As part of the EHF and KNHB’s twinning initiative, MHC Oosterbeek connected with the Slovenian Hockey Federation recently to help hockey grow in the country.
The EHF and KNHB provide Solidarity Grant assistance for initiatives from clubs and federations in countries where hockey as a sport can still grow with clubs from the Netherlands, passing on their experience both from on the pitch and in the governance realm. Earlier, Oosterbeek had linked up with a new club from Split, Croatia.
In Slovenia, only three clubs currently exist in the eastern part of the country near Murska Sobota; all three have their own pitch and clubhouse and are within 15 minutes drive from each other, all set in a charming rural environment.
The main challenge for the federation is to make hockey bigger in Slovenia, helping the three existing clubs to grow but also to expand so clubs can emerge in other parts of the country in bigger cities like Ljubljana and Maribor.
In the first stage of this twinning project, two club members from Oosterbeek – Albert van Tuil and Hans Robert van der Doe – visited the Slovenian clubs, attended several matches as Under-17, adult and veteran level and had round table meetings with staff, players and trainers on the hockey culture in both countries and on chances to involve more people in Slovenia.
In the next stage, they hope to inspire the representatives from the three clubs by experiencing the “spirit” of a “average” Dutch club with 900 members.
“For both sides, this kind of exchange is valuable, inspiring and fun. We all get to know new people, cultures and circumstances where we can learn from. We look forward to the next step.”
Andrej Grah from Slovenia Hockey beamed with enthusiasm: “It was a real honour and great pleasure to host Albert and Hans Robert and receive such useful information.”
** To find out more about EHF Solidarity Grant support, click here: https://eurohockey.org/ehf-solidarity/