Emma Bozek selected to receive NFHCA Junior Hockey Award

Aug 23, 2023 | 2023-2024, Club, News

MANAHAWKIN, N.J.The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is pleased to announce that Emma Bozek, owner and club director of Colorado Bears Field Hockey Club, is the recipient of the 2023 Junior Hockey Award. Bozek will officially receive the honor at the organization’s annual Coaches Appreciation Luncheon sponsored by FieldTurf® USA, Inc.

“Emma has poured herself into growing our sport in Colorado. She has transferred her passion and drive from playing to providing meaningful opportunities for young athletes,” remarked Laura Gebhart, chair of the NFHCA Hall of Fame Committee. “I look forward to seeing how she continues to increase the impact of Colorado Bears Field Hockey Club.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be receiving the Junior Hockey Award,” Bozek said. “This award recognizes the hard work of not only myself, but the rest of the Colorado Bears staff over the last few years to introduce the sport of field hockey to young athletes in the state of Colorado.”

In September of 2020, Bozek began running free clinics in Boulder, Colorado, after noticing that the area did not have a single youth field hockey program at the recreational or competitive level. She sought to introduce the sport to players ages five to 13 in the hope of gaining some traction. According to Bozek, the clinics were a hit, and thus, the Bears were born.

What happened next could be seen as meteoric growth of the sport in the Mountain State.

Bozek said parents quickly requested additional youth field hockey programs, and that the Bears started to run skills clinics – while also continuing its free clinics – until the organization was serving over 70 brand-new youth players at the elementary and middle school levels joining the club for bi-weekly practice sessions in Boulder.

Interest continued to evolve – so much so that youth travel teams were formed – first traveling to a neighboring club in Aspen – and eventually sponsored U10 and U12 squads participating in USA Field Hockey’s Sunshine Showcase in 2022 and 2023.

Since its inception, Bozek and the Bears have introduced the sport to over 150 new junior field hockey athletes in Boulder. Additionally, the club established Colorado’s first-ever youth field hockey league, where local players can compete against each other in small-sided games. It has also expanded into the Denver market and now sponsors youth teams in both cities.

“This is just the beginning for the Bears,” Bozek added. “We hope to continue to introduce the sport to new junior players so that we can positively impact the lives of young women in Colorado and inspire the next generation of field hockey superstars.”

Bozek, a native of Cortlandt Manor, NY, is an alumna of the University of North Carolina.

The Award

​The NFHCA Junior Hockey Award was created in 2011 as a way to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to the maintenance or development of a junior field hockey program.

Bozek will be presented with the Junior Hockey Award at the Coaches Appreciation Luncheon sponsored by FieldTurf® USA, Inc as part of the 2024 NFHCA Annual Convention. She is the 12th recipient of the NFHCA’s Junior Hockey Award.

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is a nonprofit organization serving field hockey coaches and supporters of the game from across the United States. The mission of the organization is to champion, strengthen, and celebrate field hockey coaches and the game. The NFHCA strives to cultivate and recognize the professional contributions of its membership and to foster and promote the growth of the sport. The NFHCA is responsible for providing a recognizable presence and voice in regard to legislation affecting the sport as well as interscholastic and intercollegiate programs.