#EquallyAmazing – how national associations deliver on their promises – eurohockey.org | Team Cansler

To launch the EHF’s #EquallyAmazing campaign in 2019, national member federations came together to campaign for more equality in their respective organisations.

In 2021, we extended our support to our members through the EuroHockey Executive Leadership Forum, where nations pledged what they would and would have done to open new doors and equalize opportunity in our sport across the continent.

We take a look at some snapshots of it below:

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In Belgium, they have pledged to expand their Girls Power initiative and provide specific training to promote women’s leadership on club boards.

The Girls Power project is ongoing and is focused on recruiting more young girls to clubs, training more coaches and referees and recruiting more women to governing bodies.

In Scotland they are targeting a 10 per cent increase in youth membership from state schools by 2025, taking advantage of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The initiative was called Hamish’s Heroes (after their mascot, Hamish the Hippo) and involved providing each registered school with a range of free resources, including: a welcome letter; Fun Fours (U10s) Six-Week Teacher Lesson Plans (suitable for P5 and under); Hamish’s Heroes student book with hints and tips from international athletes; Super Sixes (U12s) Six-Week Lesson Plans (suitable for P6-7s); Posters advertising the Commonwealth Games schedule (including Scotland Games) and images of international athletes.

Between 240 and 250 schools across Scotland have registered; As part of the project, they offered both free entry to a festival program and free teacher training during the summer semester. The majority came from the government school sector and they hope this will have a domino effect on club membership.

Austria promised to “get more women into ice hockey”. This has proved successful as the Board is now taking the next steps to arrange a meeting with all clubs to implement 1+1 attendance (1 female, 1 male) at official meetings.

Similarly, Bulgaria welcomed Emilia Vitanova as marketing and project manager as part of efforts to increase the number of women working in the organization.

The Czech Republic also helped create a more diverse and hockey-focused board, with Karolina Paterson taking the central role as the new High Performance Committee leader.

In their new structure, the two national captains are part of an athletes’ committee to broaden their contribution to the organization. Poland has also introduced a gender-balanced athletes committee – this consists of four men and women and a main chair to ensure an equal approach.

Additionally, Poland committed to creating a new attitude towards volunteering in the ice hockey community and showed strong examples from other countries through its social media.

It has more than tripled the number of volunteers for the international events they have hosted over the past two years; The youthful age profile is particularly pleasing.

Cyprus pledged to “bring in more active players, both men and women, by pushing the federation to organize more events to promote the sport”.

This has largely worked. To this end, hockey was presented to a wide range of schools at the Cyprus Olympic Building at the central event, an event where many federations were able to set up a mini field/area to promote their sport to incoming students in various junior high schools.

This had the knock-on effect that the Nicosia GC school asked for a presentation on the sport with other schools in the pipeline.

Lithuania has also focused on youth participation. To mark the 45th anniversary of Lithuanian ice hockey, they have completed a Youth Leadership Academy program while now a fully functioning children’s league is held every week.

Greece has fulfilled one of its pledges – to get the federation’s recognition from the Hellenic Olympic Committee after an eight-year hiatus – while work is underway on the next concrete pledge of a restored hockey pitch.

Portugal’s ambitious plans to triple the number of their players are in full swing as they expect to double their tally soon.

With many fun excursions, Halloween tournaments, carnival, Christmas, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day events, they focused on the age groups U8 and U12.

The increase in female players has enabled them to push to end mixed teams at U15 and U18 levels and, in due course, have only boys and girls teams.

** What NAs Say About Their Initiatives **

Poland’s Piotr Wilkonski: “By repeating good examples and showing examples from other countries on our social media, we have increased interest in supporting hockey as a volunteer.”

Patrícia Filipa Gonçalves Ângelo from Portugal: “The good work we have done in Portugal so far will be reflected years later. We had practically no girls and women playing ice hockey, so it’s a victory to be able to form only women’s and men’s teams. So we will continue to work to make our sport accessible to everyone.”

Kelly Fillingham from Scotland: “Between 240 and 250 schools across Scotland have signed up for our Hamish’s Heroes project where we have offered both entry to a festival program and free teacher training. We have made good connections to have more discussions and more festivals… so hopefully the path from school to club will develop.”

Ugne Chmeliauskaite from Lithuania: “We are already seeing the benefits of our alumni program; Three of them work as coaches, five are actively involved in referee meetings and others are of great help in local community building activities.

Cyprus’s Lambros Lamprianou: “It’s safe to say we’ve helped take ice hockey to new heights in Cyprus”

Croatia’s Renata Gregurek: “It feels like things are going in the right direction. In these post-Covid times we managed to increase the number of children in the Croatian hockey family.”

Belgian Christophe Tallon: “We are committed to continuing our groundwork on gender equality in the Belgian ice hockey community by continuing our grassroots actions as part of the Girls Power campaign and organizing specific training to promote women’s leadership on club boards .”

** For information on the Executive Leadership Forum in 2023 and how national affiliates can nominate people for the Forum, click here

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