Field hockey looks to grow in Alberta

Field hockey may be one of the most played sports around the world but there are only about 1,000 players in Alberta.

Field hockey may be one of the most played sports around the world but there are only about 1,000 players in Alberta.

By hosting “try it for free” clinics around the province, the Alberta Field Hockey Association hopes to improve on those numbers.

On Saturday, a clinic was held in Red Deer for the first time at Hunting Hills High School.

About 15 young players got the feel of the curved stick, had a few laughs and learned about the non-contact sport.

Burgundy Biletski, Alberta’s field hockey association executive director, said field hockey is not overly popular in Alberta but with the increased exposure from these events interest in the sport is picking up.

Currently there are youth and adult leagues in Calgary and Edmonton. It is also played in Didsbury.

She believes there is a market for all ages in Red Deer.

“I think it would be a great to introduce the sport to Red Deer,” said Biletski. “If we had the three centres playing, there would be the potential or tournaments and crossovers. I think (Red Deer) would be a great area to develop as we continue to go through the regions.”

Biletski said compared to ice hockey, field hockey is fairly cheap.

To play field hockey, players need a stick, shin pads and mouth guard.

Field hockey can either be played indoor or outdoors on various surfaces. The 70-minute match with two 35-minute halves is played with 11 players aside in outdoor field hockey and six players when the game is played inside.

In the Olympics, the non-contact sport is played with 11 players.

Players use a stick that has a curved side and a flat side. Only the flat side can be used to play the ball.

The association would like to start a U14 league this year but if there isn’t enough interest they will shoot for next spring.

The next “try it for free” event is tentatively scheduled for April 29 at the high school.

“It’s a very technical sport,” said Biletski. “It takes quite awhile to master but it’s a great challenge, great team sport and lots of fun.”

Biletski played in high school, university and with the Canadian indoor national team.

“It’s a great sport to get into and it’s a sport for life,” she said.

“You can play starting from age four and on. We have people who are in their 60s and 70s playing.”

To find out more about field hockey in Alberta visit or

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month