#FridayFocus: Some great news coming from our annual forum that was held last Friday in our headquarters in Brussels… ParaHockey is alive, well and growing! 

Last Friday saw the biggest attendance of Nations involved or interested in starting ParaHockey since the forum began 4 years ago. This year we had 14 EHF Member Associations present. We were joined by specialists from the Special Olympics, FIH and Access Sport.

The EHF  President had a very warm welcome for the delegates, especially to those aspiring to start ParaHockey. Marijke said about the Forum “Whenever I find myself having challenging conversations, I am reminded about the tireless work that is being done by a small but growing, number of people around Europe to really change the lives of young people with intellectual disabilities through hockey. It is my pleasure to always attend this Forum, where I am reminded of the values of hockey that we set for ourselves. Here we don’t talk the talk, we walk the walk. We consider the challenges, work hard to find solutions and share the joy that is hard to explain until you meet and see ParaHockey athletes playing hockey to the best of their ability and having a lot of fun! It was a real pleasure for me to welcome all the delegates, but in particular, Ann Dogget from PAN AM, so that we as one Continent can share our knowledge and best practice with another.” 

Attendees:

Marijke Fleuren EHF
Carola Meyer EHF
Peter Elders EHF
Tom Pedersen-Smith EHF
Norman Hughes FIH
Natasha Bruers SO
Ann Doggett PAN AM CF
Libby Nichols Access Sport
Hannah Bevan Wales
Hugo Santos Portugal
Elena Galinovskaya Russia
Grace Cowan Scotland
Iryna Harchenko Ukraine
Jonathan Beron France
Dwyne Hill Ireland
Jason O’Callaghan England
Marco Carboni Italy
Constantinos Tsiamis Greece
Cindy Vanduffel Belgium
Linda Sandkaulen Germany
Gino Schilders Czech
Laura Marquez Spain
Marta Puig-Ho
Anja Frederiks Netherlands
Marlene Doderlein-de Win

The agenda focused on:

ParaHockey Structures
Key messages from nations
FIH update
Classification v Eligibility v Divisioning
Special Olympics message
Coach Development – FIH Academy
Competition calendar
Euro ParaHockey Championships
INAS Global Games

 

Development discussions took place around grassroots development through to the elite classification and eligibility criteria. There needs to be a clear understanding of the flow of support structures through NA’s, EHF and FIH. Click here for EHF ParaHockey Flow Chart.

Key support was provided from Portugal, The Netherlands and Italy who presented their journeys of ParaHockey development and shared knowledge with the others about how best to create opportunities for more people across Europe.

The excitement built as the Information Pack for the 2019 Euro ParaHockey Championships was presented. The EHF aim to increase nations involved from 9 to 12. (click here for Euro ParaHockey Championships 2019 Information Pack).