It was an exciting moment for the 24 men’s and women’s teams competing at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 as the 16-day event officially began after the Opening Ceremony, 30 May, at the World Forum Theatre in The Hague. His Majesty King Willem-Alexander was a part of the official welcome, posing after for a photo with all of the team captains, while Mayor Jozias van Aartsen of The Hague brought greetings on behalf of the host city.

“The Hockey World Cup is the climax of the international hockey calendar and the culmination of several years of intense preparation for the 24 best men’s and women’s teams in the world,” said Leandro Negre, FIH President. “I know that each game will not only entertain the world but also inspire a global passion for this incredible sport. Today’s opening ceremony was a superb start to the tournament highlighting all the different facets that make hockey so brilliant.”

The ceremony included impressive entertainment from the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, who treated guests to a superb cultural music tour of all 15 participating countries. Members of the band sported the different uniforms of the teams, while accompanying photos and videos gave everyone a preview of what is to come in the next two weeks.

“This tournament is more than just a platform for top class international sport,” said Jan Albers, President of KNHB. “It is also a way of bringing together and uniting adults and children from all walks of life. We want to create a movement that will live on after the hockey tournament is over.”

The Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 begins tomorrow, 31 May, and runs until the 15 June and will feature the 24 men’s and women’s teams from 15 countries. Over 250,000 fans will pour through the gates at the Hockey Park, filling the Kyocera and Greenfields stadiums for 76 matches. Joining them will be over 300 million viewers on global television and live YouTube streaming, while social media expectations will be bigger than ever on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Source: FIH.CH

Photograph: Koen Sluyk (c)