4th March 2022, Brussels, Belgium: Last night in a clear and direct sign of solidarity with the Ukraine Hockey Federation, a number of Member National Associations of the European Hockey Federation gathered to discuss the attack on Ukraine.
Marijke Fleuren, President of the EHF opened with her assurance to the Ukraine Hockey family, especially that we are all thinking of them.
She personally thanked the Polish Hockey Federation and the people of Poland who are working daily to bring necessities to the border and are homing refugees.
However, she was clear in her message that ‘thoughts’ are not enough, it is now time for actions and the meeting was convened to discuss how the hockey family can help.
Iryna Harchenko, Vice President of the Ukraine Hockey Federation, thankfully safely among the hockey family in The Netherlands addressed the meeting.
“I am here tonight with a heavy heart as I cannot explain any of it. Two weeks ago I was living my life in Ukraine and it was my friends outside who kept insisting that I needed to seek safety.
No one wants destruction and death, this is not a choice that any of us have made. In the end, both of our nations (Russia and Ukraine) will suffer for years to come.
Only with unity can we make changes, so I am here tonight to ask you as Ambassadors of your organisations to make a stand, whatever that is, and take action.”
She is fully sure that helping the Ukraine Hockey family is helping Ukraine, so all actions that are taken for the hockey family will be appreciated.
She thanked everyone for attending and she asked for their help.
The Member National Associations agreed on a two-pronged approach. It was agreed that members could if they wished, replicate the model that Belgian Hockey has enacted with a suggested list of locally recognised charities and NGOs. The EHF has created a template for all Member National Associations, which will be sent directly to them.
The second prong would be the setting up of a mechanism for donations of money which would be used for the Ukraine Hockey family, both for their immediate needs now and for the future.
Details of this second prong will be announced in the coming days.