The Hockey Paper to kick-start #watchyour1s campaign during HockeyFest

The Hockey Paper has launched its #watchyour1s campaign to boost attendances at 1st XI level and reinvigorate match day atmospheres in the domestic game.

#watchyour1s will begin for the 2019/20 season in a bid to raise the profile of club hockey, with their manifesto calling for club members and general sports fans to watch the men's and women's first teams and make hockey a vibrant, atmospheric spectacle throughout the season.

The campaign is geared towards all UK clubs, from Premier Division down to regional teams, from Bowdon Hightown HC to Bodmin HC. 

They will be working in conjunction with England Hockey to really set the campaign in motion during this year’s HockeyFest, an event which urges clubs to open their doors and celebrate the start of the hockey season.

With some leagues starting later in the month and clubs playing away on the opening day, we want to highlight the best initiatives throughout September, be it derby clashes or fundraising events around watching the first teams.  

The benefits of hosting a HockeyFest event are clear. Launched in 2015, with over 1000 events and 500 clubs participating, research says that 96 per cent of players would like to take part in a HockeyFest again, while each club has gained on average 14 new members by hosting an event.

HockeyFest has a number of club strategies at its core, including being friendly, welcoming and social. Some clubs host mini tournaments, skills challenges and workshops for on pitch fun, while you can have BBQs, bake sales or picnics as part of a fundraiser. 

But you can also use a HockeyFest event as a welcome to the new season. The Hockey Paper is urging clubs to sign up to HockeyFest and organise events with our #watchyour1s campaign and competition in mind.

In a statement to The Hockey Paper, England Hockey said: "Clubs are the heartbeat of hockey and England Hockey fully supports the Hockey Paper’s initiative linking HockeyFest, the work being done by the Hockey Museum on club heritage and encouraging clubs to #watchyour1’s. 

"Our regular club player surveys and insight makes it clear that players love their clubs for being friendly, welcoming and social and these initiatives endorse this. 

“Building a great social experience around a match day with your clubs own role models at the heart of it is a great approach that a number of clubs already do really successfully.”

For more information on the #watchyour1s campaign please click here.

For more information on HockeyFest please click here.