UHU launch “Get involved, stay involved” appeal

Ulster Hockey and the Umpires Committee have launched an appeal for former players, players coming to the end of their career, teachers, supporters, juniors, interested parents and supporters to think about becoming an umpire.

With the increase in player numbers in recent years in the province, the Umpires Committee has recognised the need to look long term to ensure the future supply of umpiring talent.

Richard Kendrick, former Chairperson of the Umpires Committee said: “the popularity of hockey has meant that we have to think long term about umpire recruitment.

“While umpire numbers have not dropped, the increased participation level means that recruitment of umpires is vital for the future development of our sport.

“A perception of umpiring is that it is a role to fulfil once a player’s career is over. While we appeal to former players to think of umpiring we are also interested in other individuals who have connections to the game.”

He stressed that umpiring is a dynamic, challenging and fulfilling role. He noted that “Ulster Hockey has produced a range of successful umpires with one in particular, Colin Hutchinson, who has made local Hockey history with selection for London 2012 Olympics umpiring panel.

“Beginning an umpiring career as young as possible is encouraged due to the high development of hockey’s speed and skill. Umpiring at senior or international levels is highly attractive but there are many levels of Hockey to get involved such as Grassroots and Talent Development and provide a hugely rewarding experience,” added Kendrick.

The Umpires Committee liaised with Ashley McConnell from the University of Ulster’s School of Communication and Sports Studies student Peter Purcell, who produced a video to support the appeal.

** Ulster Hockey recognised the support in the project of Rowland White and Irish Hockey Photographers.

** Umpiring courses will be run throughout 2012. Further details can be found on the Ulster Hockey web site www.ulsterhockey.com

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