Local hockey clubs are still thriving despite pandemic
Despite the disruption from the Covid pandemic, Mansfield Hockey Club and Ashfield Aztecs Hockey Club, and their joint venture of running Mansfield Aztecs Junior Hockey Club, are continuing to thrive.
The Kirkby Kingsway Park-based adult clubs have a long association with each other and Mansfield Hockey Club (men's aged 13 to 77) and Ashfield Aztecs Hockey Club (ladies aged 13 upwards) have supported each other, shared various home grounds, and attended events like end of season presentations evening together.
Since forming a joint junior section in 2016, both clubs have benefited from players coming through – and Covid has been unable to slow that progress.
“All three clubs are massively on the up, despite Covid, providing sports and opportunities to the local community,” said Roy Greasby, who includes Aztecs coach, Mansfield HC junior liason and Mansfield Aztecs Juniors secretary among his many roles.
“At the start of the 2016/17 season the two adult clubs worked together and started Mansfield Aztecs Junior Hockey Club for the first time. That has grown each year and has had a fantastic effect on helping to build and strengthen the adult clubs at the same time.
"Junior players are now regularly transitioning from junior hockey to adult league hockey that you can start playing from the age of 13.
“The junior section is run completely by playing members of the adult clubs, which now makes up a team of 18 qualified coaches and helpers. We started with just 20 members and now have 108 members with around 60 members attending each Sunday training session.
“Many of our kids are from state schools and do not get any opportunity to play hockey at school and many of the children have the same desire to play at the highest level. MAJHC help to give children the chance to achieve their potential and hockey dreams.”
The Junior Hockey Club has helped to strengthen both adult clubs, MHC have gone from three men's teams to five and AAHC, who had only ever had two ladies' teams now able to field four.
“It is fantastic to be part of such great clubs,” said Greasby. “We all work together to enable our friends, family and local community to enjoy sport and friendship at the same time.
“At a time when people need positivity, interests, engagement and exercise with others hockey ticks all the boxes and more. Anyone is welcome to come down and enjoy some free training sessions.”
Mansfield Hockey Club was founded in 1950 and Ashfield Aztecs Hockey Club around 1985 and they have had huge success in producing players.
"Our coaching formula has enabled many members to represent Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire at county level as part of the England Hockey player pathway and recently two juniors members were selected to attend England Hockey Performance Centre to represent the Midlands,” said Greasby. “Also, some of our senior players have gone on to represent their country at Masters level.”