Team GB’s golden success in women’s hockey was one of the standout moments of the Rio Olympics, and Scottish Hockey added to the celebrations on Saturday with a day dedicated to the sport in Glasgow.
It was part of the “I Am Team GB” event – a nationwide campaign that has helped sports clubs open the doors to new participants.
Some of the Scottish Olympians played a part, including swimmers Duncan Scott, Dan Wallace and Camilla Hattersley.
The boost in profile has been perfectly timed, coinciding with the start of the new Coach Logic Scottish schools hockey league.
One of the schools looking forward to the new competition is Ross High. “It’s a fantastic idea,” said Active Schools’ coordinator, Mark Urwin. “At the moment, we can only measure ourselves against other teams in friendlies. The league matches are a new focus.”
The Tranent school is in the local section of the competition and will take part in the initial round robin matches against Trinity Academy, Kelso High School, North Berwick High School, Currie High School and Firrhill High School.
Ross High is a hugely successful football school. Last season’s winning roll of honour was: Under-13s, East and Midlothian league and league cup double; Under-14s, East and Midlothian league and league cup double; Under-15s, East and Midlothian Cup; Under-16s, Lothians Cup; Under-18s, East Lothian Cup.
But the good news for hockey is that the sport is attracting more numbers than football. Last season, the Senior One girls’ team made a great start to their careers by winning the East Lothian Youth Games.
“We have a great association with Ross High Ladies,” Urwin continued. “The school pupils play for the Under-13 to Under-18 teams. Some even play for the first team.
“When they leave Ross High, they then can go straight into club hockey.
“At the moment we have around 100 playing hockey at the school – more girls than boys – and there are weekly practice sessions plus the matches.
“We are lucky at Ross High. We have a local 3G pitch and the school has priority to use it up to 6pm.”
The hockey day in Glasgow was a new experience for the Rio swimmers, and they took part in games against some youngsters.
“It was a great experience playing hockey against the kids,” said Scott, a double Olympic silver medallist in the relays.
“We initially didn’t go as hard as we could, but then we found ourselves 8-5 down, so we really pushed our efforts. We still lost 10-9.”
Hattersley added: “It’s really great to see all the kids here. This is something I’d have loved to be part of when I was younger so I hope I can help inspire youngsters to get involved in sport, and enjoy it.”
Wallace, another relay silver winner, concluded: “Today’s been great. To meet everyone and take part in another sport away from swimming has been great. It’s the first time I’ve played hockey in a very long time. I played a lot of sports when I was younger and hockey was one of them.”