Sport plays an important role in our society, contributing to national identity and wellbeing, but our country is facing a problem - too many young people are walking away, especially in their teenage years.

This is harming the health of young New Zealanders. It’s also stopping many realising their full potential.

Hockey New Zealand is joining forces with 5 other top sporting organisations and are committing to bringing the fun and development focus back into sport. They are determined to lead a change and to create a positive experience for all young people playing sport.

We’re asking all those involved in the delivery of youth sport to remember this: young people play sport to have fun with their friends. If they stop having fun, they stop playing sport.

Focusing too early on just one sport, putting winning before skills development and making young people train like professionals – these are the problems, not the solutions. Success should be defined by enjoyment, effort and improvement. There should be opportunities for all young people to be involved, not just those perceived to be most talented.

Key Principles of Community Hockey

The following principles should be applied by administrators, coaches, parents and teachers involved in leading, supporting or managing all hockey participation and development opportunities throughout New Zealand.

PARTICIPANT FOCUSSED Meet the needs of the individual

FUN Make Hockey fun and enjoyable for all involved

SAFE Ensure a safe, supportive and encouraging environment

INCLUSIVE  Provide equal and accessible opportunities for all who choose to engage with our sport regardless of ability, disability, race, religion, culture, age or gender

HOLISTIC  Provide holistic and appropriate development for all, including but not limited to; players, coaches, umpires, parents & whānau

WELLBEING Encourage healthy lifestyles and Hauora

Participation programmes are developed with ongoing participation as the priority by providing opportunities for participants to enjoy Hockey and fulfil their current and future goals.

With these principles in mind the game for u13 has moved to small game based. This does not mean the end of the game, but simply a chance for players to adjust to a new fast exciting game which will keep you engaged for an awesome hockey experience.

The benefits For spectators

  • Faster
  • More Skilful
  • Excitement
  • More goals

The game will be played

  • on a half field
  • 6 field players and a goal keeper. 
  • 2 umpires per field

Hockey Marlborough want to be proactive about the transition from small games to 11 A-side, which is what Year 9 and above (college/club) will be playing. To allow for this we will still play a few rounds of 11 aside at the end of the year 7 & 8 season.

Hockey Marlborough are also aware of the challenge this is going to create around coaching. We will support the coaches/parents with coaching for coaches nights and information packs to help the skill set.

With the dissolvement of Hatch Cup and Collier Trophy there will be no replacement tournaments/festivals created for the U13 space. We will still play the Top of the South games, which are scheduled for August and these games will be in the 6 aside format. This means we will still be having our Rep trials for the U13 Boys/Girls teams and development teams. We will also be holding more development/skills session so that players can increase their skill base without the pressure of winning.

More information on these competition changes are here on the HNZ website

For now if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact either our JDO at  or George at

More information on Hockey New Zealand’s changes can be found here