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Fans from the Netherlands enjoying time in Fan Central. Pic credit Simon Parker/England Hockey

Fan central offers something for everyone

July 24, 2018

With more than 16,000 people visiting the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup over the first weekend of competition, it is no surprise that the arena at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre was rocking.

However visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park have also been delighted and amazed to find another facility popping up to cater for the thousands of people visiting the largest women's team sport event to be held in the UK this year.

"The fans are absolutely loving Fan Central, there is a real party atmosphere" Jonny Grange, Hockey Maker

If the Hockey Arena has been turned into the host nation's own hockey fortress, then Fan Central is the united nations, where hockey lovers from around the world can come together and celebrate the sport.

The facility, which can be found part way along the Walk of Stars, is full of retailers and food and drink outlets, as well as a giant screen where fans can relax and watch the game if they do not have tickets.

Many fans with tickets for one of the day's sessions are either starting their day at Fan Central if they have tickets for the second session or returning their once they leave the Arena after the end of session one.

"There is such a brilliant atmosphere here, we have been to Fan Central several times over the past two days because it is a great place to come between matches," said Fiona Shaw of Ipswich, who was with her daughter Heather to watch the opening two days of hockey activity.

And Jonny Grange, a Hockey Maker, added: "The fans are absolutely loving Fan Central, there is a real party atmosphere and it is great to see so many people meeting up with friends they probably haven't seen since the last World Cup."

Visitors to Fan Central begin their journey by following the trail of hockey stars that are painted onto the pathway. Superstars such as Maartje Paumen, Luciana Aymar and Naomi Van As guide the way to the retail area. Once there, the ever cheerful Hockey Makers are on hand to offer guidance and assistance.

Among the many attractions is the official retail partner Adidas, where many of the international hockey stars are making appearances over the course of the competition. Alongside Adidias are a number of other hockey specialists, selling a huge range of hockey equipment.

Another attraction that is drawing in visitors of all ages is The Hockey Museum. The interactive activities, plus the wealth of hockey history on display is really incredible and is a fantastic showcase for hockey's rich tradition.

There are also activities, demonstrations and autograph/selfie opportunities taking place throughout the tournament. The competing teams are making scheduled appearance throughout the competition, so this is a great chance to meet some of the hockey superstars who are making this World Cup such a dramatic spectacle.

Fan Central is yet another way that the organisers of this Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup have really addressed the challenge of making hockey an accessible sport that appeals to people of all ages and abilities.

For more information on Fan Central, plus a schedule of visiting national teams, click here.

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