10th May 2016, Brussels; With less than 50 hours until the start of the EuroHockey Club Championships in Glasgow, Vienna, Bratislava, Predanovci and Kordin, it’s great that we could get the views of some of our hosting captains: SV Arminen captain Robert Bele, Tadej Mikola, captain HK Triglav Predanovci (host Challenge III) and  Shaun Grima, captain of Sliema Hotsticks, hosts of the Challenge IV. 

First off we spoke to Robert Bele, captain of SV Arminen who are hosting the EuroHockey Club Challenge I in Vienna and we asked him what playing at home means to him? “Playing in front of our homecrowd will be really special for us, it will help us a lot to perform in front of our families and friends at home in beautiful Vienna! He explained that he has been a member in this club since he was 9 years old with just only one year when  he played in Germany for Crefelder HTC. His brother Alex used to play for S.V. Arminen as well, but changed for the current season to Belgium to play for Royal Daring.” When asked about the effort on and off the pitch from the club he was understanding of the masses of work involved “It is much effort of many many people from our club which is really helpful to make this event happening in the way it will do, so we are really thankful for that! We will give our best to give all the work back with performing well on the pitch!

Having played hockey for such a long time Robert has many great memories but for him “The best memory of course was our game against M.H.C Oranje Zwart in the KO16 of the EHL last season, where we just lost 0:2 and had a good game against the eventual Champions!”

As for SV Arminen’s target, that was an easy one – “Our ambition is clear. Promotion to the next division”

rbele

Next up it was great to hear from HK Triglav Predanovci’s captain Tadej Mikola. Seasoned EuroHockey hosts as they already hosted an indoor event this year which Tadej assured us was “amazing”. He is however delighted to be hosting an outdoor event as hockey is growing in Slovenia and whilst currently there are only 3 clubs, he is hopeful of growth in the near future. He and his brother have been playing in Triglav for 13 years and he is very aware of the volunteer effort put in which is good for the club, but also to show off his home country of Slovenia. He has played in some EuroHockey tournaments before, his best memory being taking silver and being awarded “Best Player of the Tournament”. Their warm up song – ‘Snoop Dog, as he lifts the spirit of the team!”

mikola

Finally it was great to catch up with Shaun Grima, (main photo) Sliema Hotsticks HC – the team that is hosting the EuroHockey Club Challenge IV.

Yes he’s delighted to be playing at home – not only a plus but  “playing at home means that our families, friends and supporters will come and support us during the games. This will create the same environment we normally have during the local matches.” Whilst he’s been playing for the past 12 years, recently he has persuaded his girlfriend to get involved and whilst he has no blood relatives in the club, he feels that his team mates are really like family!

Not only is Shaun captain of the team, but he is also involved in the preparations for the event, and really grateful to all the club members who will turn the National Hockey centre into the “home of hockey from 13th – 16th May. In 2015 he was privedged to play for Malta in the Champions IV, after not having been capped for 10 years, in his own words it was “an experience I will treasure throughout my life. Not just for the experience, but even for the honor to represent my country.” Unlike the guys from Triglav, theirs i s a quieter warm up, concentrating on the task in hand! They will celebrate when the tournament is over! “The eldest member of our team is Ludolf Rasterhoff. He brings experience and passion to the game. He can point out exactly what should be done in the simplest way possible and pulls the right strings when needed most. On the other hand, the youngest player is Alessandro Amore, still 17 years of age. Apart from being everyone’s target when it comes to jokes, with his passion and eagerness he reminds us of how much we all love hockey. We all try to help him improve in his hockey abilities.

It was a real pleasure to chat to our captains ahead of the weekend! We wish them and all the teams who are taking part this weekend.

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