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This style of feature appears regularly in many publications and websites. Because hockey was blessed with excellent magazines for both the women’s and men’s games throughout the 20th century we are able to pick up on statistics and news from half a century ago.

The same cannot be said of a century ago as that was WW1. However, when we do come across information from that dreadful period we will publish occasional pieces on "Hockey 100 Years Ago".

The end of season and mid-summer editions of both the women's and men's magazines had a great deal of coverage of the Easter Hockey Festivals. These wonderful sporting and social events are not completely gone from today's hockey calendar but they are a shadow of what they used to be. An article in Hockey News entitled "Do These Moves Sound The Knell Of Easter Festivals?" was perhaps somewhat prophetic:

"I wonder how long it will be before we shall find it necessary to revise our thoughts about Easter Festivals in general, and also about the future of invitation clubs in particular. There seems no doubt that there will always be a demand for 'playing-for-fun' festivals. At the same time, it seems highly likely that official hockey will encroach, and that we shall see the day when, for example, the Folkestone Festival will be devoted to County Under-23 teams, or even County teams come to that."

The reports from just a handful of festivals listed hundreds of clubs and teams that used to journey to dozens of Easter Festivals throughout the British Isles. It is probable that in this post WW2 era a thousand teams took part in the revelry and rivalry of these great events. The Ramsgate women's festival on its own had 51 teams in attendance. All this would mean that over 10,000 hockey players would be filling up the hotels and boarding houses of Britain's seaside resorts. Such was the popularity of these events that most festivals had waiting lists of teams who wanted to attend. It was not just Easter though because in the month following, the Thanet End of Season Festival and the Isle of Man Festival both regularly attracted over 100 teams each.

Happy days!?


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