FIH has concluded testing around Project HG – the evolution of Hockey5s which is currently being developed following the success of this discipline at recent international events, most notably the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014.

Over two days, FIH worked with experts and athletes from Loughborough University, undertaking various tests based upon the existing rules of Hockey5s.

A number of derivatives to Hockey5s were introduced in game situations in order to test various different rules, formats and equipment. These included trialing different pitch sizes, configurations and markings on the pitch; the duration of matches; rule and regulation amendments; the number of umpires required; umpiring guidance and a review of boundary boards.

The progress of Project HG has accelerated following the growing interest in Hockey5s over the past few years. As recently as this summer, international events have been taking place around the world, including the Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and the Mediterranean Cup in Malta.

This follows an extremely successful Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, 2014 where this discipline received a lot of positive feedback. There, spectators witnessed high energy action on the pitch, which provided 10 goals on average per game throughout the tournament.

Speaking of this testing, FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said: “While 11-a-side hockey remains the pinnacle of our sport, we must continue to look at different ways to inspire the next generation. Smaller sided games and exciting urban events are two elements that can attract and engage new fans of all ages and backgrounds - particularly youths who are the future of our sport.”

He continued: “What we’ve learned from working with our partners at Loughborough University is that Hockey5s is an incubator for new ideas that can be applied to other hockey disciplines in the future. One of these is Project HG, a very exciting concept which aims deliver a dynamic, entertainment-focussed complementary game designed to help our sport reach new markets.”

This is the latest collaboration between FIH and Innovation Partner Loughborough University.

In addition to providing expert staff, Loughborough University’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, several members of the England under-21 teams and three England International Umpires were used throughout the various stages of testing.

Speaking of this latest partnership work with FIH, Loughborough University Executive Director of Sport John Steele commented: “We’re extremely pleased to be working with FIH to develop this new, quick fire version of hockey. The 5-a-side format of the game has already proved a hit with spectators in the tournaments it has been played in so far, and it may well be the perfect tool to ensure hockey appeals to the widest possible audience.”

More information about Project HG will be communicated later this year once all of the testing has been analysed.