he kept a tight goal during a stellar international Career WhiCh inCluded three olympiC games, noW he has been voted in as president of england hoCkey by the Clubs and assoCiations. so push Caught up With simon mason to find out What his plans are and What he is going to be doing for us in the halloWed Cloisters of bisham abbey...
Tell us how you see the role of president of England Hockey.
There is a fairly clear role laid out by England Hockey as to what the president's responsibilities are. It is very much a representative role because, as opposed to some of the other nations such as Holland and Germany where the president is the top dog, chairs the board meetings and leads the entire governing body, that's not what we have in this country. We have a CEO [chief executive officer] and an executive chairman in Sally Munday and Philip Kimberley, respectively. So
the presidency role here has always been far more of a representative and communication role. Having done bits and pieces of vice- presidency the one thing I personally feel is that there are a huge number of hockey players out there who have very little interest in what England Hockey does as a whole – and there is a massive amount of work that is done by many people. They want to play at weekends, they love the sport we have, but they don't really know what is going on.
So communication – that sounds great but how is it going to work in practice?
One of the things I did during the course of campaigning – and I think that was one of the first times anyone has campaigned for a presidency – was to communicate with individual hockey players. I actually emailed players and said: ‘you can't vote as an individual player, but your club can, so consider asking your committee to cast a vote’. Having established this email link with so many people what I now want to do – and this is something I have discussed with Philip and Sally – is to communicate with people on a different level. I think England Hockey do plenty of good things in terms of newsletters and magazines but those things do tend to get pushed on to committees and clubs and there are a huge number of people who do not even know who is on their club committee let alone know who is on the board of England Hockey! So what I'd like to do is create a structure whereby me as president, as a current hockey player, as just another hockey player, can actually communicate using all the modern
Simon mason – Hockey CV
Date of Birth: 30 March 1973
Three Olympic Games (1996, 2000, 2004), three World Cups, 1994, 1998, 2002, three European championships: 1995,1999,2003. Most capped British goalkeeper with 197 international caps (GB and England). DOMESTIC (with Reading HC); UK player of the year 1994, 2003,
European Club Champions 2003, four times European Club silver medallists, European Cup Winners Cup silver medallist 2002. Three times domestic league winners, five times domestic cup winners, two-time domestic premiership winners.
2009-10 season: played for Guidford in the EHL west conference.
director and owner Mercian Sports.
resources – like Facebook, emails and so on – can send out relevant bits of information but on a really personal level. So someone who is say playing for a club 5th XI, if they have registered on the Facebook site then they would get an email from me saying this month there are a couple of things you might want to know about. But it's not a big, branded email it is an email from me.
In your candidate statement you talk about grass-roots issues, so are you going to make sure the voices of club players are heard at board level?
Absolutely, yes! During the course of campaigning I probably had 20 to 30 detailed, almost questionnaires, sent to me by club committees with opinions on subjects ranging from the Single System to clashes on the Central Calendar, volunteer resources, all sorts. What I said was that where I have a personal opinion I will tell you, where there is a governing body policy I will tell you and where I don't know, I will find out. A lot of the answers I collated, so I sent back emails often to three or four people, but getting answers to questions people are concerned about is important. Yes there is a massive issue about the amount of JAC/JDC [Junior Academy Centre/Junior Development Centre] activities on the calendar that clash with club junior activities. I collated the answers and got back to people.
We think it is a real plus having a president who is an active hockey player do you agree?
Massively so because of the number of people you meet if you are at a
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