The late sixties and the early seventies saw the arrival into Britain of many Asians from East Africa (former collective name for of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). Quite a few of these Asians were either keen Hockey players or had a very good Hockey background. Most of them loved the game so much that they wanted to continue to play while in Britain.
It was difficult for the senior Asians to continue with the game they loved because of responsibilities and other commitments. However, most of younger ones started to play for schools and or local clubs. This was the trend in East Africa, mainly in Kenya. But when it came to playing Hockey outside the season or during the long summer school holidays there was no where to go.
In 1968 a few of the Coventry lads got together and started to play in parks or where they could find enough space. Gradually, with the arrival of more Asians from Africa the numbers grew and a team was formed. Asian teams were now being formed in almost all the major towns in Britain. These teams started to get together in summer and play competitive Hockey in the Asian Tournaments all over England.
The newly formed Coventry team needed an identity. They chose to call it "Sikh Union Hockey Club Coventry" modelling it on the Kenyan (Nairobi and Kisumu) Sikh Union Clubs. In 1980 the club affiliated with the Hockey Association and started to play League Hockey. The team also continued to play the summer tournaments. With more Asians coming from Africa and India the Club membership started to grow. The decade up to 1990 saw Coventry Sikh Union Hockey Club emerge as a recognised and respected Club within and outside League Hockey.
The decade up to 1990 saw Coventry Sikh Union Hockey Club emerge as a recognised and respected Club within and outsideLeague Hockey.
Sikh Union's first team during the seasons of 2000-2004 was the strongest and prehaphs the most successful since the 1970's. We were champions of our league in 2002-2003 season.
To keep Sikh Union supplied with new young players for the future a 5 year youth programme was drafted by Kuljit Sembhi and started on Tuesday 5 September 2000. The initial training sessions were attended by just three youngsters. It was an unfortunate winter in that we had the worst weather ever witnessed.It rained non-stop, But this did not stop the youngsters the resilience of these youngsters was surprising. They continued to attend the training session's week in week out. Gradually the numbers grew and we now have over 30 youngsters aged between 6-14
There is a detailed history of Sikh Union in Kenya at Sikhs in hockey
The backbone of Sikh hockey in Kenya has been the Sikh Union Club and one of the reasons for the continuous improvement of the standards of Hockey in this club has been due to the remarkable way in which those of the older generation have not merely been withdrawing themselves from an active participation in it at just the right time but have at the same time been devoting themselves to the training with tremendous success of the oncoming generation to place them.
Two persons stand out in this respect, they being Mahan Singh, who was coach to the Kenya team from 1952 to 1960 and Hardial Singh coach to Kenya team from 1960 to 66 and both in their days being outstanding players. Hardev Singh is coach to the Kenya Police and Kenya Army, a further recognition of the Sikhs ability in the game.
But by far the most colourful and outstanding player from the community has been Surjeet Singh Deol, who for nearly eighteen years occupied a prominent role in Kenya and East African Hockey, Captaining the Kenya team to the first ever Olympic participation in 1956 at Melbourne. He captained East Africa also on many occasions.
The stature of Sikhs in Hockey can be gauged from the fact that the Sikhs have formed the bulk of the Hockey contingent to the Olympic games. Eight in 1956, Nine in 1960 and six in 1964.Sikh Union hockey team 1964.
Avtar Singh captained the 1964 team to Tokyo Olympics.There would be very few clubs in the Country, where one would not see a Sikh among its ranks, and at the moment there are six Sikh players in the Kenya team and many more on the verge of recognition.
The stature of Sikhs in Hockey can be gauged from the fact that the Sikhs have formed the bulk of the Hockey contingent to the Olympic games. Eight in 1956, Nine in 1960 and six in 1964.
Avtar Singh captained the 1964 team to Tokyo Olympics.