Hockey: Indoor game in the spotlight

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The Independent Online
HOCKEY'S SHORT indoor season gets under way this weekend with various Divisional Tournaments, followed by after Christmas, the DTZ Midland's invitation tournament and for the women the second year of their National Indoor League.

The popularity of the indoor game, with the availability of so many excellent outdoor artificial facilities, has diminished over recent years and there is a fear that it may shortly be eliminated from the calendar. The good news is that Chris Spice, hockey's director of performance, is a strong supporter of the indoor game. The sad news is that because of the pressures on elite players, particularly over the coming years, most of them are likely to be pulled out.

"I welcome indoor hockey," Spice said yesterday. "It relates well to the outdoor game, is a good spectator sport and is very good promotionally. The problem is one of timing."

With this news it is good to hear of a club returning to the indoor arena with new vigour. Leek, who will be led by the Olympic gold medallist Imran Sherwani, will be competing in the DTZ Midland event for the first time for many years with the aim of reaching the EHA finals night at Crystal Palace on Friday 5 February.

Sherwani would be no stranger to hockey's night of the year, having appeared for Slough and Stourport in the finals on a number of occasions.

Dunton Engineering, a solely indoor club, made a big impact last year in the Premier East League and appear again today at Aldenham School with the nucleus of their squad coming from Southgate.

In the same league much is expected from Chelmsford who will feature several South Africans in their squad including Craig Carolan who was de-registered by Southgate last week.

Hockey's new chief executive, who had been expected to be named this week, will now be announced in the New Year.

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