NOW: Pensions helps develop men's hockey

NOW: Pensions Domestic League Launch Story

NOW: Pensions, the Principal Partner of Great Britain and England Men’s hockey, announced its continued support for the men’s domestic league at the launch party in London yesterday evening (2 October).

This is the first full season that NOW: Pensions, one of the UK’s leading workplace pensions provider, is sponsoring the league. To mark the start of the 2013/14 season, the sponsor hosted a launch event at Devonshire Square, London, with players from the NOW: Pensions Men’s Premier League playing in an exhibition Rush Hockey match and demonstrating their skills in the NOW: Hockey Speed cage.

Rush Hockey is a modified format of the game which NOW: Pensions is supporting to help England Hockey develop the sport at the grassroots. Accompanied with the exciting speed cage, the event in the heart of London’s financial district helped bring the sport to a new audience.

The event also coincided with the first year anniversary of pensions auto-enrolment in the UK, which lies at the core of NOW: Pensions’ business, and provided the backdrop for new initiatives which NOW: Pensions is introducing into the domestic league.

The NOW: Hockey Challenge seeks to develop the sport through the NOW: Pensions principles of Smarter, Simpler, Better. For the new domestic season, NOW: Pensions is helping to develop tools for hockey clubs to make their hockey life easier, both on and off the pitch. This will include a toolkit for clubs such as pitchside banners and marketing materials to help clubs both look ‘smart’ and promote the game in local communities.

NOW: Pensions will also offer coaching materials from England Coach Bobby Crutchley, team building exercises, physical conditioning and nutrition advice to help provide ‘simple’ tools for hockey clubs around the country.

Finally, to help provide inspiration to become ‘better’ local clubs will be given the opportunity to watch firsthand how the England squad trains.

Meanwhile the NOW: Hockey Bus will be supporting fans by providing free coach travel to the Domestic League Finals in Reading for the club which tops the Premier League at the end of the regular season. Both initiatives are designed to reward clubs and encourage fans to support their team. More details about these initiatives will be released later in the season.

Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions, commented: “This is just the start of our efforts to help England Hockey develop the sport, not only at the elite level, but also the domestic game and grassroots.

“We’re already supporting Rush Hockey and have developed a speed cage to bring the sport closer to the public. Hopefully the initiatives announced today will be a real help to clubs in the domestic league which we can expand as our partnership with men’s hockey continues.

“We’ve been delighted with our partnership with England Hockey and would like to wish every club competing in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Domestic League the best of luck for the coming season.”

England and East Grinstead midfielder Ashley Jackson said: “The very fact that we are having a launch event for the league here in the heart of London is important. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of NOW: Pensions and really helps to raise the profile of the sport.

“All of the players are really looking forward to an exciting tournament ahead and we look forward to the league finals in Reading at the close of the season.”

Philip Kimberley, Chairman of England Hockey, commented: “We’re delighted to be in partnership with NOW: Pensions and to have their support for the Men’s Hockey League. We are really excited about what we can achieve together, especially given the increased interest there has been in hockey recently.

“It’s great to see so many clubs represented here tonight and to introduce them to their sponsors. NOW: Pensions have some great ideas for this year’s league and I can’t wait to see who makes it to Finals Weekend.”

NOW: Pensions signed a four-year deal with England Hockey in April 2013 to support the elite squad, domestic game and grassroots on the Road to Rio 2016 and beyond.

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