USA Field Hockey NEWS Executive Director's...

Executive Director's Report- Week of June 21

June 21, 2010, 4:38 p.m. (ET)

Week of June 21, 2010

Stay to Play  Most of you are aware that we have been conducting Town Hall Meetings throughout the year and to date have had five. Our next Town Hall will actually be the Annual General Meeting to be held during Festival in Phoenix. The purpose of the Town Hall Meetings has been to generate thoughts referencing what members want from USA Field Hockey and what our membership would like to see USA Field Hockey become or if they want it to stay as it is. This practice is a healthy exercise to determine if this organization is staying contemporary with its constituent members or not.

In the midst of Town Hall Meetings, we get questions that may be considered a little controversial. We have had recently some questions referencing a newly instituted program within USA Field Hockey that carries a little controversy with it and requires interpretation as to what it is and why it is.

The program, Stay to Play, (aptly described by going to this link: provides that people going to USA Field Hockey’s National Festival (and, all other subsequent national events) must stay in a hotel booked for you by our provider in order to play. That may sound harsh, but there are a variety of reasons, and here they are: 

  1. Most sports organizations are following this trend. It allows organizations such as ours to justify to sports commissions in cities such as Phoenix that our event helps drive the economy in their city. That is a crucial element as often cities provide considerable services such as security, use of venues, and meeting rooms gratis or at a discount in return if positive economic statistics can be provided.
  2. Through our provider, JBS Destination Solutions, many levels of housing are provided and most often at prices better than any individual booking hotel space can find. JBS is providing a full spectrum of hotel price ranges and can even book a reservation in a hotel not on their existing list, however, their list is extensive with numerous hotels in all areas of the greater Phoenix area.
  3. JBS has served the needs for the field hockey community for years and knows well the needs and requirements of field hockey athletes.
  4. Is there a revenue stream to USA Field Hockey through this effort? Yes, there is (again, a common component of event producers). Our governing body, USA Field Hockey, is like all others in that we generate revenue from a variety of sources to underwrite program efforts to grow the sport.
  5. In this situation, it is an absolute win-win for all involved. Athletes (and, their parents/supporters) win by obtaining hotel prices based upon a large group rate. The sport wins by demonstrating to cities that the sport is large enough and can show enough of an economic benefit as to be desired in cities that are often destination points and provide sport presence to the mainstream population. USA Field Hockey wins by being a recipient of some funds that will help fund field hockey programs. All in all, it is a good deal. Let me know if you disagree (

Although it was heavily publicized when it happened, there is still something unique with what happened recently in San Diego, CA. recently. It was the first ever boys-only high school field hockey competition in the USA. The teams were from high schools in Southern California and were assembled out of La Jolla High School and El Capitan High School.

Here is an excerpt from the USA Field Hockey news-release from last week:

USA Field Hockey Men's National Team Head Coach Nick Conway initiated the series as a pilot project for a boys' field hockey development program scheduled to be implemented in 2011. He will serve as coach for the La Jolla High School team, while Sandy Martinez, mother of former USA U21 Men's National Team member Manny Martinez, coaches the El Capitan side. The teams consist exclusively of students from each of the two San Diego-area schools.

"We've been trying to create a program that will facilitate the growth of men's hockey within the youth ranks," said Conway. "Sandy's been developing boys' field hockey for some time."

To further that goal, Conway and Martinez identified the two schools as a good opportunity to implement their development program. Conway's wife, Paula, is a teacher and Field Hockey Coach at La Jolla High School and that provided an intriguing and convenient option for a second school.

Since my arrival some 6 months ago, I have been watching Nick Conway carefully as he developed and implemented plans for this Southern California project successfully, and is now in the midst of preparing the new project mentioned in the news-release for the development of boys/men’s hockey throughout the USA beginning in 2011. He is wicked smart and is passionate about boys and men getting involved. He is also frustrated in having but a small pool of players from which to select for the USA Field Hockey National Men’s Team, albeit that that small pool is competent and aggressive in ability. Nick knows without a proper developmental pipeline, the sport will not flourish, and I am betting that the project we will unveil in several weeks will be a homerun. So, stay tuned as we are definitely not forgetting about the boys and men of this sport.

My Father. Last week my father passed away and I was gone a good part of the week attending to family business. He had a long and productive life (he was almost 92 when he left), was a great athlete (he was crowned the USA National Bench Press Champion for his age group when he was 87), and genuinely was looking forward to leaving this life to see what actually lay ahead. Thanks to all of you who expressed your concerns. We all go through this process eventually. In my family’s case, our father made it extremely easy due to his forever positive outlook.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! “There are a lot of differences between basketball and soccer. For instance, in basketball, something happens.”

 Have a great hockey week!

Steve Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey