Ball hockey emerges as one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK, with Nottingham providing opportunities for people to join one of the many teams around the area.
Nottingham Wolves Ball Hockey Club is urging more people to take part in the sport, regardless of experience.
Ball hockey is an off-ice variant of ice hockey but is played on roller rinks, sports halls, or any other indoor venue with an orange ball.
The teams consist of five runners, with one member of the team in goal. The runners are broken down into three forwards and two defensive players.
Players from ball hockey clubs have the chance to represent the UK internationally in the upcoming world championships in Switzerland, taking place in June 2024.
The Nottingham Wolves under-16s coach Rob Clayton said: “I would imagine that there were only 200 people in the whole country playing ball hockey, whereas now we have well over a thousand, including a large number of women, which is positive for the sport.”
Rob was part of the original driving force of the BHUK Limited organisation in 2009; now president of the governing body for ball hockey in the United Kingdom, he welcomes more people to get involved.
He added, “Ball hockey is much cheaper, and the equipment and venue hire are a lot cheaper than alternatives such as ice hockey or regular hockey. This makes it a lot more accessible for people to join the sport.”
The club is one of the biggest of its kind in the UK. Founded in 1993, it began with a small group of die-hard players.
Now the club has 70 senior members and 30 junior players who have joined through the club’s Huskies Development Plan.
The plan welcomes any child between the ages of 6 and 16, no matter the skill level.
Rob Clayton said: “Our Huskies programme is growing year on year; the Wolves see this as the life and blood of the sport. Dozens of players that come through the Huskies programme go on to reach an international stage at the junior and senior level.”
The Nottingham Wolves have experienced major success, becoming national champions in 2011 and 2013 and runners-up in 2010, 2012, and 2014 in a period of dominance for the club.