HOCKEY in Hartlepool has received a huge boost thanks to a sponsor’s increased financial support for a local club.
Wise Financial Consulting has backed the Hartlepool Caledonians Hockey Club since 2008 and recently offered to significantly increase its commitment, pledging £5,000 this season and then £2,500 per year
Owner Gavin Wise – who has a long-standing involvement with the club - said: “The success of my company presented me with an opportunity to give something back to a club that has been good to me for more than 25 years.
“I’d always been a sportsman all through school and began playing hockey in the 1980s. I went on to captain the town team for six successful seasons and at that time Hartlepool Caledonians went from strength-to-strength, regularly fielding three Saturday teams, an indoor team and a junior Sunday team. We were certainly helped by Team GB winning hockey gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
“Sadly, hockey has never enjoyed as much support as the traditional sports of football or rugby and it appears to have fallen from grace in the eyes of the public in recent times.
“Hopefully, this sponsorship will enable us to return the club to its former status. One of our key aims is to further grow the already thriving junior academy so that more young people get the chance to take part in sport and develop the key life skills that come with playing as part of a team.”
Wise Financial Consulting, which is based at Hartlepool Marina, offers independent financial advice on a range of subjects, including pensions, investments, mortgages, life insurance, inheritance tax planning, and long-term care planning.
Hartlepool Caledonians President Sue Tose said: “We are so grateful for the on-going sponsorship of Wise Financial Consulting and Gavin’s generous offer of increased support has the potential to provide us with financial security for seasons to come.
“We are currently working with Hartlepool Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Team and the England Hockey Board to promote greater interest and participation in hockey by offering free taster sessions to schools in the town, and the sponsorship means that we will be able to sustain the development of our junior academy.“
The club has also been able to purchase new strips – in the company’s colours – for all of its teams, and it can now afford to send members and players on specialist training courses.
The club currently has some 115 members, of which 85 are registered as players. Around 35 are juniors. Players over the age of 13 can play in the adult leagues. The club has one ladies team competing in the Durham Clubs League and two men’s teams playing in the North East Hockey League. The men also have a team in the Durham County Indoor Hockey League and they take part in the Durham County Summer League. There is a single, mixed, under-13 junior team that competes in the NEHL Junior Development League but the club hopes to launch under-16 and under-10 teams.
Anyone wanting to get involved (at any age) can just turn up at the club’s weekly training sessions. These currently take place from 6-8pm on Wednesdays at English Martyrs School but will switch to St Hild’s School after Easter. Alternatively, the club can be contacted via its website at http://www.hartlepool-hockey.org.uk/