Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tulip's Determined to Get More People Playing Ball!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tulip's Determined to Get More People Playing Ball!

Article excerpt

A TYNESIDE student is on a mission to bring ball hockey to the masses after returning from his latest tilt at international glory.

Northumbria University's Johnny Tulip was part of the GB squad at the 2013 World Ball Hockey Championships in Canada.

Despite a tough tournament for GB's men and women, the sport continues to make giant strides back home.

Tulip, who combines his studies with a role as a Student and Staff Sport Officer at Northumbria's Sport Central complex, said: "Essentially it is ice hockey without the ice and played in trainers.

"Ball hockey is a lot more accessible in terms of facility hire and equipment than ice hockey.

"Hopefully, as we raise the profile of the sport, it will become a much more sustainable sport than ice hockey in this country."

Tulip was joined by fellow Northumbria students Richard Worrell and Joanna Presley in St John's, the capital of Newfoundland.

However, Presley was unable to suit up after suffering knee ligament damage just weeks before the World Championships were due to start. Tulip added: "The men played in Pool B and we managed two wins from our six group games "We beat Armenia 6-1 and Hong Kong 5-3 but could only finish one place off the bottom.

"It was frustrating. We had a better goal difference than Hong Kong - and were the better team - but they finished third as they picked up a few narrow wins."

GB's women struggled to find their feet in a competitive group which included the hosts and the Czech Republic.

However, a confidenceboosting win against Greece in the play-off phase suggested Presley and co could improve their world ranking within the next 12 months.

Tulip said: "It is very small minority sport in this country.

"However, it has a huge following in North America and Eastern Europe - essentially countries with a strong ice hockey following.

"I represented Team GB at the last World Championships which were held two years ago in Slovakia and then went out to assist at the World Junior Championships last year in the Czech Republic.

"Every time I go away with a GB squad it is clear we are improving as a nation. …

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