It is my greatest pleasure to host the UK U13 Regional Festivals of Hockey from which the UK Lions are selected. These tournaments offer young players an amazing opportunity to play competitively above and beyond club level whilst also making a great many new life long friends.
The UK Lions provides the next step by identifying talented U13 players from across the UK and offering them a further opportunity to:
- attend quality coaching sessions in a selective environment without the pressure of further selection nor assessment;
- tour home and abroad under the UK Lions banner;
- make life long friends with other talented players from all over the UK, in a family-inclusive environment.
Over many years, UK Lions has provided a massive boost for a great many junior players in their development; through coaching that aims to inspire the youngsters by adding skill sets that complement what they typically experience in other environments.
The players in the UK Lions cycle are those who may be ready for a higher level of hockey but may not yet be old enough for that experience in their other activities. The list of past UK Lions is an inspirational one, and at the 2018 Commonwealth Games there were a great many former Lions playing for all the Home nations.
I am very grateful for all the support of coaches, officials, parents and previous Lions in making UK Lions and the Regional Tournaments the success that they are. All these people give their time freely and their contribution to the development and well being of young players is immense.
On the boys side our Head Coach is Mark Darlington and on the girls side is Sue Hutchings; both of whom have extensive experience in coaching and mentoring young hockey players. I also wish to thank Jon Colson the Manager of the girls Lions’ team, and the officials of the Leeds Club who officiate at both the tournaments – unsung heroes, they set the highest benchmark in maintaining the standards of play and behaviour. Finally, I must thank all the parents and families of the players for their involvement – without them the experience would be incomplete.