16th June 2016, Brussels: As the sun set on the most successful EHL year to date, the EHF Appointments Committee has been busy preparing for the 2016/17 season.
Round 1 will take place from October 7th to 9th, 2016 as the competition moves to Ireland for the very first time for its 10th edition.
Under the leadership of the Technical Delegate Dutchman Cees Sluyk, the well experienced Umpires and Officials will oversee the crucial games that will see teams from Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Spain, England, France, Poland, Ireland, Russia, Scotland, Italy and Wales compete for the 4 KO16 slots on offer.
We had a one to one chat with with Cees to get inside the mind of the Technical Delegate ahead of this important event:
EHF: Cees, firstly congratulations on this prestigious appointment. Can you let us know what this means to you?
Cees: Thank you for the congratulations! This appointment means a lot to me! First of all the confidence of the Appointments Committee in my work as TD in Europe, that they have appointed me now as TD such a top tournament. Also to be part of EHL Round 1 as TD is to set the standards for a new season of the EHL competition in the season of 2016/2017!
EHF: How do you see the role of the TD and what is the most important aspect of being TD?
Cees: At every tournament I mention at the pre-tournament briefing with the Team Managers that we have the same goal: to create the most perfect circumstances for the participants (players, umpires, officials) to promote the fantastic game of hockey! The only way we can achieve that is to co-operate!
EHF: This is not your first TD appointment for EHL, what is special about being a TD at EHL?
Cees: Indeed my history as official in the EHL is long. My first EHL appointment was in Lille in 2008 as TO. My first TD appointment was in 2014 in Barcelona.The EHL is the “Champions League” of hockey with the huge media coverage and the live streaming. It is one of the showpieces in Club Hockey in Europe! That makes it special!
EHF: Club hockey in Europe is at the core of hockey, as TD what do you hope to bring to the event that will ensure a great event?
Cees: The Euro Hockey League sets out to promote and reinforce the status of club level hockey by creating new and more opportunities for the big European clubs to play each other in the international arena and giving club hockey more exposure, more spectators, more high quality TV coverage and a broader media and marketing platform. To give my contribution to achieve that is fantastic and an honour!
On visiting Northern Ireland, Cees added that it will be his second time to visit there on behalf of the EHF. He was there in Lisburn (Lisnagarvey HC) in 2012 as TD for the Celtic Cup, Men and Women.
He added “I will never forget their great hospitality and I am sure that the hospitality and cooperation in Banbridge will be the same.”
Our thanks to Cees (pictured centre) for taking the time to chat to us ahead of the 10th EHL! The EHL appointments have now been published, www.eurohockey.org