BUCS to launch National Leagues for menís and womenís hockey

BUCS Hockey - Sports Review
British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) will move to implement a National League for men’s and women’s hockey under plans drawn up by its innovative Sport Review.

The ongoing process, officially launched in May 2018, has reached the end of Cycle One and after an extensive consultation, a variety of new programmes have been approved to move forwards.

The hockey proposal, given the green light for into implementation from September, focuses on providing the best possible competitive experience through consistent standards of delivery.

Dan Tilley, Chair of the BUCS Hockey SAG, said: "The British Universities and Colleges programme has traditionally attracted a high calibre of athlete, and with the growing investment into University Hockey it seemed appropriate to review the leagues to ensure they were still fit for purpose.

"The review revealed the value of the current BUCS programme and the regard it had amongst student athletes, but there were also concerns about player load, umpiring standards and maintaining a consistently high standard of performance at the top end of the competition.

"As a consequence the BUCS member institutions supported the introduction of a new single national league structure with a reduction in overall fixtures to help address the concerns highlighted whilst still maintaining the integrity of the current competition.

"The sector has seen the success of the BUCS Super Rugby programme and it is hoped that hockey can reap similar benefits from its restructure."

In addition Heather Williams, GB Hockey's Head of Elite Talent Development, said: “We are delighted that the hockey proposal has been accepted.

"Bringing together the top teams in a national league will enable higher quality best v best competition on a weekly basis increasing both the competition experience and excitement for players and spectators.

"Raising the standard of our domestic game is a key priority for England Hockey and the changes to the BUCS programme are a significant step towards this.   

"We have been working closely with BUCS for the last 12 months to develop this proposal and our thanks to the BUCS staff and especially Dan Tilley for  their significant work in getting to this point."

BUCS – celebrating 100 years of British University Sport in 2019 – are consulting National Governing Bodies, its members and representatives from universities across the UK.

Over 80 sports attended a Briefing Day in May 2018 which outlined a new opportunity to propose changes or additions to the BUCS Competitions Programme.

The plans were reviewed and put forward for implementation after a successful meeting of the BUCS National Competitions Group on Tuesday 26 February.
The new format would see the top tier of each competition compete nationally during both the league and knockout stages.

Hockey are the first sport to look at a national league model for both the men’s and women’s offers concurrently within the same proposal.

The changes coincide with the conclusion of BUCS Inclusion Week and through alterations to BUCS competitions hope to enshrine the values celebrated over the last seven days.

Cycle Two, set to open in April 2019, will highlight possible changes or additions to the programme for the 2020-21 season.