The EHF President, Marijke Fleuren had the pleasure of visiting our 2018 Large Club of the Year last weekend to see first hand the wonderful work that the club is doing in the local area in the suburb of Antwerp. Marijke was welcomed very warmly by the members of the club surrounded by stormy weather outside!

Marijke highlighted in her celebration speech, that Royal Victory was established 100 years ago after all Belgians had suffered terribly during La Grande Guerre (the Western front during the first World War). Resiliently they started to build their lives again and Royal Victory was one of the results. Being resilient is one of their values, next to authentic, courageous, committed and full of joy.

Marijke said “I am very impressed by your club, but more importantly by your members. It is clear that you all live by the values of your club and derive great joy from being members of this wonderful club.”

Established 100 years ago, in 1919, Royal Victory Hockey Club has a unique position in the Belgian hockey landscape. Located in a southern suburb of Antwerp, Victory has almost inadvertently become the country’s second largest hockey club with about 1600 members. However, the club views membership growth as a consequence, and not as a target. The club’s top priorities are to integrate its main stakeholders (players, volunteers and fans) and to provide an ideal framework for these stakeholders to flourish. The club’s main ambition towards its members is that they should feel as welcome and appreciated as in their own tight family. It wants its members to combine their love and passion for hockey with enthusiasm for their club so that everyone feels at home. This is translated into the club’s motto: Live Hockey. Love Victory.

The club and its members have invested heavily in developing an ambitious infrastructure. The club’s MasterPitch project consists of three elements: two new water pitches and a new clubhouse. The two new pitches were handed over in 2018. Construction on the new clubhouse should be completed by the start of the 2019-2020 season. As the club’s infrastructure has reached a new level, Victory stands ready to assume a more prominent and outspoken position. In line with its national pioneering tradition, Victory will organise the 2019 Euro ParaHockey Championships in August. In addition, as Victory attaches great importance to youth development, the club is seriously considering organising several national and international top hockey youth events. These initiatives will complement the club’s already full calendar of club and open events.

On receiving the official pennant of the EHF acknowledging their win Leo Albert, Victory President, said ” Receiving the Large Club of the Year award from Marijke’s hands was very special to the entire Victory family. In her speech, she succeeded in identifying what we believe makes our club special. At Victory, we all share the same fundamental values of inclusion, ambition and resilience combined with our passion for hockey on all levels – top sport, recreational and para hockey, with all categories considered as equal. It was a privilege not just for myself, but for many of our club management, volunteers and other family members to be inspired and motivated by a very special lady we now consider part of our family.”