Following the announcement of the Club of the Year Winners, we are profiling each category winner on our site.
After last week’s profile on Old Sihillians, this week is our Medium club winner, HK Zelina! HK Zelina is a club that has come back from, at its lowest, only 30 members and an uncertain future to grow their club exponentially to more than 250 members, by working with the Youth and investing in infrastructure.
A little history on the club: HK Zelina was established in 1955 and this year they celebrate their 60 year anniversary!
One of their biggest year was 1973 when the club won both the National Championship of Yugoslavia and the Club Cup of Yugoslavia. More recently, in the 2000/01 season, Zelina once again became Croatian Champions and won the Croatian Club Cup.
A low point for the club came in 2009 when economic difficulties made it so that the Club only had about 30 registered members. Zelina did not have a pitch at this point and their situation was grim at best. But the club rallied and with new leadership came renewed energy, as some Senior/Veteran players took the lead in rebuilding the club.
A hockey summer school was begun, where children from 7-10 years old used their holiday term to play hockey. A new AstroTurf pitch was laid in 2014, a momentous event for HK Zelina. The pitch featured a new watering system that reduced the water usage and was more environmentally friendly. This was only the second such pitch in the whole world, so interest in Zelina spiked across Europe.
How many players does your club currently have?
One of the biggest tasks for our club is to continue growing our member base. We know that without new members and new players the Club’s development will stop.
At the moments there are around 250 active players in Club but after this Hockey Summer school we expect around 70 new players. The plan is to organize this Hockey Summer School every summer during the school holidays to get new kids to join our club. We strongly believe that we are going to have about 320 active player in 2016 and 360 players in 2017. This is our goal and we believe we can do it!
What does 2015 have in store for you?
In year 2015 we will continue working with kids in our Hockey Summer School. This year, we are planning to hold 2: one in Sveti Ivan Zelina where we expect around 100 new kids the second one in the nearby town of Brckovljani where we expect around 70 kids to learn hockey. Because interest in hockey is growing in this area, Zelina is trying to help organize and establish a new hockey club for Brckovljani We believe that in order to start up there we need at least 50 players. Our coaches and our players are going to help this new club for first couple of months, get them on their feet!
This year we have already organized several international tournaments on our new pitch, but also in our indoor sports hall. The tournaments are:
21th -23rd August “Hockey festival 2015” – man and women
28th – 30th August “Youth hockey festival 2015” U10, U12, U14, U16 boys and girls
7th – 8th November “Adria Junior cup 2015”, sport hall Poreč, U10, U12, U14 boys and girls
14th – 15th November “22. Zima memorijal”, sport hall Sveti Ivan Zelina, men and women
What are your main targets over the next 2-3 years?
We have separated our targets into 2 categories: Sport Quality and Sports Facilities
• increase number of members
• win all titles in indoor and outdoor championships
• increase a quality of playing and training
• increase a coach quality
• increase umpire quality
• participate on as many international tournaments and games
• organize as many international tournaments in Sveti Ivan Zelina, specially on new pitch
• promote as much as possible our Club and our City and or course, Hockey!
• Clubhouse (showers, dressing rooms, restaurant, stands…)
• Second pitch with artificial grass
• Professional lighting system
• Sport hall
What does winning EHF Club of the Year (Medium Clubs) mean to your Club?
This title is the biggest award to all our efforts and work for last 60 years! Although we are now bigger than ever and we have a new pitch, we must say that we wouldn’t have all of this that there were no great players, and a very rich history in our club. It is these commitment that moved this generation of players, coaches, umpires, and volunteers to be persistent and ambitious.
This title really means so much to us – it is proof of our quality. We are very happy that EHF recognized our values and hard work in the last couple of years. We hope that with this award will help us with a few more projects: a new club house, a second pitch parking places, and a professional lighting system.
We are going to participate on several tenders from EU funds and we hope that we are going to get money to fund these projects, because we know that this is future of our Club!
Source: EHF/HK Zelina
Photographs: HK Zelina