An Englishman Abroad
Going Dutch with Adam Dixon
For as long as I have been serious about hockey I have followed the progress of the Dutch premier league, the Hoofdklasse. As any ambitious young hockey player would do I dreamt of one day showcasing my talents there alongside some of the best in the world. Fortunately, that dream came true when I was contacted by Hockey Club Rotterdam in 2016 to join them in their quest to re-establish themselves back in the top 4. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse so I made the short hop across the North Sea pretty much straight after returning back from GB duties in Rio.
Generally clubs train 4 times a week which doesn’t contrast too much from life back at Bisham Abbey. There is a large technical emphasis during training where good skill execution, creating give and go situations and attacking at speed are encouraged. Defensively, I would say the level is below that of international standard but it does make for some exciting attacking hockey. As I write this, Rotterdam have just qualified for the playoffs. After 21 league games we are positioned third with one regular season game remaining. The coming weeks will tell who really is the best team in Holland and with the best goal scoring record in the league I think Rotterdam are in with a very good chance.
Adjusting to life in Holland has been a breeze. My first purchase was of course a rusty old bicycle and I therefore rarely use a car. Its a great way of making the short commute to training and exploring what the City has to offer. Being a coffee lover has given me good reason to get out and about and sample the city’s array of cafes (not to be confused with Coffee Shops I must add). My favourite is Man Met Bril, not too far from home. A secluded destination in the north of Rotterdam that serves incredible coffee and roasts their own beans on site.
An Indian summer
Each year between 2013-2017 for 4 weeks in February the Hockey India League (HIL) took centre stage in the international calendar. For those players lucky enough to be picked up by one of the six franchises it was a great opportunity to earn a significant windfall, but for me there was much more to the experience than making a quick buck.
India is kind of one of those love it or hate places on the hockey circuit but I personally feel that many of India’s challenges add to the wider experience. No two days are the same here. Have you ever seen a cow walk through the front door of a car dealership? I have!
The HIL brings the international hockey world together. It unifies players from different nations and I have gained many new friends as a result. I often find it funny how you build up a stereotype of a certain player or players from a particular country, only for those perceptions to be quashed when finally getting to know them.