Support through Sport UK spoke to Alex Cooper about Lincoln Hockey Club …
 
Hi Alex. Are we right in thinking that Lincoln Hockey Club is one of the largest hockey clubs in the county?
 
Lincoln Hockey Club, still known as 'the imps', is one of the largest in Lincolnshire and we’ve been going since 1898 so we’re a well-established club in the area. Our current plans for the future involve investing in a new, all-surface pitch based at the 'spiritual' home of the club right in the heart of Lincoln, where we’ve been based for the best part of the last 70 years.
 
Do you have both male and female teams and teams for both the young and the old?
 
We currently field two senior male teams, two senior female teams, a male veterans’ team and what’s considered to be one of the best youth hockey setups in the area. Junior players are catered for from the ages of five to sixteen years, playing in tournaments and against other club and county teams, until they are gradually introduced to adult hockey by joining one of our senior teams.
 
We’re always on the lookout for new players, though, and we’re open to fielding more teams should we see an influx of players to provide the demand.

And do you cater for all abilities?
 
We certainly do cater for all abilities. Beyond all else we are lovers of the sport of hockey, and are always eager to welcome newcomers to the sport and the club no matter what their standard of hockey. Last summer we hosted sessions specifically aimed at bringing newcomers into the sport. One of the great things that we’re seeing from the 2012 London Olympics is the increased interest in the playing of grass-roots hockey. We feel it’s crucially important to the future of the sport.

Why would you encourage people to take up hockey? What are the benefits?
 
Despite the obvious fitness benefits, it’s simply a great way to spend your Saturday! Hockey’s a sport with a similar format to football so the basics can be picked up with relative ease. Once you get into it you are always learning new, and refining existing, skills. Although hockey’s a competitive sport it encourages fair play and respect to your opponents, so despite battling against the opposition for 70 minutes you can still enjoy a pint (assuming you’re old enough!) and a good chat with them after the game. More than anything else it’s a wonderful social opportunity; the sport demands good team-work amongst your team-mates - these people very quickly become good friends.
 
Each hockey club in the country has its own identity and character, so either playing against opponents at home or travelling to away games is a great opportunity to explore the sport more.
 
If someone were to turn up at your club, what kit would they require?
 
Like any sport you can throw money at kit if you wish, but you can also get by on the basics of a hockey stick (prices start at under £10) and shin pads. England Hockey also, quite rightly, recommend the use of a mouth guard, though it’s (hopefully) rarely needed - hockey is a sport of sticks and a hard ball moving around at pace so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Is there a good social side to your club? Can you give us some examples of recent social events?
 
There is a fantastic social side to Lincoln Hockey Club, and it’s something that we’re unashamedly proud of. At root we all have hockey in common but the sport brings people together from different backgrounds so it’s a great way to meet new people.
 
Recent events include a curry night and a family-oriented games night, and next month we’re hosting a wine tasting event.
 
Thanks so much for talking to us, Alex.
 
Club: Lincoln Hockey Club
Brief Description: One of the largest hockey clubs in Lincolnshire, providing field hockey opportunities for men, women, adults and juniors.