Information for Members 2 May 2021

Hopefully you are all safe and well and are getting back to hockey of some sort now, or at least very soon.

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the progress made by our Club, indicate the events we are determined to attend and run over the Summer and how we are planning to take forward our new remit for Masters Hockey. We have also agreed that every current member will not have to pay any membership fee this session 2021/22 given all of the events and sessions that were cancelled in 20/21. So hopefully this should cheer those from Yorkshire up a wee bit.

Reminder of our Remit

That Scottish Thistles Masters Hockey Club, are delegated the responsibility, under the governance of Scottish Hockey, to take responsibility for the growth and development of all non-representative Masters Hockey in Scotland and to inspire and support all to play and enjoy Masters Hockey with their peers.

This was accepted by Scottish Hockey 5th October 2020 with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Scottish Hockey and the Club to be drawn up and agreed by both parties. In the first instance this will be for three years and include a review after twelve months.

Change to Constitution

At our EGM the remit was accepted and our constitution was modified to allow for all Masters, women and men over the age of 35 to join.

Going Forward

At our AGM a new Executive was elected and each person was given a clear role within the structure. At the same time a sub-committee was formed to be responsible for; all of the training events we organise, all games played as Scottish Thistles (both at home and elsewhere in the UK) as well as organising the squads for the many and varied overseas tournaments we normally attend (members have been emailed a list of names, roles and contact details). 

Clearly 2020/21 was a catastrophic year for touring and playing, not just for the ‘old masters’, we had twelve Thistles tours cancelled after March 2020. The most significant cancellations being the Spirit of Masters World Cup in Tokyo last November, and Bra Italy for June last year, where we had entered Over 60 and over 65 Thistles squads, probably to be cancelled this year as well.

We have planned, as far as is possible under current and forecast Covid restrictions, provisional games and tours in the UK and are planning to hold a ‘Four Nations Spirit of Masters’ invitational tournament in Dundee in August. Obviously more will be known after the 17th May, but planning does still have to take place (members have been sent our provisional schedule for the Summer of 2021 – check the calendar for up to date information). Please note that Scottish Masters Hockey is now responsible for all International events, however the vast majority of our Club members also play for international teams as well and we have very close links.

Strategic Plan

The new Executive Committee prepared a ‘Strategic Plan’ for the Club to “identify key priorities and map out a high-level timetable to enable the transition from the LX Club as was to STMHC with its expanded remit encompassing all non-Representative Masters hockey in Scotland”. As a result of this paper ‘Working Groups’ have now been set up and individuals identified to take the plan forward (see “2021 The Way Forward” a Summary). We are asking for volunteers from Club members to assist with any of the working groups.

Strategic Plan Working Groups

Section 1 Organisation & Control

John Bennett, Ian McCreath, Mike McInally and Jim Chisholm are leading the working group to look at this aspect.

Section 2 Members & Membership

What do we want to disseminate, how do we set it out for every member, who is it for, how long do we wait before any reply is needed. John Lees, Chris Heeps, John Bennett and Stuart Stephen leading the working group.

Section 3 Communications & Relationships

John Bennett, Alan Parker, Ian Downie and Stuart Stephen are to decide on the structure we need to get into place, decide on a domain name and report back to the Committee. We are to be independent of Scottish Masters but responsible to Scottish Hockey.

Section 4 Technology

This was seen to be an area that would depend on what structure we want. Whether the current website and social network structures are adequate for Club, as we expand our player base to all Masters age-groups, or not will depend upon the recommendations of the working group for section 3.

Section 5 Tournaments & Events

Ian McCreath, Sandy Weir, Graham Conkie, Duncan Mitchell, Chris Heeps and Mike McInally have formed a sub-committee, with a further aim to invite the ladies and other age-group reps or skilled people as this progresses.

Section 6 Fund Raising & Sponsorship

It was agreed that we leave this for the time being.

We are looking forward to the support Scottish Hockey can give us in terms of advertising Masters Hockey at all levels in Scotland, setting up links to their communication website and social media platforms, and helping set up ‘District Hockey’ events for all age-groups, women and men.

Alan Parker and myself along with John Lees our Secretary will be the main points for communication should you have any questions or advice to give.

Looking forward to actually getting out playing again soon.

Stay safe and I hope to hear from you all soon.

Mike McInally
President, Scottish Thistles Masters Hockey Club