Office are to put into place a set of tools to help grow the game of field hockey at the regional level. So, here is our logic. The creation of a club national championship gives clubs a major reason for being. To strive for and win a national championship will carry much prestige for a club. We anticipate that over the years the cachet of these events will grow. In the first year (2011), selection into the championships will be on a first come/first served basis. We envision that after this inaugural year, regional qualifiers will be needed to advance teams to the national club championships. Our thought is that those qualifiers will be run by private event organizers (i.e. not owned by USA Field Hockey), but will be ‘sanctioned’ by USA Field Hockey through a new sanctioning program we are developing (sanctioning will provide liability and sports accident insurance protection, and other benefits that we hope will provide budget relief to private event organizers). Through the creation of qualifiers, there will be ‘more places to play’ and potentially more people playing, leading to the development of more clubs.
We see the U19 and U17 events as templates for other new properties in the future. For example, we see the potential for an U15 and perhaps an Open Club Championship. We also see this evolving into potential opportunities for men to enter the realm of future national club championships. All in all, the creation of next year’s two new properties and the potential in subsequent years of the development of more properties is all about expanding the base. Expanding the base provides more opportunities to play, helps in recruiting by growing interest in local areas through qualifiers, and helps our elite national programs by having more athletes available to eventually rise to the top.
USA Field Hockey’s Director of Event Logistics, Karen Collins has taken the main responsibility in operating the new events. The concept was developed through the collective brain trust of USA Field Hockey’s Laura Darling, Simon Hoskins , Karen Collins, Kate Reisinger , and Terry Walsh. Our USA Field Hockey brain trust received much input from the USA Field Hockey membership in developing the approach. USA Field Hockey listened and, indeed, we feel that a principal driver for growth of hockey is clubs and the development of new clubs. This effort should serve as a club incubator. I hope you agree, and I look forward to any comments or critiques you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By the way, USA Field Hockey is the designated national governing body for field hockey in the United States. That designation is made through both the FIH, the sport’s international federation, and by the United States Olympic Committee through authority from the US Congress. USA Field Hockey is the only entity within the USA that can designate an event as a ‘national championship’.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: ‘Paul, the octopus who predicted the outcome of all those soccer World Cup games, died this week. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that people send lemon wedges and tartar sauce.’
Have a great week!