Why are we taking hockey to the Twickenham Stoop?

Twickenham Stoop preparations for the FIH Pro League
We are taking hockey to the Twickenham Stoop Stadium on Sunday 23 June, and would love to share more of the background to these historic fixtures.

Why are these game taking place at The Stoop?
First and foremost, these games have huge potential for the good of hockey. This technology could be hugely significant, not just for GB and England Hockey, but across the world. The ability to play hockey matches in pre-existing stadia across the globe would be a game-changer for the sport. We have already had enquiries from other nations about how the technology can be used globally for what has been dubbed 'Big Stadium Hockey.'

Why are England Hockey driving this?
England Hockey has continually pushed boundaries, last year we held the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup - the biggest women's-only sporting event the UK has ever seen - but we are not satisfied and we continually want bigger audiences for our amazing sport. The pitch technology is ground-breaking; ourselves and partners retain the IP and all being well it can be used by other nations, stadia and events in the future.

Who is making this investment?
England Hockey and its partners recognise the long term opportunity with this technology. We have had considerable support from Sport England, and in addition there are savings to be made by playing at a venue such as The Stoop which does not require investment in extra seating.

Twickenham Stoop preparations for the FIH Pro League

How will we play hockey on a rugby pitch?
Working with our partner Polypipe we're installing Permavoid which will allow us to build a hockey pitch over the existing rugby pitch, providing a strong base, enabling the grass to keep growing and supporting drainage. We're also using the new hockey turf developed by Polytan for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, which requires up to 65% less water than other pitches. The pitch being used at The Stoop will later be installed at Bisham Abbey for the men's and women's teams to prepare for Tokyo, and the Bisham pitch will then move to Lilleshall for young players in the country's National Age Groups.

How do we know it will work?
We built a test site at our performance home, Bisham Abbey and asked our GBR athletes to play on it. Working with the FIH we’ve used the player feedback to refine our design ahead of the matches at The Stoop.

Twickenham Stoop preparations for the FIH Pro League

How does the technology compare to previous temporary pitches?
This solution is very innovative because it is temporary, removable and repeatable. It is cutting edge technology and a patent has been filed to allow us to continue to develop this work. It is more flexible than the semi-permanent solution used in the Netherlands for the 2014 Hockey World Cups.

How long is it taking lay the pitch at The Stoop?
Work began roughly 6 weeks before the games take place to prepare The Stoop and create a level field. The hockey pitch has been installed now so we can test and give the teams time to train on it too. Importantly, the ‘pop-up’ pitch is intended to remain at The Stoop for a week beyond 23 June for community and other use, sharing the opportunity to play on this new international pitch. We have had a month’s lead-in time this year, future plans would mean that the technology can be brought in and out more quickly (10-14 days).

Who is bringing the technology together?
England Hockey are working with a number of partners: FIH, Polytan, Polypipe, STRI Group, Harlequins and Sport England. We are very excited to continue working with these partners in the future and are very grateful for their assistance.

Twickenham Stoop preparations for the FIH Pro League

What’s your ticket policy for this game?
A single ticket entitles you to watch both the women’s and men’s games. An adult seat starts at £34, while under 18s tickets begin at £11.50. Available at http://hockey.seetickets.com

FIH Pro League at the Twickenham Stoop