Q. How were the National Championships in 2012?
A. Overall, the three National events were successful in providing good competition for our athletes. Field Hockey Canada will continue to work with the provinces to encourage representation from across the country at each of these events. FHC would also like to thank the technical officials and umpires for their time and expertise in supporting our national events as these individuals are an integral part of the championships.
Organizing a National Championship event is a huge undertaking for a provincial organization and FHC is extremely grateful to FHBC and FHA for the hosting of this year’s National tournaments. These events showcase the most talented athletes from across the country and I am encouraged by what I have seen in 2012.
Q. Is FHC planning changes to the National Championships for next year?
A. FHC is committed to the implementation of the Long Term Hockey Development Program (LTHD) as a priority across Canada. As part of the implementation process FHC is currently undertaking a competition review to ensure that appropriate development is aligned with how we teach field hockey. The review process will take about 8-12 months with preliminary recommendations expected by the AGM in June 2013. The recommendations will provide a framework for the next five to seven years. Next year will be a bridge year, essentially going forward with the same age groups as 2012 as the review is completed.
Field Hockey Canada has done things the same way for a long time. We are realizing the old system isn’t working in all areas. Traditionally, the championships have been a large part of the identification of the national teams. Athletes were spread across Canada and they represented an opportunity for athletes to participate in one place at the same time for review by the coaches. Today, the National Championships no longer serve the same purpose. The national teams are centralized in Vancouver where the coaches see the athletes in action on a daily basis. Moving forward we want to ensure that the competition is appropriate for the age and stage of development of the players. The potential exists to look at different options and models for competition ranging from a progression for younger age groups to a festival style competition.
Q. What do you expect to achieve from the competition review?
A. We want to create a competition model that works on the provincial, national and club levels. The model needs to be appropriate and aligned to accelerate sport development and participation. Philosophically, we need to establish the goals and objectives of the national championships and how these competitions best serve our LTHD needs.
Q. Who will participate in the competition review?
A. The framing for the review is expert driven, combining a reference group and an expert review committee. They will engage with the provinces to meet their needs and the expert work group will present a draft for feedback to the provinces. Once completed, we hope to have a model for the next 5 to 7 years. Changes during this period will be require gradual implementation.
Q. What are the initial steps in the competition review?
A. Our first priority will be to speak to the provinces to determine what is and what is not working. Secondly, FHC will ensure there is a full understanding at all levels of how the LTHD model functions. Consideration of both the LTHD and the needs of the provinces will review options such as tiering competitions to provide provinces the opportunity to compete in the most appropriate category based on their level of play; may be an opportunity to introduce clubs to the competition at the senior level to increase participation; and also looking at the possibility of combining provinces to have greater regional representation (i.e Atlantic , Prairies) which would require the collaboration of a number of PSO’s.