In this two-part blog, I’m here to take you on a little journey, the journey of Allan Orient, as a Hockey Maker at England Hockey. So, grab your hockey sticks and huddle up as we dive into why being a Hockey Maker is something worth doing.
These are really exciting times for England Hockey. Last year we saw the Women’s team write history by winning gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, while this year the Men’s team reached the final of the EuroHockey Championships for the first time in 14 years and won the silver medal. Our Hockey ID team also did wonders in Europe by winning a silver medal.
Having been lucky enough to be close to these players throughout the years, all these achievements seem personal for a Hockey Maker like me. It feels like you are part of all these achievements. It is a proud feeling to be contributing to the sport in whatever capacity possible as a Hockey Maker.
I’ve been volunteering in various forms since the 1980s when I first decided to give something back to Hockey. My contribution then was to start coaching the Juniors at my Club in Preston, Fylde HC (formally known as Springfields HC). I then moved on to coaching adults when I realised I could make a big difference in how they played the game and improve their performances. At the same time, I started to get involved with running a group of Venture Scouts with a friend. Although the scouting volunteering finished in the late 90s many of those scouts still keep in touch to this day.
My journey as a ‘Hockey Maker’ started at the 2002 Commonwealth Games held in Manchester. My first of three CWG, so far. At that time, my role was Assistant Venue Technology Manager at the main stadium, probably due to the fact that my whole working career had been in ICT.
It was another five years before my next major volunteering role, again in Manchester, this time for the EuroHockey Nations Championship. My role for that event, which was run by England Hockey, was back of the house as a Logistics person, but before the end of the tournament, I was advised by England Hockey that my skills were best suited to front-of-house, dealing with people.
This proved to be the turning point in my volunteering career and relationship with England Hockey and I have not looked back since. This experience was quickly followed by a number of other international events in successive years, which led me to be employed by the London Olympic Committee on a full-time basis to support the running of Hockey at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Over the decades I’ve been really privileged to volunteer at various international and domestic hockey events in the country. Some of the big moments would be the honour of meeting Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, carrying the national flag for Barry Middleton’s 150 caps and being Field of Play manager at some of the major world ranking international finals. But for me, the biggest moments must be receiving the two Hockey Maker of the Year awards, ten years apart. There are many more wonderful memories and moments over the years. So many it is difficult to remember them all after doing numerous events.
For me personally, to be recognised for the work and dedication that you put into volunteering is a reward in itself. I have been humbled and privileged to win the Hockey Maker Volunteer of the Year award twice. There are so many more volunteers that are just as worthy of the award. It’s not just about me, there are a whole host of people that you rely on to enable you to do your bit. Winning this award is me picking it up on their behalf.
In the next blog, I will be unveiling what a volunteering day looks like for a Hockey Maker at England Hockey events.
Here’s how you can be part of the Hockey Family – https://www.englandhockey.co.uk/faqs/faqs-hockey-makers/faqs-getting-involved/how-do-i-become-a-hockey-maker