Olympians from Team GB’s men’s and women’s hockey team visited Lincoln to take part in a masterclass and officially open a new sports facility on April 11.
The state-of-the-art artificial pitch at Lindum Sports Ground off Wragby Road features high quality artificial turf, TigerTurf, and can be used by hockey clubs across the county. The county Hockey Association will run from the pitch in order to deliver various hockey initiatives.
Hurricane Sports organised an official opening of the facility, inviting Lincolnshire’s Mens Hockey Captain and 2012 Olympian Glenn Kirkham and teammate James Fair, and current GB and England International Shona McCallin to help.
The trio also took part in hockey masterclasses, helping around 60 children as young as four and adults perfect their skills.
Event organiser and owner of Hurricane Sports Gary Johnson said: “Today we had junior hockey players developing their skills, and invited three international hockey players to come and work with our Hurricane team coaches to help the kids improve their core skills through to more advanced things, like deflections.
“The new facility is absolutely amazing. The pitch plays well, it’s top quality, and I think it will help us attract more big competitions to the area.
“In May, we will host the county championships, so we’ll have a few of the top counties around the UK here to play Lincolnshire in the top category. That should help drive more business into the area, certainly for Lindum and hotels in the local area.
“The youngsters that have come today loved it. They’ve been getting their cameras out, having “selfies” with the Olympians and asking them questions. It’s been absolutely amazing and a great benefit to these kids, who will never forget it.”
After the ceremony, Glenn Kirkham added: “The three of us came down today and helped with coaching each age group.
“We’ve got to work with all 60 of the kids, and I even managed to get in a couple of shots at the goalkeeper!
“It’s brilliant to see though, because there is a range from those who are real beginners to hose who play quite a lot and are already in clubs, so great to see that mix using a pitch like this.
“I think the pitch is brilliant, really nice. Obviously I’m a veteran of a lot of hockey pitches and this one is of really high quality. It’s great to have one like this in the county, and to have the county championships played here in a couple of weeks’ time.”
He added: “Facilities like this make a big difference to communities. It’s just good to be able to have access to an artificial pitch. When I was growing up and playing for the county teams, there were few artificial pitches in the county.
“The numbers are growing now, which gives more children a better experience and more opportunities to play hockey and other sports and not get bogged down on a grassy pitch.”