Tell us about Dacorum Roller Hockey Club and how it came to be formed…
We started out in March 1996 just having a skate and a knock about with our 10 year old son and his friends in a car park in Hemel Hempstead. We then approached Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) sports development team, and received a grant from DBC to purchase safety equipment to enable children to participate safely.
We set up the club to ensure inclusivity and affordability to anyone wanting to play inline hockey and we’ve worked as volunteers over the last 23 years. We have managed to accumulate a vast range of safety equipment for children to play safely (as equipment can be expensive and is prohibitive to participation). Anyone is welcome – all age groups from 6 up to 50’s+, all abilities from complete novice to advanced / very experienced. We have taught thousands of children / young people and adults to skate and play inline hockey over the past 23 years. We cater for children, young people & adults with disabilities and special needs, including autism & ADHD. We have a multi-cultural mix, and worldwide demographics of members including many different faiths and nationalities.
We also have a lot of families participating including parents.
Inline hockey as a sport offers sports for all and all together. It is one of the very few sports where genders compete alongside one another.
We have played in different disciplines both ball and puck and our pee wee (under 12’s) team went to nationals in 2002 and 2003.
Some people might think this is an unusual sport, especially in England. How popular do you think the sport is in the UK and is this reflected in your engagement with young people?
Inline hockey, skater hockey or roller hockey is a minority sport in the UK. Many people are only familiar with the sport of ice hockey, as it receives TV coverage. We recently attended a local physical activity fayre for all of the year 7 students and a fair number of the students were unfamiliar and unaware of inline hockey. They were very interested in the equipment and knew about ice hockey. Some had their own inline skates and a few had ice skated and one had played ice hockey.
The sport has greatly changed since we started back in the late 90’s when the majority of the teams / players / participants were children and young people, with very few senior teams / over 18’s. Now days the sport is dominated by senior teams with very few children’s teams
What can young people get out of the sport? How does it help young people?
We provide a service to our community, helping to keep children and young people fit and active, which promotes health and well-being.
They learn: new skills, healthy competition, teamwork and co-operation. They are rewarded for achievement and hard work.
Sport and physical activity are vital for young people and children; it gives them a positive focus alongside staying fit and healthy. Keeping children and young people active is extremely important as it can keep them out of trouble and prevent them from going down the wrong path. If the youngsters are really interested and engaged in a sport it will hopefully give them a sporting pursuit for later in life too.
What are the ranges of services you offer? Do you have particular sessions, teams etc?
- We have 3 training sessions a week.
- We provide 2 skills and achievement awards scheme, the 1st starts of from basics with 10 levels to be completed, each level increasing in difficulty, each level includes 8 skills, 6 of which need to be successfully completed to pass. The 2nd is 5 gold stars awards, aimed at advanced level of abilities, this includes 10 modules to be completed, each level includes 5 drills all of which need to be completed successfully to pass.
- We provide hockey for fitness, fun and competition, also friendlies, league and tournaments when numbers and experience are sufficient.
How has being a Member of Pro-Action helped the club?
Upon starting the club officially in 1997 our local sports development team at Dacorum Borough Council recommended that we affiliate to the Hertfordshire Association for Young People (HAYP) now Pro-Action, for insurance purposes and guidance, which we have always maintain to date.
Over the years, HAYP & Pro Action workers have supported the club with advice. In the early years we received a small grant towards equipment and used the associations’ accommodation in Matlock, Derbyshire when attending Inline Hockey tournaments in Rotherham.
And most recently, Pro Action have provided the 1st steps program, with advice and support for good practice. Along with courses for safeguarding, first aid, GDPR and many opportunities to attend other courses. And also DBS services.
Being a minority sport, Inline hockey does not have a big organisation, such as the FA, therefore the support and advice from Pro Action throughout the years has been invaluable
Have there been any highlights in 2019 for the club?
Although we don’t currently have any teams entered into any leagues we organise in-house themed club events, our most recent was Terror Night. We also attended a skating event at Castle Combe in Wiltshire last week and a number of our young skaters, and older ones too skated a marathon. At past events our members have used this as a fund raising activity for charities such as Water Aid, dementia and local hospice shops.
What are the plans for the future of the club?
We look forward to helping to grow the sport of Inline Hockey and promote awareness getting more children, young people and adults into participating in this great fun sport. And hope to have teams of all age groups participating in friendlies, league matches and tournaments. And help keep people active throughout their lives. Also making positive childhood memories.