Hockey Wales are undertaking a major heritage project to gather data on all former senior international players and matches. The aim - to collate an accurate record of former internationals who represented Wales and award a Welsh cap to every athlete.
This project has been a long-time ambition for Hockey Wales CEO Ria Burrage-Male, who herself is a former Welsh hockey goalkeeper. As Ria said “An intrinsic part of our future is our past. It’s shaped who we are, what we do and what we strive for. Our former international players paved the way for our current and future generations, and it is imperative that we celebrate this.”
“Sporting heritage shines a light on the evolution of all sports, from the change makers to the individuals who have been keeping our sport alive for over 120 years. As a former international and now CEO, I am thrilled and excited to share this evolution with my fellow alumni and Hockey Family.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Phil Bailey and Steve Knight for the endless hours they have given to collating and archiving our history.”
Background and vision
International hockey has been played by Wales since the first men’s game in 1895 and by the women since 1899. To recognise and document this rich sporting history, Hockey Wales joined forces with researchers Steve Knight and Phil Bailey and the Welsh Hockey History Project was born.
The vision behind this collaboration was to create a full archive history of all the matches played by the senior international teams and players, creating a full senior international cap history.
Allied to this was the creation of an alumnus of players – every player who had represented and been capped by Wales at senior international level. Once the cap history is complete, Hockey Wales will make a cap available to all players and, in the interim, organise events for past and present international athletes.
To create an accurate history of Wales’ international games and caps, detailed source research is ongoing through digital newspaper archives, Hockey Wales archives, and liaison with former players. Such a project will clearly take significant time and it is still a working progress.
To date, 783 matches have been sourced between 1899 and 2021, with most of the players and teams who played these games identified. The majority of the archive is complete pre–WW2, with only a few gaps to fill.
A lot of research has been collected for post-WW2 Welsh hockey, but there are significant gaps in this period until the FIH digital database kicks in. Much of this is due to a decrease of hockey reporting in local and national newspapers in the post-WW2 era. To balance this, an alumnus of players/coaches from the 1950s to present have been assisting with filling in the gaps and ratifying specific points.
The men’s research started later than the ladies. However, this has been greatly aided by the discovery at WIS of an old unsourced data base. Work is ongoing to source all games played and to date we now have a near complete men’s match and player archive from 1895 – 2003. This work has been assisted greatly by several former players supplying their detailed records. To date 656 matches have been identified, again most with full teams.
For both Wales women and men, the period 2002-2013 surprisingly remains the most thinly populated and difficult to source.
To complete a full history of matches and players, some challenges remain. These are:
Finding alternative sources to complete the gaps in match and cap history
Accessing match and team history for several overseas tours and tournaments
Creating an alumnus of players willing to share their records to help fill the gaps
Accessing paper FIH records for the late 1990s and 2000s
Identifying which matches were capped and which were not (in the end, this will be a Hockey Wales decision
Gaining access to additional research sources such as libraries, The Hockey Museum, and meeting with former players (which has been particularly difficult during COVID)
To complete the cap and match history with help from former Welsh players
To publish the match and cap database
To develop the Player Alumni
To hold a series of events for international players from all eras
To examine other non-digital sources to collect missing data and information
To achieve all of this, we need your help! If you can assist with this project and have evidence of outdoor senior Welsh international games, please email Hockey History at HockeyHistory@hockeywales.org.uk
Caps Celebration Evening
To celebrate the launch, Hockey Wales hosted it's first Caps Celebration Evening on July 15th, 2022 at Glamorgan County Cricket Club, Sophia Gardens. During the evening, caps were awarded to former internationals who travelled from all over the UK to attend.