Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Indoor hockey to return, says Federation

Published:Monday | November 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Jamaica’s Ombretta Gordon (left) shields the ball from Guyana’s Shebeki Baptiste during the women’s final of the CAC Games Hockey qualifiers 2017 earlier this month.

The return of indoor hockey is on the agenda of the Jamaica Hockey Federation. That is the assurance given by Fabian Stewart, the federation's president, in an interview last week. Stewart said that the federation is working to overcome the obstacles that had blocked staging of indoor hockey tournaments in recent times.

"It's something that must come back to our calendar," Stewart submitted. The benefits of playing indoors were seen at the recent CAC Games qualifying tournament in Kingston. Fresh from hosting a regional indoor event, Guyana showed superior ball-handling skills and sharp penalty corner routines. The Guyanese won the women's gold medal and added a silver in the men's competition.

"We have not played indoor hockey for a time, (which is) just simply related to the cost", Stewart explained. "You know, somewhere like the National Arena or the new sports complex (National Indoor Sports Centre) is $300,000 a night", he estimated. "That makes it inhibitive for various associations like ours to participate in or to play tournaments like indoor hockey," he stated.

Despite that, the federation has not dropped its stick on the indoor version of the game. "We are looking at some options and it's something that must come back to our calendar," he said with reference to a form of hockey that has been played inside the arena in the past.

He also noted that the federation staged the first Hockey 5 tournament in Jamaica on September 30. Designed by the sport's international governing body especially for youth, the Hockey 5 format features 5-a-side games. "It is a format of the game that allows five on five, no short corners," he elaborated, "but allows the youngsters to be more expressive in terms of how they play."

"It's definitely going to become a feature of the game," he noted.

Another Hockey 5 tournament was staged at Merl Grove High School last week.