15th April 2017: The EuroHockey Club Cup for Women kicks off in ‘s Hertogenbosch on 2nd June with four knock out games. The top European Women’s club event is the highlight of our women’s outdoor club calendar and the first day’s play sees some tasty ties for these top level players: 

England’s Surbiton take on Spanish Champions CH SPV Complutense, a delightful opener at 13.15 on 2nd June. Next up is UHC Hamburg who face Canterbury at 15.30. The third game of the day sees the Russian’s CSP Krylatskoye face a strong AH&BC Amsterdam at 17.45 and finally at 20.00 in front of what promises to be a large and partisan crowd, the hosts ‘s Hertogenbosch face the Irish champions Hermes-Monkstown.

This year we have partnered with the clubs to highlight our club heroes for our hockey fans to follow leading up to and during the Tournament, so today we start with Irish International Nickki Evans, who will lead Hermes-Monsktown out for the first time at the EHCC.

We caught up with Nikki just before she headed off with Ireland in the preparation for World League 3, a busy time for these top players…

So Nikki, what does it mean to be playing for Hermes-Monkstown in the EHCC? 

Following the amalgamation of Hermes-Monkstown this season, we are really looking forward to being the first women’s team in the club to compete on the European stage. To be representing Ireland at the biggest club competition in the world is a huge honour. We are ranked 7th out of the eight teams competing but hope to finish the tournament above this ranking as we battle it out against Europe’s elite. 

What lessons did you learn from your previous EHCCC in 2015? and what will the approach be now to this year? 

With the tournament being structured as a knock-out format, it really is winner takes all! It makes for exciting viewing as teams have to push for the win in every game. It puts pressure on the higher ranked teams but gives the lower ranked teams an opportunity to make something happen and look to cause an upset. We are looking forward to facing the home crowd on the Friday evening. We have no doubt that our first match against the host team will be a tough battle. We want to ensure that we bring a top quality performance against all of the best teams in Europe. 

What message would you give to young female hockey players aspiring to get to this level? 

Never give up and keep chasing your dream. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard enough.

Apart from your playing (that’s a given) what do your bring to the team? 

I bring the music to the changing room and tend to find myself at the centre of funny situations with my team-mates laughing at me and not with me!!

Favourite song? 

Hard to pick one. Before my match, music is a big part of my mental routine. I love fast paced music with a beat in it and of course you can’t beat those cheesy hits! 

What would you say to a person who never played, never watched – why should they become a fan of hockey? 

When it comes to team sports there are few more skilful and intricate than hockey. It is a fast and furious exciting game requiring an excellent all round fitness level. At the highest level, hockey demands a combination of high intensity running, agility, tactical awareness and technical capabilities. Add into that hand-eye ordination, attacking, defending, passing, dribbling, quick decision making and peak fitness – the ability required for hockey becomes very clear. 

Off the pitch  Nikki has just qualified as a solicitor, managing to successfully combine my work, studies and international hockey career. She added “I could not have done this without the continued support of my employers Mason Hayes & Curran. There are so many traits and skills you learn from being a sportsperson that are transferable into the workplace, not least leadership skills, teamwork and performing under pressure.”

Huge thanks to Nikki for taking some of her precious time to chat to us! Keep an eye out for our other heroes over the coming 2 weeks as we build up to what will be the best ever EHCC, especially now that we have a Junior EHCC for the first time. A cracking event for our Under 14 teams from some of the participating teams to compete on the big stage!

All the EHCC games will be Live Streamed 

Official Website to be sure to get your tickets for these epic battles

Twitter @eurohockeyorg #EHCC2017 #EHClub2017 #Thisgirlcan