USA Field Hockey Weekly Report

Feb. 25, 2014, 4:39 p.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report - Week of February 24, 2014

We completed our first event at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. last weekend with the Under-12 and Under-14 National Indoor Tournament and it was some weekend. There were some excellent elements and some others not so excellent.

Firstly on the positive side, it was electrifying to see so many young athletes playing our sport. I had goose bumps as I looked out and saw hundreds and hundreds of 10, 11, 12, and 13 year olds working together as teams and having so much fun with field hockey. Spooky Nook Sports is an awesome sports facility. It is on a grand scale and our sport is absolutely central to the whole place.

On the “we need to take a look at this” side, as we well recognize there were a number of issues that were experienced by participants during the weekend. We had much feedback at our booth, at the Town Hall meeting and in our post event survey (more than 600 of you have completed so far). The predominant issue was with parking and getting into the venue. The next most difficult component was the time spent in line for food. The plan in place for parking and food provision did not work out as expected and as a result many of you had an experience that did not live up to our promise to you of providing premium events. Other core themes include a sense of being overcrowded, overly noisy in the field house, and there were also praise for the facility, the courts themselves, and the sheer impact of Spooky Nook Sports.

We are committed to our partnership with Spooky Nook who are committed to field hockey being an integral component of the complex. Tomorrow we sit down with our partners at The Nook and will review all aspects of the event, armed with all the inputs we have received. We will work to find resolutions and I will report back to you in due course - ultimately our goal is to provide an ever more premium experience for the athletes. After all - that is what drives us.

Spooky Nook Sports would like us to share with you the below note:

Spooky Nook would like to thank those that provided feedback from this weekend’s event. We were truly honored to accommodate an elite group of athletes.  After hosting our largest event to date at The Nook, we acknowledge that we have areas where we must continue to improve. We are working rapidly to resolve our parking issues. Parking and traffic flow will continue to be our areas of immediate focus and will be addressed for future events. 

As an organization, we are actively discussing solutions internally and with our local community/officials to resolve our parking plans. In addition to looking at our parking infrastructure, we will continue to develop clear parking directions on our website and social media, better directional signage on roads, and better communication at satellite parking locations for all guests of Spooky Nook Sports.

Due to the large volume of attendees at this event, our food lines were longer than expected.  While we worked diligently throughout the weekend to provide a quality food and beverage offering to all guests, we understand that additional food and beverage offerings need to be available moving forward.  We are in the process of building another food service area in our Field House that will help to alleviate lines at our existing food and beverage locations and provide a higher quality experience to all guests in the future.

Additionally, we are committed to providing the highest quality experience to all guests who visit our facility.  We continue to evaluate our needs in all of our operational areas and will be active in developing solutions.

Spooky Nook would like to thank everyone that made the journey to the tournaments this past weekend as well as our loyal members. The energy and buzz at Spooky Nook Sports was exciting during our largest weekend to date. We have heard your concerns and value your opinions as we thrive to improve our guest experience and continue to grow as an organization.

Final word, a huge thank you to the umpires, the staff, the coaches, the parents who all work tirelessly before, during and after an event to be sure those young athletes have the opportunity to have so much great experiences in our sport.

Today I wanted to share with you a new endeavor that was launched last week by our communications team headed up by Kait Mitchell (a former Ball State University athlete) and Chris Clements, the USA Field Hockey Men’s National Team Coach. It is a grand effort to show to guys (and, others) the training episodes of our national team as they go about their work-a-day in preparation for international competition. The team is chuck full of outstanding young and seasoned athletes who are striving every day to make a difference and to compete well in what is essentially cut-throat competition on the international side. Being cut-throat is not a pejorative, but rather a descriptor of the intensity of international play. Below is a note from Chris sent to many in the hockey community last week. It is meant for you, too. Please pay special attention to the link Chris introduces as it is the first episode of many that will follow demonstrating elite athletes’ lives at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center near San Diego (which is one among other venues that will be featured in the future):

Hi everyone,

To celebrate and further bring to light the continued growth and development of opportunities throughout the country for boys and men in field hockey, we are launching a year-long marketing campaign for our Men’s National Team entitled #NoOffDays. The initiative will be told through various media platforms including compelling video segments to help promote the sport. With this close-up and personal look at the team, we hope to further generate interest in field hockey through the voices and eyes of U.S. male athletes.

These athletes invest an incredible amount of off-hours and energy into our centralized training never losing sight of our long-term goal of reaching higher honors.  We hope in creating this campaign, future generations of boys across the nation will be encouraged to pick up a stick.

Please view our first #NoOffDays video and help spread the word.

All the best,

Chris

All the best to you, too, Chris and to all of the athletes and staff of our Men’s National Team!

Conan O’Brien: "Last week Russia won the gold medal in women's figure skating. The Russian skater said she was inspired by her family, her coaches, and what happened to the losing, and now missing, Russian men's hockey team."

Have a great week!!

Steven Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey
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