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Men’s Hockey Face Biggest Challenge Yet at the End of ‘Invincible’ Season

Logo courtesy of KCLSU

Sport Editor Ed Ducker previews the Men’s Hockey event, as they look to take revenge for last year’s loss.

Headed into Varsity 2024, KCL Men’s Hockey are in an advantageous position – sitting unbeaten and at the top of their league. President and First XI player, Ryan Lai, accredits the team’s ongoing success to the introduction of an experienced coach, as well as crucial bonding and increased chemistry between the players.

Lai also suggests that acquiring new players has proven to be significant in their recent success. “The recruitment process proved to be very important. At the Welcome Fair and on social media platforms actively reaching out to people to join the club meant that for the first time in our history we have three men’s teams, and each team is the strongest it has ever been.”

The funding of the club should have been a crucial factor in shaping the team’s season. With limited funds provided by the KCLSU, the fees for equipment, umpiring and coaching have been largely paid amongst the players. Despite these financial difficulties, the results on the pitch have certainly been favourable towards KCL. 

After a disappointing but hard-fought 4-1 loss against UCL in Varsity 2023, Lai explains the efforts and mentality the team are installing in to ensure a repeat of last year’s result is not on the cards. “We take preparation against UCL very seriously, adding in extra training sessions on Sundays, as well as only the first team training on Mondays in the weeks leading up to it. We also choose our squad and line-ups early and to prepare the selected players for the formation, in-game tactics and how substitutions work etc.”

“It is most definitely not ‘just another game’. We believe it is the most important game of the season, playing in front of the biggest audience against our greatest rivals.”

Playing against a side placed three leagues above them, the team recognises it will not be an easy game. But they are confident in knowing that if they “put up a fight”, they have a chance of getting the job done. With improved tactics, skilful players and incredible league form, KCL head into the fixture with high hopes and a strong belief. 

You can watch KCL Men’s Hockey at the Lee Valley Stadium on 16 March at 17:30.

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