Squad is Here!

Happy New Year from the NAH!

In 2017, the NAH will be hosting the WHBPC and will be welcoming polo players from around the world. We have already begun preparation for the upcoming competitive season which for us means hosting the NAHBPC and the WHBPC, along with administrative support to the regional qualifiers. The bidding process for these two major events has already begun. We will soon be collecting and announcing the cities who will be hosting the regional qualifiers.

In the meantime we have been working very hard to address issues that our community currently faces: Growth, inclusion, and competition. We have several new things coming at you in 2017. A brand new website, a new pilot program to help small clubs host tournaments and regions grow their competition field. But one big announcement to begin the new year…

Squad is here. The time has come.

In 2017, both the NAHBPC and WHBPC will be held in the 5v5 Squad format. This is something that the community has been experimenting with for several years now. Europe has just recently come off their continental cup which was a huge success in Italy, and Fixcraft PHBP tournament fostered a great deal of enthusiasm with players. The NAH is very pleased to say that we will be the first to take this format tothe the world stage.

These changes will help solidify bike polo as a world class team sport. It will allow the community to use multimedia outreach for sponsorships, partnerships, and local support with far greater success. The format allows for so many important changes to make the game into a true team sport. Allowing teams to create flow and strategy within a game, which is much longer than your average 12 minute game. It allows organisers to create even more comprehensive schedules, volunteers such as referees and goal judges will have a clear schedule for working and will aid in their time management as we continue to have player/ref conflict. The longer games and more flowing game play allow engagement from a spectator. These changes are very welcome from both an organization standpoint and also a spectator’s standpoint when considering involvement in the game.

This doesn’t mean that 3v3 is over or “dead.” It only means that the NAH believes that the Squad format is the exciting shake up opportunity that is needed in 2017.

In the upcoming weeks we will be awarding a host city for both the NAHBPC and the WHBPC and with that we will know the number of days and courts and will be able to announce how many teams each region will be awarded. Until then we would like to begin working with regional reps and members of the international community to help facilitate and discuss this change. 2017 will be a year of experimentation for everyone and we will do our best to help facilitate where needed throughout the year.

As in the previous year, the NAH is putting no obligation on the regions on how they qualify teams. Regions will know the date to send team lists to the NAH, but beyond that, we leave it to the regions to decide how to manage their qualifier tournaments. Stated more explicitly, regional qualifiers do not have to be held in the Squad format.

e.g., A 3-player team wins the ESQ, and then finds 2 additional players to form their 5-player squad for the NAHBPC.

Other polo organizations in Asia, Europe, South America, and Australasia are under no obligation to make their continental championships Squad format leading into the WHBPC.

e.g., A 3-player team qualifies at the EHBPC, and then finds 2 additional players to form their 5-player squad for the WHBPC.

With that said we will be releasing further documentation in the coming weeks with detailed information to aid in the transition for the organisers of all of our qualifiers and suggestions to our global polo community regarding the WHBPC. This document will include sample tournament layouts for a variety of scenarios. It will also include rule revisions for squad and how to manage a squad event with a court ill suited to line changes on the fly.

This allows for some flexibility for both the regions and players while still keeping us on track for the NAHBPC and WHBPC.

Happy New Year!

Please contact Mark Aseltine (mark@nahardcourt.com) with any questions regarding the 2017 tournament series.