The KNHB has received the team registrations for the 2021-2022 season from its 324 associations. In total, the associations registered 15,433 teams. Compared to the 2020-2021 season, this means an increase in the total number of team registrations of 1.7 percent.
When the team registrations for next season are compared with the 2019-2020 season, the first season that could not be played due to corona, a total of about 420 teams were registered. The number of teams that actually participate in the competition will continue to increase. It is estimated that 300 to 400 teams still enter the season during the season.
The KNHB’s competition management has noted, among other things, that the participation of teams in the senior competitions continues to rise sharply. This increase mainly takes place in hockey for 7 players (Sevens), which is played in the evenings on weekdays. The so-called Young-senior teams (up to and including the age of 23) also continue to gain significantly. In the youth there is a very slight decrease in the number of teams compared to the year 2019-2020, but at the same time there is also an increase compared to the past season 2020-2021. This increase is mainly reflected in the Youngest Youth teams (E- and Fjes). In the older youth categories, the number of teams decreased slightly by 1.7 percent compared to the 2020-2021 season.
Erik Gerritsen, general manager of KNHB: ‘The fact that the number of team registrations has remained so high despite all the corona perils is a great compliment to the associations and their volunteers. With united forces, they have also kept their members involved in the association under difficult circumstances in recent months. The internal youth competitions, online meetings and alternative offer for seniors have ensured, among other things, that members have not left the association. More than ever, the hockey world has shown that it is committed and loyal.’
Gerritsen continues: ‘We have been able to meet a great need with the regional competitions that the KNHB competition management organized for the youth prior to the summer period and, following later relaxation, for the seniors. Once again it became clear how nice it is to be able to play against other associations. We are therefore looking forward to the start of the competitions after the summer period and hope to see the 400 teams that we have lost since the start of the corona pandemic in March 2020 back on the hockey fields soon.’
Campaign: ‘Come to the club!’
In order to at least return to the level of 2019-2020 in terms of number of teams, the KNHB has launched the ‘Come to the club!’ campaign this summer. launched. With this campaign, the KNHB encourages and supports its associations to captivate and bind new members. The hockey association developed a promotional package with digital and physical tools, in which two enthusiastic and young ambassadors are central: Jolijn (11 years) and Jonas (14 years). They will show many other children the way to the hockey club next summer.
In addition to this campaign, the KNHB has been working on the ‘Flexhockey’ concept for some time now. Flexhockey is the collection of all flexible hockey offerings at the associations: flexible in form, membership, time, competition and team composition. This offer does not replace the regular competition, but rather complements it. Together with the associations, the KNHB wants to be able to create a suitable hockey offer for every (potential) hockey player. Flexhockey, for example, offers ex-hockey players the opportunity to reconnect with the sport of hockey and the hockey association in a low-threshold manner. At the moment this project is still in a start-up phase; In the spring of 2022, the KNHB and the associations hope to be able to introduce Flexhockey throughout the Netherlands.