• HockeyWales

VIRTUAL HOCKEY

by Robert Wheeler.


With no hockey being played due to the recent pandemic, Wales Hockey Women’s Senior Head Coach, Kevin Johnson has come up with his own virtual league for his players to keep their spirits up during these uncertain times.


The Wales Senior Women's (WSW) Lockdown Franchise League, with players and staff split into five teams and results, are based on the coach’s own algorithm system. 




Speaking to Hockey Wales, Johnson said: “We are a competitive group and also have a fine sense of fun, humour and banter and so I wanted something that happened virtually that included both staff and players to generate some fun communication between us all. We can't physically play any games at the moment so this is a way where we can still experience some 'Hockey action' albeit in a virtual world!”




Virtual Coach, Kevin Johnson


When asked how the algorithm system works, the coach explained,


“The system randomly selects actions and events associated with a normal game and player names attached to all these. I have tinkered with it with my coach's hat on to ensure there are some realistic chances of certain occurrences happening that are linked to real game likelihoods.


"It’s just a bit of fun to add some light to a pretty dark time for everyone at the moment and whilst we are all stuck with no sport and in lockdown it keeps us being part of something competitive that creates some chat and activity!”


Live updates on the games are posted into the squads WhatsApp group chat. With three games played so far Johnson says is going down well with the squad.


“The banter is flowing as it usually would when we are out on the pitch for real so I'm pleased that the fun distraction it is supposed to be is living up to it!”


The virtual league is not all Johnson is doing to keep help get his players through this uncertain time.


“All our players and staff remain engaged in senior processes with weekly monitoring, S & C sessions led online, I am personally having one-to-one catch ups with every player, our manager and physio are checking in with players around mental and physical well-being. We are planning a virtual camp in May so for sure our wheels keep turning as we continue to plan and develop as a group for the challenges ahead.”



The teams are as follows:


Swansea Sharks

Franchise Manager - Gareth Terrett (U23/U21 Programme Head Coach)

Team:

Theo Dowse - GK (Senior Programme GK Coach and Performance Analyst)

Leah Wilkinson (player)

Beth Bingham (player)

Carmen Ansley (U23/U21 Programme Physio)

Hannah Cozens (player)

Sophie Robinson (player)

Xenna Hughes (player)

Wrexham Wildcats

Franchise Manager - Jonny Harper (Senior Programme Physio)

Team:

Moses Lodarmasse - GK (Senior Programme Assistant Coach)

Jo Westwood (player)

Louise Loughlin (player)

Danni Jordan (player)

Emily Drysdale (player)

Nell Butler (player)

Sarah-Jayne Thorburn (player)

Barry Bears

Franchise Manager - Andrew Roberts (Senior Programme S & C Coach)

Team:

Rose Thomas - GK (player)

Meg Lewis-Williams (player)

Izzie Howell (player)

Sian French (player)

Izzy Webb (player)

Sarah Jones (player)

Amy Burton (player)

Newport Nighthawks

Franchise Manager - Ross Hall (Programme Psychology Consultant)

(supported by @USWSport)

Team:

Ella Jackson - GK (player)

Julie Whiting (player)

Lauren Dunn (player)

Rebecca Daniels (Senior Programme Manager)

Sara Davies (player)

Eloise Laity (player)

Phoebe Richards (player)

Cardiff Cobras

Franchise Manager - Walid Abdo (Previous U23/U21 Head Coach; now extra support coach)

Team:

Lauren Roberts - GK (player)

Jess Roe (player)

Emily Rowlands (player)

Cari Davies (player)

Hannah Griffiths (player)

Livvy Hoskins (player)

"Wild card" (person outside the group but with connections to it past or present that comes in and plays 1 game as an invited guest)


Current standings:



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