Scottish Hockey has tested a new model of participation through an Esports hockey test event at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
In an innovative approach to attract people from diverse backgrounds to the sport, Scottish Hockey has been exploring how Esports can grow hockey in Scotland, while offering educational opportunities to all.
The organisation has been working with inspiration youth Esports organisation The Brave Jnr, and Esports Scotland, to create this first of its kind offering.
The test event saw young participants, from non-traditional hockey backgrounds, participate in a day of Esports, hockey, and personal development activities at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
The participants played Rocket League, and then matched their goal-scoring exploits in the game on the hockey pitch.
Next year Scottish Hockey will look to deliver Esports camps following the same model of the test event.
Scottish Hockey is a creative, driven organisation, working to increase participation, improve opportunities and achieve success for our existing 14,500 members.
Currently progressing from the ‘Reset’ phase of its ‘Reset, Build, Excel’ strategy into ‘Build’, Scottish Hockey is trying to further grow the sport by reaching those who don’t yet know what they’re missing.
Competitive electronic sport (Esports) is ubiquitous in modern culture, with 91% of UK under 15s and 60% of UK adults playing some form of video game regularly. The benefits of Esports are multifaceted, from young girls who participate 3.3 times more likely to study STEM, to 64% of university-level gamers being physically active 3+ days per week.
Scottish Hockey intends to use Esports to augment its sports participation, education, and life skills contributions to public life.
In partnership with Esports Scotland and youth outreach group The Brave Jnr, Scottish Hockey will create a £20,000 multi-role Esports hub in the heart of Glasgow, augmenting the £5 million Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
In addition to delivering valuable Esports sessions and attracting a non-endemic audience to our sport, we intend to launch a wider digital strategy centred around this equipment, from exploring an alternative school programme to creating a Digital Brave Space for People.
At a time where 20% of deprived communities in Scotland struggle with digital poverty, and 36% of children do not have regular access to online devices for learning, Scottish Hockey believes this bold initiative by could pioneer unique, innovative, and meaningful impact by Scottish sport in the early to mid-21st century.
Scottish Hockey CEO, Barry Cawte, said, “I’m absolutely delighted by the success of this test event, and to see so many youngsters enjoying hockey, alongside gaming, shows we have a model where more people can access the sport.
“We’re trying to do something innovative to reach a more diverse audience for the sport, and Esports is a unique and creative way to do this. The partnerships we’ve built with Esport Scotland and The Brave Jnr are very exciting, and this test event is just the beginning of the journey.”
Scottish Hockey’s Esports Consultant, Ben Grant, said, “I’m extremely pleased by the progress that has been made by Scottish Hockey in a relatively short period of time to engage, stakeholders, and drive this brave initiative forward.
“At a time where Scottish sport faces mounting multidimensional challenges, from the value proposition of recreational facilities to participation, events like the one held today represent the best of efforts from SGB’s in the space to find innovative solutions”