Kitty and Amsterdam Hockey

 

Kitty Van Male has been speaking about tonight’s mid-week clash between her club Amsterdam, currently third in the table, and ninth placed  in the Rabo Hoofdklasse Hockey league ,Rotterdam. Under coach  Peter Bolhuis, the team have enjoyed a run of four straight wins. Last Sunday Amsterdam took three points from HGC (4-0).  their tenth win of the season  for the champion of 2009, and took them up a place to third in the rankings making a place in the playoffs far more certain than seemed possible at the start of the season and they team still want to improve on that placing. Den Bosch are currently heading the table and have an impressive goal difference but there are very few actual points separating the top four teams. Out of that top four after a shaky season’s start, the Amsterdam Dames have now gone the longest without a defeat.

Kitty during the final of the Hoofdklasse playoffs 2009

Kitty tells us that things are starting to gel, the team is ,she says,  each game getting a little sharper and they feel they are now moving in the right direction. She feels they are playing better together, that the pieces of the puzzle are begining to fit but isn’t complacent and  she sees flowing form as a still developing feature of their game. Tonight they will host Rotterdam as visitors to the Wegener Stadium at the friendly club in the woods of Amstelveen. Kitty suggests that the Amsterdam  ladies seem to be jinxed in mid week evening games. She is reported to have said earlier that the team have yet to play well in midweek evening matches, although they have not been actually beaten – they made hard work of those games for example beating Hurley (3-2) and played a scoreless draw against their nextdoor woodland neighbours  Pinoke. She tells us that it seem harder to score  in the mid week games but is sure that they aren’t the only ones. ” I guess is is because people have to work or study all day and then play” she says but added that she has a free day today and so will be relaxing in the sunshine, sipping tea with her friends. She reckons there’ll be no excuses tonight and they can move it forward.

Kitty attacking down the right wing during the playoffs against Laren 2009 at the club's Wegener stadium, venue for this year's World Champion's Trophy.

ABOUT AMSTERDAM HOCKEY AND BANDY CLUB

Amsterdam Hockey Club nestles in the pleasant suburb woodlands of Amsterdam Bos , just off  Amstelveenweg one of the main arterial roads into the city centre. It is the oldest hockey club and one of the most consistently successful in the Netherlands, founded in 1892  and is also the largest with way over 2000 members. It runs some 124 teams including 30 senior women’s teams, 27 men’s, 27 bous and 32 girls teams, and one men’s vets team and seven women’s vets teams.  That enterprise is assisted by a small army of over 200 willing vounteers! At its heart is the Wegener Stadium with its covered main stand and staged open air seating along the length of the opposite touchline. This is  where the always well attended main games are played with a number of astro turfs centred around the modern and welcoming two storey club house, whose ground floor is office space, changing areas and with large modern restaurant /bar upstairs with a lovely terrace from which you can quaff a coffee or a beer and see across to the action on most of the pitches.

The heart of the club is it's well appointed family friendly club house

Amsterdam is the  European hockey club I have visited most often as a photographer  and I have to say it is my favourite and that I have always felt so welcome. I was introduced to international hockey back in 2006 and quickly became addicted to it as a subject of my photography when I watched the Dutch national team beat Australia in the final of the Samsung World Cup in Madrid ; Amsterdam players had a strong presence in that great team. I also had such fun with some of the players at the player’s disco after the final!  Later the same year I went to Rotterdam to photograph  a friendly between the Dutch and my own nation’s team and moved on to Amsterdam on a freezing evening when Amsterdam won their friendly against England at the Wegner. Although there were many photographers at the Rotterdam game, I think I was the only one crazy enough to brave the freezing conditions on the touchline at the Wegner.  I was touched how friendly the club was after the game in the club house.  I followed the team to Madrid the following year to cover their games in the European Club Cup Winners Cup in Madrid and again was  touched by the friendliness of the players and their coach Max.

Taken after a game with Pinoke on my informal visit to the club November 2006

2009 was another great year and I had the pleasure of photographing the Dames during their unbeaten run during the European Cup Winners Cup , hosted in my area, by a small local Premiership club , Bowdon. The whole team kindly signed a team photograph I had taken of them and graciously accepted a framed team photograph I gave to them as a souvenir for their great clubhouse. Sadly no sign of the great Mr Caldas as he had moved on to coach Bloemendaal’s  Senior Men .

The charming Elsmiek, Ellen and Sophie posing for me with their 2009 Euro Club cup winner's medals.

Well, tonight’s game at the club against Rotterdam will be starting soon and wouldn’t it be great to be there! The club has a very professional appproach to running the club and they have a very impressive list of sponsors which all top clubs in England would envy. But those mutual partnerships haven’t happened over night and have been part of a very carefully planned development strategy over a number of years and the result of a great deal of hard work.  It was a very pleasant surprise for me to be approached by one of their major sponsors after the victory at Bowdon in 2009 who had seen a couple of my photographs from the event which appeared in Hockey Weekly- they wanted a different shot of the girls celebrating to be framed and given to the team as a congratualtions present  when they visited the Eiffel head quarters.

Then captain, now at HDM, the gracious Miek Van Geenhuizen being presented, on behalf of the team , with a framed version of one of my images at Eiffel HQ.

So many great players in the team today also as standard including prolific goal scorer,  Fieke Holman, who I was pleased to see was called up by Max Caldas for the national squad this year and great to see him appointed as national coach.  She always showed such enthusiasm and committment on the field and such a fun person to be around!

Fieke Holman

Great too, to see Elsmiek Groen a pillar of this great team for a number of years and the exceptional talent of goalkeeper Floortje who I was so happy to see renewed her contract to the club more recently !

Elsmiek Groen

Elsmiek Groen

 

Floortje Engels

One of the great things about the club is the way they have embraced the media and technology to raise the profile of the game and the club especially with such powerful senior teams in both the men’s and women’s leagues. Their always exciting Hoofdklasse games regularly  attract a a large crowd and often a dozen photographers  as well as  TV and video cameras covering the games either from two towers or from remote controlled video cameras behind the goals. There is also an MC who delivers the expert commentary.  The 2011 World Champions Trophy will be hosted by the club and you can be absolutely sure that the event will be wonderfully organised and can expect a warm and vibrant atmosphere at this family friendly club.

TV broadcasting coverage of some top games at the Wegener.

One Response to “Kitty and Amsterdam Hockey”

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