Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey participants pose for a group photo.

Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey participants pose for a group photo.

Photo provided by Jessie Veith Rouleau

Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey plants roots in southeast Michigan

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Metro | Published June 27, 2023


METRO DETROIT — In efforts to grow the sport of field hockey in the state of Michigan, Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey is hosting a summer league this year in Grosse Pointe Woods (University Liggett High School), Brighton (Legacy Center Sports Complex), Detroit (Wayne State University), Rochester (Stoney Creek High School) and Livonia (Livonia Athletic District).

For six days throughout the course of the summer, participants ages 5-18 will take part for one hour in learning the game of field hockey while also participating in field hockey-based games as well. The league, which costs $45 to join, will provide participants with shin guards, a ball, and a stick to borrow. Equipment can be purchased for an additional cost.

The summer league’s extension to the southeast Michigan area became possible after Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey received a $20,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation Legacy Fund for Youth Sports at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, named after the former Buffalo Bills owner and Grosse Pointe Shores resident who died in 2014.

“We pitched this idea of this summer league to the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, and just really talked about how we could go back to this grassroots format for sports versus club or travel, which has become so popular,” GLRFH public relations specialist Jessie Veith Rouleau said. “We just want to bring the sport to the local level, bringing in coaches who know what they’re doing, and bringing in community leaders at each location interested in continuing field hockey efforts in that area.”

The foundation’s youth sports fund is designed to promote exceptional programs to make sports more accessible.

Rouleau, who is currently in her sixth season as the head coach of Grosse Pointe South High School’s field hockey program, has played a vital role in growing the sport of field hockey into the southeast Michigan area while also making it accessible for families.

Rouleau’s resume in the field hockey community consists of being secretary for the Michigan Chapter of USA Field Hockey; program supervisor for the youth field hockey program at the Neighborhood Club of Grosse Pointe; and founder/coach of GP United, a community middle school field hockey team.

With high school teams such as Grosse Pointe University Liggett, Bloomfield Hills, Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe South, Warren Regina, Farmington, and more out of the 32 teams that compete, the summer league hopes to create a pipeline of potentially more participating high schools.

“The idea is to make it so open that we can see with each age community where the interest is and kind of start at that space,” Rouleau said. “For instance, if we were in Detroit and we have a bunch of kindergarten through fourth graders, that’s going to tell us that that’s where we’re going to want to grow our network in that community.”

Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey was founded in 2019 by University of Michigan graduate and two-time University of Michigan field hockey team captain Keely Tamer, a Dexter resident.

Tamer is currently the field hockey head coach at Dexter and is also the president of the Michigan Chapter of USA Field Hockey.

Tamer said the inclusivity of field hockey is what she prides her organization on.

“As a coach, I really love that field hockey is a sport for all athletic talents and all shapes and sizes,” Tamer said. “There’s not a standard that you have to be this tall or this fast. There’s something for every athlete, and as a coach, I really love that.”

Great Lakes Regional Field Hockey has ties to Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and it continues to expand in the Michigan area.

As the summer league kicks off this week in metro Detroit, the hope is that the community of field hockey only continues to grow in the state of Michigan.

“For us, it’s what we love to do,” Rouleau said. “You talk to anyone who’s been in athletics their whole life, and to have that experience be full circle, it’s just fantastic. We grew up with these great experiences and we were lucky to take the sport all the way through the collegiate level and top level, and now it’s just really fun to give back to our communities that supported us and become the leaders that we’ve become in our sport. Our hope is that these kids become future leaders in sport or in their community, and find a way to give back to the youth with whatever their passion is.”

Spots are still available for registration. For more information, visit