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For hockey fans, players and clubs, Hockey Fest is an opportunity to see the social and friendly side of the game. The 2017 edition, slated to run from 19th August to 10th September, is opening its doors to existing and new hockey players interested in learning more about the game and joining the hockey fraternity. Individuals playing hockey for the first time or returning after a break are encouraged to participate.

Fiyaz Mughal, the Founder and Director of Faith Matters and Founder of the National Hate Crime Monitoring Project Tell MAMA, loves watching English hockey. He played the game from early childhood in East Africa until he was 18 years old. To former players like Fiyaz, Hockey Fest is a chance to get back in the game without necessarily playing; an opportunity to be around players, exchange ideas and inspire others to join a hockey club in anticipation of the summer season.

2017 marks the third year the event has taken place. The first couple of years saw more than 300 hockey clubs across Scotland, England and Wales team up to provide an open day style event. Based on the event, more than 80 percent of the clubs saw the positive impact of participating, with a significant number showing interest in taking part in future events.

The 2016 edition, inspired in part by Great Britain’s women’s hockey team winning an Olympic medal, saw more than 23,000 players attend a Hockey Fest event, with about 10 percent of participants being new players. Clubs that sign up to host can expect to get support from Notts Sport by way of giveaways, top tip guides and decorations.

Why Join a Hockey Club?

For young players looking to excel in the game, being involved in a hockey club allows them to play with different people, exposing them to various styles of play and talent. That way, if they do reach a professional level, they’re equipped to handle the different people they’ll interact with. Additionally, there are friendships to be established at a club and having a common purpose (to play well or win the league for example) instils self-confidence in the players.

While professional hockey players make it look easy on television, they’ve developed the ability to remain confident under pressure from playing in a club setting since they were young. That way, when they’re asked to step up in the finals of a big tournament, they’re able to go out and deliver the silverware.