Excitement is building as the Japanese Hockey Association (JHA) is holding its first ever national indoor hockey festival in Tokyo on 4-5 May. Not only will spectators be able to see first-hand the pace, excitement and skill levels of indoor hockey, but the JHA has created an exciting programme of complementary activities to really entertain the spectators between hockey matches.
The festival had been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic-related restrictions but now it is full steam ahead as more than 50 volunteers have thrown there energy into making sure the venue is ready for the showcase event.
The festival will see 10 teams participating in this inaugural event, with entrants from U12s through to Masters teams. The participating teams come from across Japan.
Several former national team athletes are lending their support to the event and will be on hand to chat to participants, get involved in activities around the festival and to show their skills in an exhibition match.
The festival is being held at the Arena Tachikawa Tachihi, in Tokyo and a lot of preparation and investment has gone into making sure the venue, particularly the playing surface, is appropriate for indoor hockey.
Japanese sporting arenas use beautiful wooden flooring, so the organisers have made sure the flooring is protected from the scuffs and scrapes that indoor hockey sticks can make on the surface. To protect the floor, a special flooring material called “Sports Court” has been laid.
Speaking of the work that has gone into preparing the sports arena for this special event, Yoki Sakamoto, Secretary General of JHA, said: ‘To promote and to have our guests enjoy Indoor Hockey in a metropolitan area like Tokyo, we will carry out the tournament by taking our first steps towards exposing our guests to the excitement and skill of indoor hockey. Furthermore, a comedian named Lotti Nakaoka – who is popular among Japanese children and has hockey experience – will be participating along with celebrities famous among the young generation. All this has been made possible with the cooperation of our sponsors and many staff.
‘In addition, in order to differentiate from traditional outdoor hockey and to make the young generation familiar with indoor hockey, we will formulate a key visual that will be completely different from the conventional and use it for promotion and venue decoration.
‘We are truly grateful that Japan’s very first Indoor Hockey Festival will be held at the state-of-the-art Tachihi Arena with the cooperation of our main partner, Tachihi Holdings.’
Yoki Sakamoto and his team see the event as a way of introducing the sport to a whole new generation of potential hockey players and volunteers.
‘We hope that this opening event will be the new page for indoor hockey in Japan, and hopefully it will spread among various age groups, regardless of age or gender and will lead to the expansion of the hockey family of Japan.’