Hockey’s coming home!
Let’s hope so. In fact, here at Laduma we’re giving the game a helping hand at this year’s Women’s World Cup with a Virtual Reality experience that takes people into the mindset of world-class players.

Allow us to explain.

As England Hockey’s Official Immersive Technology Supporter, we were tasked with doing just that. Give users a taste of how the sport’s biggest stars think, cope and act when the pressure is on.

Our team travelled to England Hockey’s training base at Bisham Abbey to film a 360° experience with some of the players who make up our country’s elite.

They stayed with the stars as they carried out a string of key moves, both in goal and in goalscoring situations. Right there, literally in the thick of the action.

The result? An incredible, immersive experience which does just that. Want to see how Maddie Hinch – the world’s best goalkeeper – copes with penalty strokes? It’s all there.

Same with Harry Gibson. And then there’s Sam Ward, showing precisely why he’s rated as one of the world’s best forwards.

Ben Smith, CEO of Laduma, has more than a passing interest in the game. I’ll let him explain: “Hockey is a sport that is close to my heart. I played as a schoolboy and was captain of England Under-16s schools against Wales, way back when. I scored in that game, a penalty stroke, and that’s one thing we feature in this film.

“You feel like you are right there on the pitch, with the ball whizzing past you. It has to be seen to be believed. You’ll never watch the game the same way again after you’ve seen this”

Suffice to say he’s a big fan.

Alex Kunawicz, Vice Presdient of Strategy at Laduma, was at the VR shoot in Marlow. He says it was a fascinating experience: “The four players were all very generous with their time and we shot a lot of stuff from different angles. We spoke to them about what motivates them and how they cope with the pressure under these circumstances. The experience the audience will get when they put the headset on at the event is a greater understanding of what it’s like for players when they’re standing on the penalty spot, in that moment of pressure.”

So yes, we got right into the minds of elite athletes as they prepared to show why they’re rated so highly.

The overall aim of the experience is to show a new generation of fans how hockey is played at the very highest level. And inspire them to become the next generation of talented players.

Already, the news has received great exposure online. Over 2,300 people watched our Facebook video of players seeing the experience for the first time. Added to over 4,300 video views of Twitter, that’s some serious interest.

It is all part of an interactive experience at the Hockey Museum in Fan Central at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup this summer in London. Visitors will be immersed in this cutting-edge experience.

They’ll take home with them an inspiring view of some of the world’s best hockey players.

And hopefully, memories of hockey finally coming home.