Move heralds exciting time for hockey club

The new pavilion opened at Chichester College by Shelagh Legrave and Simon Pierce / Picture by Kate Shemilt
The new pavilion opened at Chichester College by Shelagh Legrave and Simon Pierce / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester Hockey Club are looking forward to a big season and a bright new era after moving into a new clubhouse and finding inspiration from two Olympic gold medal winners.

The club moved into their new facility at Chichester College three days after GB women’s hockey duo Sophie Bray and Kirsty Mackay delighted members with a two-hour visit to meet players and coach youngsters.

It all points to an exciting time for the club and for hockey in general and the club are hopeful they can become even stronger thanks to the new clubhouse and the interest in the sport sparked by the GB gold-medal win in Rio.

In a new five-year agreement with Chichester College, The Pavilion bar at the campus in Westgate Fields will serve as the hockey clubhouse.

The club already use the college pitch for matches and Mark Forder, sports and leisure facilities manager at Chichester College, said: “We are delighted to welcome Chichester Hockey Club to the college.

“The Pavilion opened earlier this year after being completely refurbished, which enables us to offer excellent, modern facilities to local sports clubs.

The hockey club are one of the city’s most successful sports clubs and we are proud they have chosen to make our Pavilion bar their new home.

Chi College principal Shelagh Legrave

“This is the second partnership we have agreed this year, following on from Chichester Runners, and I hope we’ll welcome more in the future.”

Shelagh Legrave, Chichester College principal, added: “The hockey club are one of the city’s most successful sports clubs and we are proud they have chosen to make our Pavilion bar their new home.

“We’re committed to placing the college at the heart of our community, and working with the city’s sports clubs is another step towards achieving that goal.”

The move was celebrated at the hockey club’s annual open day on Saturday with a ribbon-cutting.

The club have more than 300 members and field more than 14 teams in men’s, ladies’ and junior leagues.

Earlier this year, the men’s first team reached the national cup final – although they were beaten 3-0 by Beeston.

Simon Pierce, chairman of Chichester Hockey Club, said: “We are delighted to extend further our long-running relationship with Chichester College.

“This new clubhouse is part of our campaign to modernise the club and allow us to concentrate on our club aims of hockey excellence, youth development and fun.

“We look forward to many happy years here and I would like to thank Shelagh and her sports and leisure facilities team for going out of their way to make us feel welcome.”

Less than 72 hours earlier, hockey club members were visited by Bray and Mackay, two of the GB ladies’ hockey squad who won gold in Rio, GB’s first hockey Olympic gold since 1988.

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