Day Three: Fans, cake and Bill Colwill

It's Day Three here in Moenchengladbach and the sun has deserted us. Two very hot days left many of us here in the Press Centre wilting. Not the evergreen Bill Colwill who I was chatting to at length first thing this morning. Amusingly, as we tried to remember the exact years of certain tournaments he mused that; “they all merge in to one these days…”  

Today though, it’s fresher but wetter. Shame, as seven ceiling fans have just been installed, probably at great expense to the German organisers. Big up to them in regards to the cakes. For many years I’ve listened to those on TMS witter on about a lovely cake from Mrs Morgan of Glamorgan, but to experience free cake courtesy of the hosts was sublime. Shame the man from Dutch radio just got the last piece of marble cake though.

Last night was a slightly earlier finish as Vikki and I decided Irelands’ defeat to Belgium could wait until this morning to be edited.  Vikki enjoyed a lie in whilst I got cracking at 7am. By 8am I was ready to upload to You Tube, discovering the windowsill in the bathroom to be the perfect place to get the best wi-fi signal.

Ireland’s men have just defeated the French with Ronan Gormley giving a fantastic interview following the match. The hosts are taking on Spain right now to try and book their place in Friday’s semi final.


Day Two: TV Signal and routines in place

So Day 1 was very busy as it always is at the start of the competition. Having left the stadium the night before with all cables plugged in we assumed we had a TV signal but there was no way to be sure. Arriving early doors on Saturday we found that in fact we had no TV signal! Well I say no TV signal, we had sound but we’re not making a radio show here. After some quick talks with the TV people we managed to get a convertor box…the last one! Then the pictures were coming through nice and clear.

Not much chance to see much of the hockey earlier on in the day but later as things began to get into place we got to watch some of the Germany vs Ireland game and then later on settle down for the women’s England vs Belgium. The day was swelteringly hot which made watching the hockey good, playing not so much.


Preparations for EuroHockey Championships nearly complete

I've tried to resist opening with: "After many months of preparations...." but after many months of preparations here I am sitting in the press centre in Monchengladbach waiting for the EuroHockey Championships to start. Today has been a bit of a waiting game. It seems communication between various persons hadn't happened and consequently nobody was quite sure where we were supposed to be setting up or where our internet connection was coming from. However, after a couple of hours of sitting around it was finally decided we would occupy two desks in the press centre.

Once that was done the T-Mobile guys sorted us out with some dedicated bandwidth. You can understand Christoph the Media Liaison guy not wanting us to clog up his Wi-fi and deny the expected 180 hockey reporters the opportunity to file their reports or send back their stills. We occupied ourselves watching the teams prepare for Saturdays start.

So all we wait for now is the TV signal from the OB Truck. Once we have that we can relax and wait for the matches to start, remembering to press record on our recorders of course.

The majority of the editing will be done by Senior Editor, Vikki Lawrence, with myself pitching in with a few games of course.


The History Of HockeyTV

HockeyTV has become the World's leading Internet Hockey Channel. HockeyTV was set up in October 2009 by Edward Cant, Mark Beavis, Tom North and Jan Rees to showcase the best hockey footage available on the internet. This is the story of how HockeyTV evolved from projects already underway in Sheffield.

Mark Beavis first started SHConlineTV in September 2005 with Jan Rees to film and broadcast Sheffield Hallam's National League matches. The concept was realised after a pub conversation with Sheffield Hockey Club's web-master Mark Wilson. Initially Beavis and Rees filmed matches and Wilson edited them and set them to music. At this point there was no commentary.

With Sheffield Hallam involved in the playoffs on home turf at Abbeydale in April 2007, SHConlineTV embarked on its first national event. Highlights of some of that days play were available the very same evening. The County Championships, also held in Sheffield that year, became the channels second major event to be covered. By this time Jon Beeden and Neil Mountjoy were providing commentary and Juliette Banks had become "The face" of SHConlineTV, introducing each highlights package. Richard Stainthorpe, now working for the EuroHockey League, provided expert summaries and some commentary at both events.

On the back of this, Sheffield Hockey Club members Sue Catton and Andy Tapley, who also sat on the England Hockey Board, pushed for EHTV to be set up. In January 2008 SHConlineTV was commissioned to film the EuroHockey Indoor Challenge at Sheffield's Ponds Forge Centre for the fledgling EHTV. A further commission took the crew to Eastleigh for the Indoor Tri-Nations in December 2008. SHConlineTV covered both the 2008 and 2009 National 2ndXI Finals as Sheffield were involved. On both occasion a team of four covered the event. Juliette Banks presented the coverage with commentary provided by Jon Beeden. James Bilham, Sheffield's losing captain in 2008 joined Jon as summariser in 2009, witnessing a Sheffield comeback from 3-0 down to win the match on flicks.

