World Masters Overview
From a small team of unpaid, enthusiastic, but experienced IMHA & WGMA female and male volunteers, World Masters Hockey (WMH) has developed into an organisation comprising an Executive Board (EB) and 5 committees. Close links with the FIH have been forged and WMH seeks to build the same kind of strong links with National Hockey Associations (NAs) through their Continental Federations (CFs). To grow Masters Hockey and meet its aims and objectives, WMH has to be more than just a platform for full international competition. It must also ensure that it does not overlook a bottom-up approach as well.
In the last 2 years, dozens of volunteers (from every continent) have been the driving force behind the EB and the Committees. Their great effort, commitment and determination is a credit to the Hockey Family, but these volunteers also need the support of WMH members, if WMH is to make Masters Hockey available to all.
The Development Committee (DC) Needs your Input!
Working closely with all the other committees, the DC must challenge conventions, examine structures and deliver a can-do approach to ensure the growth of Masters Hockey worldwide. Learning from successful NAs that have grown grass roots Masters Hockey, is a good place to start, but a key challenge is to provide relevant competition for all ability levels and all age groups, as that route will more quickly increase the levels of interest and the numbers of players and officials involved in the sport.
Masters Hockey at World Cup and Continental Cup level is well established and there are a number of NAs that routinely encourage multiple teams to participate, but the pathway for developing Nations is less clear. How does a Nation with a very small number of players make progress? How can WMH provide a pathway which will enable the developing nations to compete at the highest level? This is a key task for the DC.
Spirit of Masters (SoM)
South Africa created the ‘Spirit of Masters’ and kindly allowed WMH the use of the title for the level just below full international. WMH is aiming for SoM tournaments for both genders at all 10 Masters Hockey age groups (O35-O80).
One of the DC focus points is this tier of hockey. The DC’s view is that SoM has 2 roles:
- To ensure that the levels and pathways from SoM to full international are transparent to enable NAs to increase the numbers of Masters Hockey players and improve the overall standard of Masters Hockey in their country.
- To make SoM enjoyable and challenging enough to attract players who aspire to play at full international Masters Hockey levels and those who just want to compete at the highest levels without the commitment that comes with being involved in full international squads.
Click on this link to visit the current WMH SoM Policy and compare it with the list of ideas outlined below. If you believe that the inclusion of any of these would make SoM participation more attractive, then we want to hear from you. The same applies if you have completely different ideas:
- The management / selectors of teams entering SoM tournaments are responsible for ensuring players are of the appropriate standard.
- The average age of a team can be applied by countries with insufficient players of a given age group; e.g.; an average age of 55 or more, for an Over 55s
- To investigate different squad sizes to learn if larger squads attract more players or reduce levels of interest.
- Goalkeepers of any age are allowed to support larger squads by having 2 GKs
- Exempting from membership fees, SoM teams created solely for a single tournament.
- SoM teams may be invited to compete at full international level if a tournament has small, odd-numbered pools, but that option can result in SoM teams losing heavily against full international teams! Since the results of these matches do not influence progression to play-off positions, full international teams may use such opportunities to increase the pitch time for those who spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.
- SoM teams are not entitled to International Caps at SoM or full international events, but they can tally their number of appearances at that level internally.
- SoM events don’t need FIH sanctioning, but depending upon the level of competition, they might need WMH approval. However, all competitions should be registered with WMH in advance, to enable WMH to better understand the growth of Masters Hockey at NA level.
- By reporting results and events WMH can generate attractive marketing strategies, a positive approach and support NAs.
- SoM teams can be formed in a number of ways, but NA approval is the general aim:
- A specifically approved team / squad supporting the growth of Masters
- Geographic Regional teams that want to develop international connections and competition.
- NA B-squads to ensure a wider group of players are engaged.
- A developing country’s team made up of multiple aged players to allow them to play on an international stage.
Spirit of Masters Development
South Africa and Japan are keen advocates of SoM, so it makes sense to positively promote SoM in these countries at the 2022 World Cup tournaments.
The DC wants to urgently reach out to all Masters Hockey groups and NAs, to hear your views, learn from your experiences and gain a better understanding of how to progress the growth of SoM and Masters hockey in general.
To facilitate this, please use the Email contact section below and tell us:
- what you need from WMH to enable your team(s) to participate in SoM.
- Your thoughts about the ideas / approaches suggested by the DC in the quest to develop this embryonic level of competition.
It all starts in South Africa and Japan in October, so quick responses would be appreciated. The DC will get back to you as quickly as possible, to see if it can help you on your development journey.
Please get in touch.