Brussels 11th January: The annual forum was moved online following covid guidance, for European Hockey Federation’s Annual Hockey ID forum. This still enabled inspiring exchanges, the forum was opened by President Marijke Fleuren who pressed forward again that EHF was proud to be inclusive and the transformational actions of many volunteers, parents, players, and National Association staff had helped move opportunities forward over the past decade, special thanks to Norman Hughes FIH’s global lead.
With 14 National Associations present, it allowed Norman Hughes to explain the global strategy as despite the challenges of the pandemic the game has continued to increase in every continent. Further, inspiring words came from athlete and EHF Ambassador Juan Andres de Koning who shared his experiences from centerpiece competitions in Amsterdam and Antwerp and was keen to push forward the development of the rules and regulations to help player welfare. Second up was Athlete turned Coach Tom Kirby who is supported by England Hockey and Access Sport is a trailblazer for ID hockey Athletes who are turning their hand to coaching, Tom issued a plea that this should not be one off or tokenistic and that all stakeholders must move opportunities forward for everyone.
The EHF and FIH were delighted to hear from long-term partner Special Olympics and Natasha Bruers who has been a global champion for the sport, whose organisation continues to be progressive in providing more competition and learning for all athletes at each level of play.
We were delighted to all the National Associations present as the EHF through Tom Pedersen-Smith coordinated feedback around an increasing competition calendar, and with support from Gino Schilders (Czech Republic Hockey) gave examples of funding to support the development of the game.
Marijke Fleuren, stated, “As a President, I am very proud of the past decade, yet we must continue to listen to all including the inspiration Tom Kirby and Juan Andres de Koning to keep moving forward.”
For more information, please contact Tom Pedersen-Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph: The 2019 Euro ParHockey Final (Germany v The Netherlands)