In the autumn of 2009 it was decided to explore the possibilities of developing hockey coverage to a wider audience on the internet. Edward Cant was working on a number of projects and developed the HockeyTV site to broadcast footage whilst ReeBe Media, a media production company owned by Mark Beavis and Jan Rees, was created to produce footage for broadcast. There followed a trip to Cardiff to cover the EuroHockey Clubs Trophy over the 2010 Easter weekend, where footage produced by ReeBe Media was broadcast on the HockeyTV platform. ITV Wales also took ReeBe footage and showed brief highlights in its evening news programmes. Tom North was Senior Editor with Mark Beavis introducing the highlights. Jon Beeden was on commentary for most of the event but was joined by Neil Mountjoy on the last day.

Also in the autumn of 2009, ReeBe Media worked with the team at SHConlineTV to experiment with the production of a LIVE chat show. The half hour show, "Team Talk", was broadcast  once a month from Jonny Beeden's flat and ran for four episodes in its first season and five episodes, including and hour long Christmas special, in its second. The show normally featured one mens and one womens first team player, highlights of matches and the monthly 200 Club Draw with Chris Wilkins. There was also the live chatroom which caused a certain degree of humour. "Team Talk" was commissioned to replace "D2D" which had run for three seasons. "D2D" featured highlights of matches other than the 1st teams and the more off beat life at a hockey club. The show was presented in its second year by the puppet characters of Wally and Scotty, although they were phased out, ending up on Jan Ree's allotment. They returned in a "one off adventure" during the Christmas Special of "Team Talk" in December 2010. However, audience numbers for "Team Talk" were generally low and the decision was made in February 2011 to pull the show.

ReeBe Media did however exploit this new found medium by facilitating a LIVE cookery demonstration via the Livestream web site for the Meadowhall shopping Centre in April 2011. 2009 also saw the recruitment of Georgeina Dearden as "The New Face," following Juliette's departure to London. Tom North took over the primary editing duties for SHConlineTV.

In March 2010 HockeyTV was at Abbeydale to cover the BUCS Hockey Championship Finals, an event which was covered the following year as well. In the first year, the highlights packages were produced by TPN Productions as Tom North had set up his own production company. Commentary for both events was provided by the dulcet tones of Matt Gough. There was another debut in the commentary box in June 2010 as Jack Rodgers described the action at the Mixed Hockey Finals.

The biggest commission to date was the Women's Champions Trophy in Nottingham in July 2010, where ReeBe took responsibility for over 90 hours of broadcasting via the big screens and a network of monitors around the event venue. Juliette returned and worked alongside Georgina presenting daily review shows produced by Oli Rogers. Meanwhile Thomas North worked tirelessly producing endless match highlights packages to play out on the big screen with commentary from Neil Mountjoy and Jon Beeden. England international, Becky Herbert, joined the team as a summariser for a couple of games. Dutch film maker and hockey fanatic, Eva Knoet was recruited to take on the role of Director, masterminding the scheduling of features and highlights. Stadium announcer Howard Bentham came up with the idea of the event having its own version of Paul the Psychic octopus, a German sensation during the 2010 South Africa FIFA World Cup. Within 24hrs the ReeBe team had produced footage of Robin predicting the result of each game. Naturally he chose the host nation each time!! 

ReeBe then invested heavily in getting to major hockey events in the pursuit of premium footage. The England Under 21s were followed to the EuroHockey Junior Nations in Poland. There was a massive response to the coverage with the England Hockey website embedding HockeyTV highlights. Mark Beavis filmed and edited the programmes with Jon Beeden on commentary. The covarage consisted of highlights only programmes and also a "Daily Show". This involved Beavis and Beeden sitting in front of a backdrop of the Katowice skyline introducing and commenting on the action. Team manager Andy Halliday was so impressed with the coverage that he invited ReeBe Media to cover a charity cricket match between the England Hockey team and his local side, Hawridge and Cholesbury. Barry Middleton, Richard Mantell, Ashley Jackson and Halliday himself were all interviewed as the match progressed around them.

Extensive coverage of the domestic indoor hockey leagues in January 2011 was followed by a trip to Lucerne to cover the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Cup. At this event Reebe Media were able to sell footage to a German TV station. Tom Noth was Senior Editor with Jon Beeden providing commentary. Mark Beavis presented the highlights and carried out interviews whilst Phil Mason was Senior Cameraman.

