St John’s College Hockey boosted by Hamilton Homeschoolers

“St John’s has a small secondary school role in comparison with others in the Waikato, and with the international success of other sports recently, it has become clear that attracting students to play hockey was going to be challenging, so a long-term answer was needed.” says head coach, Aaron Barnsdall. “We discovered almost by accident that the homeschoolers had very few options for quality hockey once they passed intermediate level and were in desperate need of a solution, so we held our hands up. By including the homeschooled boys, we can now comfortably field two full hockey teams.”

NZ Hockey rules, however, stipulate that schools which include homeschoolers in their teams cannot compete in elite tournaments such as Rankin Cup without penalty. But Barnsdall is not concerned. “We are able to compete with no barriers in lower ranked tournaments and that is good enough for our development at this stage.”

With an average age of 15yrs, the SJC 1st XI hockey squad has a solid foundation to take on the larger school teams who have dominated the Hamilton hockey scene. Two years of intensive and often gruelling training has resulted in displays of good quality hockey from the young SJC’s. Only this season, their 1st XI has had a solid 2-0 win over Hamilton Boys’ High School’s 2nd XI, a defining point for the young squad. St John’s College is hoping that results like this will encourage more of their boys to get involved with the sport. The ultimate aim is to field a full SJC squad for the elite tournaments, and to continue encouraging the homeschoolers into the ranks for further development and growth of the sport at the school.

Media Release on 3 July 2011 from Barnsdall Hockey

Aaron Barnsdall