HOCKEY: Clubmark accolade for Carrick

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Carrick Ladies Hockey Club’s already thriving Junior Club programme has received a major boost with the announcement they have been awarded Ulster Hockey Clubmark status.

Ulster Hockey Clubmark is a scheme specifically designed for the Province’s clubs and aligned to Sport Northern Ireland’s Clubmark NI - the junior club accreditation and development programme.

Gaining this prestigious accolade through its governing body, Ulster Hockey, is recognition of the quality of the Carrick Ladies Club and specifically their junior development structures and practices in the key areas of management, safety, coaching, and competition.

The club says the award confirms that its Junior Hockey programme has demonstrated a clear aspiration for the provision of quality standards in all its activities and the prioritisation of junior development. This is regarded as a national benchmark for a progressive and well-structured club hockey and acknowledges also the contribution the accredited club makes to the development of sport in Northern Ireland.

Carrick’s Junior Club Co-Ordinator, Leslie Oliver, was delighted with the club’s new award. “This is an excellent achievement for the Junior Section of Carrickfergus Ladies Hockey Club,” she said.

“The assessment process for Clubmark accreditation entails a highly detailed examination of our structures and activities and we’ve been working intensively on this for quite some time to ensure we meet the required standards. Everyone involved with Junior Club is fully committed to its ongoing success and we are, of course, continually encouraged by the large number of new members who sign up each year and those who return season after season until they become of age to join our senior club. 

“We have always done our utmost to provide a safe and secure environment for our juniors to learn and appreciate the skills of hockey and this is reflected in the continuing growth of our club and the level of enjoyment our young members demonstrate to us week in week out. The smooth running of a thriving junior club of this size requires considerable effort and commitment by a lot of people and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, especially our incredibly hard working Junior Coach co-ordinator, Stacey McGookin, and all our other hard-working coaches, leaders, helpers, and parents who give of their time so freely to provide an excellent and enjoyable hockey experience for all our young members.” 

Coach co-ordinator Stacey McGookin added: “We’re especially happy to receive Clubmark accreditation in this our 10th anniversary year,” said Stacey. “Carrickfergus Junior Hockey Club has most certainly come a very long way since it was established way back in 2002 with just one single under-15 team. We now have no fewer than two under-15, two under-13, and two under-11 teams all competing regularly in Ulster Hockey, and an ongoing membership of well over 100 girls. This accreditation is most definitely the icing on the cake however, elevating us as one of only four hockey clubs in the entire Province to currently hold Clubmark status, the others being Annadale, Civil Service, and Dromore. It has to be a very clear endorsement of the excellent quality of our junior club and, hopefully, an encouragement to parents of young girls in Carrickfergus and beyond who are interested in taking up hockey with us.”