Back in England, HockeyTV continued to show domestic matches from the England Hockey League courtesy of footage produced by Oli Rogers. Tom Herring at Galvinsed Media provided a number of highlights packages, mostly featuring Reading, presented by Russell Butt. The peak of the domestic coverage being the EHL Premiership Finals, shown on HockeyTV for the first time. This was followed a month later with the English Cup Finals, another first for HockeyTV. Jack Rodgers provided commentary at the playoffs and was joined by Jon Beeden for the finals.

In between those domestic finals, a crew of four headed to Rome for the 2011 EuroHockey Clubs Trophy where their work work was warmly received. Neil Mountjoy provided commentary whilst Vikki Lawrence joined the team for the first time as Senior Editor, a role she also carried out at the Cup Finals a month later. A slightly different approach to the coverage meant that match highlights were broadcast without introductions and outros except for the final and the four daily shows. The daily shows had disappointing audiences and the decision was made that they would not feature again in HockeyTV's coverage.

As the summer of 2011 progresses and the brand becomes stronger, more and more footage is self produced by HockeyTV, with ReeBe Media the umbrella body. At the same time EHTV seems to produce less and less with the England Hockey website relying more and more on footage produced by HockeyTV being embedded in to its articles.

In June 2011, HockeyTV yet again covered both the Mens Senior County Finals and the Mixed Hockey Finals, both being held in Sheffield. Jack Rodgers commentated on Saturday's B and C finals whilst Jon Beeden was joined by Neil Mountjoy for the A division final. For the Mixed finals Beeden and Rodgers shared the commentating duties whilst Mark Beavis presented coverage for both. Phil Mason was senior cameraman for the County Finals with Vikki Lawrence being the senior editor at both.

HockeyTV will also be sending a small team to the EuroHockey Nations in Monchengladbach in August 2011. Contracts have been signed for coverage of all 40 matches to be shown as 10 minute packages.

Watch this space...


HockeyTV in the The Star Newspaper, Sheffield. 

editorial image

L- R: Tom North and Mark Beavis, founders of Hockey TV, with presenter, Jon Beeden (back).

Published on Tue Feb 01 10:43:41 GMT 2011

WHAT do you do if you don’t like what’s on TV?

If you’re these guys, you stop watching and set up your own channel.

Hockey fanatics Mark Beavis, Tom North, Jan Rees and Ed Cant became so frustrated their sport was never on the box they set up - an internet TV station dedicated to showing highlights of hundreds of semi-professional, amateur and university matches from around Europe.

“It’s one of the most widely played sports in Europe yet there’s hardly anywhere you can sit down and watch it,” says Mark, a 38-year-old teacher of Oakland Road, Hillsborough.

“Football, cricket and rugby all dominate and other hockey sites are limited at best so there was a definite gap in the market to fill.”

And fill it they have.

So well, in fact, this month they have been invited by the European Hockey Federation to film the men’s Indoor Club Champions Cup in Switzerland. That’s the equivalent of football’s Champions League to you and me.

They and two commentators will spend three days in Lucerne recording all 20 matches for the only available highlights show.

“It’s a massive deal,” says Tom, a 23-year-old video producer of Infirmary Road. “This is the biggest club tournament there is so it’s a major achievement to have TV rights, so to speak. Not that it means we’ll be stopping focusing on the lower leagues or the domestic trophies. When we set up our aim was to cover all hockey, and that hasn’t changed.”

That set up, then? It went like this: Mark, Tom, Jan, 42, of Marston Road, Crookes and Ed, 29, of Abbeydale Road, all met while playing for, and supporting, Sheffield Hallam Hockey Club.

They started recording games for the club’s website but in October 2009 realised there was scope to film more teams and more games for their own web channel.

Then they linked with others recording different clubs to stream highlights from games around the country.

A few shakes of a hockey stick later and the site is regularly getting 3,000 hits a month.

“People are catching on all the time, through word of mouth,” says Mark.

“It’s a sport which isn’t awash with money but if we could position ourselves to make a living from this it would a dream.”

And the quartet aren’t stopping at recording games.

They’ve also set up a mini TV studio in Tom’s living room - cameras, lights, the works - where each month they record a 30-minute live chat show, Team Talk, for Sheffield Hallam Hockey Club’s website. It is hosted by third team player Jon Beeden.

“That’s an internal thing for the club at the moment,” says Tom. “But eventually we’d like to get guests from teams around the country and put it on our channel. The way things are working out there’s no reason why we can’t make it happen.”

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