As we all know that in Europe our sport of hockey is very popular, but still there are countries in Europe where hockey is not offered as a sport.

In three countries in south-east Europe (Albania, Monte Negro and Bosnia and Herzegovina) hockey is not offered. It is a new and unpopular sport. After a successful project in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2007 from the period of 2009-2012 we tried to develop hockey in Albania, but so far without real results due to lack of key people in this nation. During 2013 the Bulgarian Hockey Federation and Serbian Hockey Association decided to try develop hockey in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Antonio Antonov, EHF South East Europe Hockey Development officer shares with us their first visit and the outcomes agreed!

“On 4th April 2014 the EHF south-east coordinator Antonio Antonov and representatives from Bulgarian Hockey Federation Mr. Boncho Zlatev – Vice President and from Serbian Hockey Association Mr. Jovan Nikolic – Executive Board Member visited the cities of Bijeljina and Uglevic -Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bjeljina they met the President of Department of Civil Affairs – Mr. Slavko Basic and Head of Youth, Sport and Physical Education section-Mr. Boro Dokic. In Uglevic they met Chairmen of Municipality Parliament Mr. Boko Simic.

The meetings took the following decisions were made:
– One or two teachers for physical education from each town to participate in Balkan Caravans in Novi Sad and Beograd where the teachers will see what hockey is and how is it is introduced and played;
– One or two teachers to participate in EHF Level 1 coaching seminar, November 2014, Komotini, Greece;
– To organize a coaching seminar in Bijeljina (the end of 2014 or spring 2015) with EHF support;
– EHF to contact B&H Ministry of Sport and Olympic Committee to organize an official visit;
– To organize a demonstration tournament in 2015 (teams from Serbia, Bulgaria and maybe Croatia to demonstrate hockey).
The hosts of Bijeljina received from BHF as gifts 10 sticks and 5 balls which will be given to the school to help them start hockey.

We had a dinner with the SHF General Secretary – Mr. Zoran Matjevic and Mr. Miodrag Podkonjak – former SHF President and Dean of hockey in the former Yugoslavia. We discussed how the two federations – BHF and SHF could support and contribute to the development of hockey in Bosnia Herzegovina and forthcoming events in 2014 – Balkan Caravans, Seminars and Championships. We accepted also the kind invitation of the Belgrade Hockey Union on 5th April to visit city Belgrade where they held the First Hockey 5’ Tournament of the City for U14 and U16. In U14 tournament HC”Bask”, HC “Cukarecki”, HC “Scolarac” and HC “Obradovac” took part. In U16 tournament HC “Bask”, HC“Zubotehnicka” and HC”Cukarecki” participated.

After the tournament I had a meeting with the President of Belgrade Hockey Union Mr. Slavko Damyanov, Secretary Mr. Miro Jotic and the Presidents of the clubs “Cukareski”, “Obradovic” and “Bask”.

At our meeting we decided:
– To organize Summer Mountain Hockey Camp in “Soko Banja” (near to Nis). On 14 April we decided to go there together with representatives of Serbian Hockey Federation and see this place;
– Bulgarian and Serbian Hockey Association will support the development of hockey in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
– Bulgarian and Serbian Hockey Association to invite another Balkans Hockey countries and organize First Balkan Clubs Indoor Hockey League – first round – second week of December 2014, second round (finals) – second week of January 2015;
– Due to financial problems in 2014 to organize only Balkan Nations Indoor Championship U21 – Third week December, 2014.”

The EHF is delighted with this wonderful initiative and looks forward to the full support of other countries who can help us to achieve our target to bring hockey to the children of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Left to right in featured photo: Slavko Danjanov, Miodrag Podkonjak, Boncho Zlatev, Vili Busheva, Miro Jotic, Tanja Dimitrievska and Antonio Antonov