As part of our series looking at some of the standout Global hockey Projects from 2016, we look at some projects in Europe that have the potential to inspire others in 2017...
Accessibility is a key factor in many European countries. Providing opportunities for people with physical or mental challenges is at the heart of many development projects on the European continent.
ParaHockey provides sport for all
The German Hockey Federation (DHB) has been working hard to promote, support and develop hockey activities for people of all abilities.
The result of many months of talks, planning sessions and promotion was the annual ParaHockey tournament held at ETB Essen earlier this year.
Participants from 10 teams, representing five nations, took part in the event, with teams from Italy and Spain meeting in the final. The Italian side emerged as the winner but every team left with a gift of 10 hockey sticks given by the DHB.
The tournament was administrated and officiated by the European Hockey Federation Youth Panel.
Taking the initiative a step further, the DHB then organised a meeting of groups and individuals interested in developing inclusive hockey further.
Titled ‘Theme days ParaHockey and Inclusion’, the discussions included how to organise and run training sessions, provided support programmes for coaches and administrators, opportunities for different organisations to work together and share ideas and, of course, the chance for communication between different, but similarly motivated groups.
It is the aim of the DHB to encourage all clubs in Germany to offer inclusive activities. A press release on its website says: "There are so many possibilities to support the growth of ParaHockey and establish a range of possibilities and choices for people with handicaps in every sport. Hockey is a brilliant sport to train individual skills and the hockey family has the strength to encourage development."
The Euro ParaHockey Championships will take place 17 – 20 August, 2017 in Amsterdam as part of the EuroHockey Championships 2017.
Turkey is a country with more than its fair share of issues, but in the sphere of hockey it is making progress. A seminar on indoor hockey was held last year and was attended by more than 250 coaches, umpires, club managers and players. This year, Turkey entered the Hockey World League Round 1 where the men finished third and the women finished fifth.
The indoor hockey seminar received Olympic Solidarity funding and was organised and run by the Turkish Hockey Federation. As in West Africa and Oceania, this development work in Turkey is part of the FIH Targeted Assistance Programme (TAP).
FIH is working with the Turkish Hockey Federation, the European Hockey Federation (EHF) and Netherlands National Association - KNHB – on developing a long-term strategy to build a good participation base for hockey, both indoors and outdoors in the southern European country.
Speaking of this seminar, the Turkish Hockey Federation President, Kıvanç Hudogan, said: “From feedback received, the Education and Development seminar had a great attendance and was really beneficial. Without doubt it has accelerated the progress of hockey development in Turkey.”
This year Turkey men have moved up the FIH World Rankings from 51st to 46th, while the women are ranked at 36th.
Hockey for Heroes
“These guys are really something, we know we sacrifice a lot to be hockey players, so we understand a little of what they go through, but they are truly inspirational."
George Pinner, the Great Britain goalkeeper shakes his head in admiration as he talks about his role as ambassador to the Hockey for Heroes movement.
Hockey for Heroes came into existence in 2012, when a squad was formed comprising a number of military and ex-military personnel who all rally for the cause. The movement is an off-shoot of charity Help for Heroes who raise money to help injured and fallen military personnel. The funds raised help run a series of country-wide recovery centres, all focused heavily on the role sport can play.
The Hockey for Heroes team uses hockey-based challenges to raise funds for Help for Heroes. In 2013, the squad took on an inaugural tour, which encompassed 26 matches in seven days; in 2014 they took part in a tough mudder adventure race, then ran up Mount Snowdon before playing two hockey matches; and their most recent challenge saw them play 33 matches in 10 days, while completing the three peaks challenge [climbing the three highest peaks in the UK, Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike].
In 2017, the ambition is even greater – a 200 mile hike between the national stadium in Wales to the National Hockey Centre in London, playing a number of matches along the way, all while carrying a man on a stretcher.
Great Britain men’s involvement with Hockey for Heroes was instigated by team manager Andy Halliday, a longtime supporter of the charity.
"I was a member of the police force for 15 years," explains Halliday. "I have an affinity with and a huge admiration for these guys who give their all to serve their country.”
Gary Ryder, Managing Director of Hockey for Heroes, added: “We hope the link between hockey for heroes and the GB hockey team is a long one. Our aim is to support our charity but it's also to promote hockey as a sport.” For more information about Hockey for Heroes, click here.
For more information about hockey in Europe, visit the European Hockey Federation website by clicking here.