In the first of a two-part series, Brendan Creed spoke with Harrod Sport to answer questions about his love of hockey, how the sport could be played more and why it’s important to have a wide range of sports played in schools. Tom Sorsby will feature in part two.
Both Creed and Sorsby, who both play for Surbiton, cite family ties as sparking their passion for the sport.
But not everyone will have this inspiration around them, and both players are calling for hockey, and other minority sports, to be encouraged more. As Creed says: “Connect with kids in busy cities and offer more opportunities to communities that have less access to astro space.
Another opportunity is to make international hockey more readily available in person and help exposure grow in that regard.”
1. How did you get into playing hockey?
Creed: I went down to watch my sisters who play hockey and picked up a stick. My family are all hockey or ex-hockey players and so once I picked up a stick, I went down and joined our local club (Bowdon HC) and never looked back.
2. A Harrod Sport survey revealed that 78% would be encouraged to play a specific sport if they saw it achieve national success. Did this have any influence on your decision to play hockey?
I don’t believe that national success was a driving factor on playing hockey. Social media wasn’t as big then as it is now and Men’s hockey in England wasn’t necessarily successful at national level. What I was lucky enough to witness was live tournaments in England that definitely influenced my interest into playing hockey (Commonwealth Games 2002, EuroHockey 2007; both in Manchester). I loved watching those tournaments live, worked at one of the tournaments and it was a huge factor in driving my interest to play hockey and take it as far as I could.
3. What excites you about hockey right now?
I love the sport and what I am excited about is the future of the sport and where it can be taken. We can create a larger connection to the rest of the country and be the next big sport to take over TV slots, making the game as accessible as we can via online platforms and TV platforms. Rugby was the first in my generation to break through, then Netball, and I really hope we take this opportunity to make Hockey the next sport to take mainstage.
4. What do you think could be done to encourage more people to get involved in hockey?
Connect with kids in busy cities and offer more opportunities to communities that have less access to Astro space. Another opportunity is to make international hockey more readily available in person and help exposure grow in that regard. I had an amazing opportunity to witness elite hockey on my doorstep and this needs to be happening more!
5. How important to you is it for minority sports (those outside of the big 5; football, rugby, cricket, badminton and basketball) to be televised in order to increase uptake?
With the generation that we are in, more and more importance is placed upon television and online viewing platforms (Youtube, twitch etc…) and so minor sports are using this opportunity to expand their previous potentially limited audiences. This needs to be encouraged and helped where possible to give other sports the same opportunities that the big 5 have had.
6. Do you think social media is having a positive impact on sport, especially in ensuring the popularity of hockey, and encouraging more people to take part?
I believe that it will do. I still believe much more can be done with hockey on social media and needs to catch up with the likes of rugby, football and basketball to really push interest on social media.
7. How important do you think it is for children to get a chance to try a wider range of different sports at school? Please include reasons for your answer.
The beauty of sport is that you can learn things from multiple different sports and they are transferable to other sports. I was lucky enough to play tennis, hockey, football, rugby, basketball, badminton, table tennis, pop lacrosse, rounders, cricket and squash throughout my childhood and loved every one of them. The important thing for myself as a child was enjoyment and the people I met along the way. I enjoyed the individual sports but it was team sport that I fell in love with. I also loved watching people find their passion in different sports and take those sports further, looking at the confidence in each of my friends grow as they found themselves getting better and better every time they played those sports.
8. What has been a particular highlight for you, in your career so far?
The commonwealth games 2018 was a particular highlight for me as it was my first multisport event and in front of a great crowd. I have a feeling this one may be even more special with it being in England and in my hometown where I was born too…