Santa Claus Cup’s 20th edition in Budapest welcomes clubs from Ukraine and Croatia

The 20th edition of the two-day Santa Claus Cup organised by Kaptár SE youth club with the support of the Hungarian Hockey Federation proved a great success once again.

The event – supported by a EuroHockey Solidarity Grant – was held at the Gyulai István Elementary School in Pestszenterzsébet last week and designed is for children from Hungary and the surrounding countries who love hockey.

As a bonus, the second day of the tournament coincided with the opening day of the Hungarian men’s indoor championship with parents and children able to cheer on their local teams.

The main organiser of the tournament was Balázs Herberth, head of Kaptár SE and vice-president of the Hungarian Hockey Federation for youth sports. It was broken down into three age groups (U8, U10 and U12) with between 80-100 children taking part.

Teams from Kaptár SE, Soroksári HC and BKGDSE-Fasor HC from Hungarytook part with visitors from Zagreb, Croatia – HK Marathon and HK Trešnjevka – travelling for the cup.

And the surprise of the tournament was the arrival of a newly formed children’s team of 12 players from the small town of Perechyn in Transcarpathia, Ukraine.

These boys and girls, are students at a sports school in Perechny, who only started hockey a few months ago. Their team was personally led by the Mayor of Perechny – Ivan Pohoriljak who is a former national team player.

The Hungarian Hockey Federation, welcoming the request of the people of Perechyn, has established a sporting relationship with the town’s administration.

As part of this relationship, the President of the Hungarian Hockey Federation ceremonially handed over children’s goalkeeper’s equipment to the Ukrainian sports students, thus helping to lay the foundations of hockey in Perechyn.

Speaking about the event, MGYSZ Vice President Ferenc Ferenczi said: “The children were accompanied by a large number of parents and relatives in the gymnasium of the Gyulai István Elementary School, which is also an excellent venue for indoor hockey.

“The enthusiasm and uncompromising will to win brought tears to parent’s eyes. It was a particular pleasure to see the foreign teams accompanied by enthusiastic away supporters.

“The children gave their all to repay the enthusiastic cheering. The standard of play was surprisingly high, with even the youngest children handling the stick and the ball with skill.

“The success of the tournament is a testament to the strength of Hungarian field hockey and its unbroken faith in the future. Next year, 2024, will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Hungarian Hockey Federation, which is also the 100th birthday of the International Hockey Federation. In 2024, we will celebrate a joint centenary.

“After the local indoor championship, the Hungarian team will participate in the EuroHockey Indoor Championships II-B in early February (1-4 February 2024), held in Budapest.

“Our sport seems to have recovered from the shock of the Covid-19 epidemic and we can look forward to the coming years with optimism, despite our dire facilities situation.”

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