For our Friday Focus feature today, we are happy to continue to report on the ParaHockey activity throughout Europe. A double feature this time: Portugal have done an amazing job of starting, developing and expanding their ParaHockey efforts all over the country. A project that was started 3 years ago brought them glory at the Euro ParaHockey Championships in London 2015, surpassing all expectations and inspiring us all. Hockey giant Germany are taking steps to grow and develop ParaHockey more systematically throughout their club structure.
A ParaHockey Integration Tournament was held this past Saturday in Jamor, Portugal. Portugal are the reigning Euro ParaHockey Champions and their first and second Para teams took part in this integration tournament alonside U15 CF Benfica and U15s Casa Pia squads. EHF Youth Panel members Jamie Hooper, Leen Ryckx and Pedro Avila were all present and helped organise and run the tournament. The EHF Education and Development Committees were present for the final match, between CF Benfica and Portugal’s B team. After a strong showing throughout the tournament, the Portuguese ParaHockey B team were crowned the champions, even beating the current European Champions in the process!
In Germany, hockey has long been a sport of excellence and inclusion. Inclusion is a key word here, as sport plays a crucial role in the development and sustainability of any inclusion effort. Focusing in on the idea of inclusion, Deutscher HockeyBund recently began a new campaign, ‘new target groups in hockey clubs’ which aim to foster the growth of ParaHockey across the country. On February 27th, the first meeting in planned series took place in the DHB office in Mönchengladbach. The meetings brought together leaders to exchange experiences and share knowledge.
The talk focused on basic questions “How do I start?” and “What information does my coach need to get going?” as well as discussing the benefits a ParaHockey chapter brings to the clubs. Discussion on possible obstacles and how to overcome them was also very positive.
The group worked together to discuss different approaches and plan further development, including ‘theme days’ to help raise awareness and promote the initiative.
Does your club or Nation want to start its own ParaHockey chapter? We’d be happy to help! Contact us: [email protected]