After getting approval and support from both Mayor Gary Christenson and Athletic Director Charles Conefrey, the Youth Field Hockey Program has finally made its way to Malden. It is run by head field hockey coach at Malden High School and teacher at Forestdale, Kimberly Barber.

This program is only in its “trial period,” according to Barber, where a lot of aspects in the program will be determined with time. Boys and girls between the third and eighth grades are welcome to join, but parents must enroll their children into the program quickly since there are only thirty spots in total for the program.

Children and field hockey members who participated in Kids Field Hockey Day. Photo submitted by Megan Downer.

Practices will be held at one of the fields of the Linden STEAM Academy from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in the springtime between April 3rd to May 19th on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Barber said that they will, “see where [they] will go from there.”

There are two major reasons that lead to the establishment of the youth field hockey program in Malden. Barber explained how one of them is that Malden lacks a youth field hockey team to “feed into the high school.” She believes that in establishing this youth field hockey program, it “would enhance the level of play once they get to the high school.”

Mayor Christenson shares a similar view that, “starting in the lower grades will benefit student athletes as they work their way up to the high school level,” and he is pleased with the work that Barber is doing in establishing the youth program. He looks forward to seeing the program in action.

At the moment, there aren’t any coaches or teams as of yet. Any training will be lead by Barber, and she plans to start the children off with, “basic field hockey drills,” which includes “how to hold the stick, carry the ball, drive, shoot on goal, pass, [and] tackle.”

The registration process for families is fairly simple, as far as registration processes go. Parents or guardians only have to email Barber at kbarber@maldenps.org with the child’s full name, the name of their school, their grade level, and the parent’s email or phone number. Also, paying a $20 registration fee, which covers the child’s entire stay in the program allowing them to borrow a lot of the donated equipment is a requirement too.

The profit made from the registration process, Barber explained, “will go directly back into the youth field hockey program.” Funding for the youth program came from the site DonorsChoose, where after Barber had set up a fundraiser and “[they] were lucky enough to have enough donations to fund the program!”

Barber hopes the youth field hockey program will eventually lead to a spring youth league every year. She plans on seeking out other hockey teams around the area for advice on what she “can do similar to what is working for them,” and apply it to the youth field hockey program. Her goal “is to enhance the high school team by providing this youth feeder program.” Once the children understand the rules and play of the game, “[she] hope[s] to get competitions as soon as [they] are ready to play,” before they can compete against teams from other cities.

Malden’s new youth field hockey program hopes to develop important qualities such as “love [for] the game, teamwork, endurance and strength, [and] respect” within the players early on.”

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