New Club Ignites Passion for Field Hockey in Luang Prabang

Hockey Club in Luang Prabang practices on a Friday night.

The launch of the Luang Prabang Field Hockey Club promises a new chapter for local sports enthusiasts.

With a vision to expand the reach of field hockey in Laos, Mickey Philip, a teacher at Kiettisack International School and a long-term expatriate in Laos, has set up this new weekly group activity, drawing players from both local and foreign communities of all ages. The club’s inauguration, in early February, marked a significant milestone in the development of field hockey in the country, building upon the foundation laid by the first-ever Vientiane Field Hockey initiative started by Latonya Ball in 2016.

Despite facing setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philip remained determined to bring the sport to Luang Prabang after relocating from Vientiane. 

“After moving from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, I really missed playing hockey every Thursday, so I was aiming to open the club initially towards the end of 2018, and then Covid happened,” she said.

The club’s establishment has been met with enthusiasm from the local community, with Philip expressing hopes of sparking curiosity and garnering interest among residents. 

“As we’ve only had a few sessions so far, I’m hoping that more curiosity will be sparked as I wish to have a full team to play against the Vientiane Field Hockey Club and to enter a team for Luang Prabang in the next upcoming tournaments,” Philip explained.

One intriguing aspect of field hockey’s introduction to Laos is its similarities to a traditional Lao sport known as “Thiki,” which is played during the annual That Luang festival. Philip noted the parallels between the two sports, admiring how quickly Lao people have embraced field hockey. 

“I like to see how quickly Lao people learn and enjoy the sport and are almost just naturally excellent in hockey,” Philip remarked, highlighting the potential for local talent to excel in the sport at an international level.

Beyond the athletic aspect of it, Philip aims to use the club as a platform to engage young people in Luang Prabang, particularly on Friday nights. 

“I hope this will be a moment for local youth to gather, socialize and have fun while also keeping fit,” Philip explained.

Looking ahead, Philip aspires to see Lao athletes shine on the global stage. “I sincerely wish that by creating opportunities and platforms like these, we can see Lao people excelling and being featured in world-class sporting events.”

As the newly established Luang Prabang Field Hockey Club gains momentum, it promises  to enhance the sporting landscape in Laos while also fostering community involvement and igniting athletic passion throughout the nation.