The eye-catching pitches at Riverbank Arena, where the hockey and Paralympic football tournaments will be held, are the first of their kind in an Olympic Games’ tournament. This is because organisers chose to forgo the traditional green in favour of a col
The Riverbank Arena is a temporary structure composed of two pitches – one for use as a warm-up area and the other with spectator seating where matches will be held – with a capacity to hold 15,000 fans. Although constructed specifically for the Games, the hockey stadium will leave a lasting Games legacy when it is eventually integrated with the facilities to the north of the Olympic Park at Eton Manor, after the Paralympic Games end in September.
Once there, Riverbank Arena will become the Lee Valley Hockey Centre, one of four London 2012 venues owned and managed by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The centre will have 3,000 permanent seats that can be expanded to accommodate 15,000 spectators temporarily.
As part of the site’s lasting Games’ legacy, the Lee Valley Hockey Centre will be designed for use by people of all ages and abilities, from beginners to elite athletes with guaranteed extensive community use, outreach and sports development programmes.
The Authority is working closely with hockey’s national governing body, schools and community groups to ensure that people of diverse abilities will benefit from these venues. Special coaching programmes will be implemented to encourage youngsters to take up hockey while attracting disabled athletes will form a core part of the legacy work. Hosting major events such as the 2015 European Hockey Championships will also help the centre in its mission to ‘Inspire a Generation’.
Chief executive of the authority, Shaun Dawson, explained in May that the Hockey Centre would be run under the organisation’s philosophy of “community focused, commercially driven”. He added: “For hockey, the focus clearly has to be around schools, club development, pathways to the elite level and supporting major events. This is about making sure the sport isn’t compromised.”