Currently, there are approximately 500 members in the Saskatchewan Field Hockey Association (compared to 10,000 in B.C.) but the sport is growing. Young people start in the Fun Sticks recreational program, for ages five to eight, and many are drawn to the sport through participating in Regina’s elementary school league. Programs include the Youth League (8-12), the Junior League (13-18) and an Adult League. These leagues lay the foundation for the provincial teams, which participate in regional and national tournaments. One of Saskatchewan’s most promising players is Tyler Klenk, an 18-year-old who inspired others, such as Jordan Soika, to continue on in the sport. Tyler is playing on the junior national team – one of Jordan’s goals – and is also attending the University of Victoria.
rules of field hockey There is usually a maximum of 16 players on a roster. In the outdoor version, 11 are on the field for each team. In indoor, teams play six-on-six, including the goalkeepers. There are two 35-minute halves. The sticks are all right-handed, with a flat side, the only side allowed to touch the ball, which means in order to move the ball, a player to roll the stick. Only the goalkeeper is permitted to touch the ball with his or her feet. Body and stick contact are not allowed, and the body cannot be used to shield the ball from other players. In indoor, a ball cannot be raised unless it is a direct shot on net and no one is in danger of being struck. Outdoors, the ball may be raised, but only in a safe move. Other equipment includes mouth guards and shin guards. Masks are allowed to be used by two players who are defending in a penalty corner. If a foul is called, the other team receives possession. For more information, see www.saskfieldhockey.ca
One attractive draw of field hockey is the small community. Jordan’s family has also become involved in the sport. His dad, Chris, has managed many of his teams, his younger sister Elise is involved in Fun Sticks, and his younger brother Jeron is beginning to find interest in the sport. His mom, Michelle, is on the Field Hockey Saskatchewan board as finance administration director. “It’s definitely a sport that is very athletic,” Michelle added when discussing the benefits of field hockey. “It’s a great sport if you want your kids to be active. Just watching these kids, when we come out and watch them, they’re having fun.”