One of the aims of the FIH is to inspire the next generation to play, watch and love our sport. Junior camps, modified games, inspiring talks from hockey heroes – all ways that the hockey community seeks to engage with a new, young audience.
But one writer has taken a different route to inspiring young players – she has created fictional hockey heroes in a series of fantastic children’s books – Die Hockey Kids.
Sabine Hahn is a writer and illustrator who was inspired to write about hockey when she was unable to find any books about the sport for her young son to read. “I loved to fill my children’s book shelf with plenty of books until the day I tried to find a book about my son’s favourite hobby: hockey. It didn’t exist.
“There was a lot about football but nothing about hockey. There were some skills-based books but nothing that was fun or a hockey adventure.”
That was four years ago and since then, the hockey exploits of youngsters Lena, Lars and Max have been read by thousands of primary school children across Europe. Hahn herself has been on reading tours in classrooms and hockey clubs across Germany and, in the past 12 months, she has seen her books translated into Dutch, French and English. The Hockey Kids also made an appearance at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin, where Hahn ran a stall and kids’ writing and illustration workshop. The children attending were also able to meet the hockey stars who were playing in the World Cup.
The story starts when the three Hockey Kids, Lena, Max and Lena’s little brother Lars, join the newly formed Hockey Project at school. Giving nothing away about the plot, this is a story that is authentic, highly entertaining and contains heaps of messages that reflect and enhance the ethos surrounding our sport. Equality, team-work, overcoming disappointment, the importance of practice and training are all covered in a fun way – and it is backed up with top hockey training tips from Hahn’s hockey advisor – FIH elite coach Chris Faust – too.
Hahn has now written a second book about the exploits of Lena, Max and Lars and, while there is no substitute for playing the game, this great series is the perfect literary showcase for hockey.