Behind the Scenes
With the 2017-18 season nearing completion and senior teams fighting it out for the Dynsafe BACTEC Xtreme Cup and the Juniors vying for top spot in the Junior Morrison Xtreme League, work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure the continued future of ball hockey in the Islands.
The presentation "The Road Ahead" was undertaken last night with players getting an insight into what the ISBHF and the World Championships entails and where it will be held. Team Falklands tactics and training were discussed and how we envisage setting up during the World Championships. To help the players understand the speed and intensity of the game, video clips were provided of the 2017 Pardubice finals between Slovakia and Canada. Of course the biggest hurdle when sending any team away from the Islands to compete in an international sporting event will be cost and attending 2019 Worlds is going to be no different as we look at requiring to raise £40,000 to get a team of 17 there. With the right approach towards fundraising and looking to obtain sponsorship then it is not impossible. The hard work starts now as players are going to be working to organise events over the course of the year and to help raise the profile of ball hockey once again in the Islands.
One of the key areas was ensuring players commitment is of the highest standard towards training as it will be crucial and important for all players interested in going to Worlds to attend all training sessions. We have a vision and a set way to play and must ensure that all players buy into this vision to enable them to play together as a unit and to work as a team. The competition facing us will be seasoned players with vasts amount of experience of playing in international tournaments and will naturally make this an extremely tough competition to play in. Players last night were fired up and are eager to represent the Islands and show the world that, even though we are the smallest ISBHF member nation, we want to prove that we are going to be no push over.
Other major work that is currently underway is the discussions with the ISBHF Board in relation to the Falkland Islands spearheading the very first ISBHF South American Continental Championship in ball hockey. With the development of a new hockey arena by FIOGA this will enable the Falkland Islands to be the central hub for ball hockey in the South American region. Plans so far are in their infancy stage with links being established with countries such as Chile, Uruguay and Brazil and the recent visit by students from these countries has helped to strengthen the bonds. It was amazing to find out that ball hockey is not played at all in Uruguay with no indoor arenas to facilitate it and people playing field hockey so this is a glorious opportunity for the Falkland Islands to help introduce ball hockey to Uruguay and help set up their first national league and become a member of the ISBHF.
To quote South Korean ISBHF Board Member, Colin Gennoe “There is no question that ball hockey is going mainstream, but how are we going to get there, the ISBHF we can’t do this alone, we need leaders from all of our nations to step up, to carry the torch and to train the next generation of players” We believe strongly that the Falkland Islands as a nation can step up and carry the torch of the ISBHF and take ball hockey further, we have the heart and desire to do more and go further and that’s even before we have attended our first World Championships!
President of the ISBHF, George Gortsos, has stated that the proposal is supported by the ISBHF Board members and will be taken to the next board meeting and will invite the Falkland Islands via skype to attend one of these meetings to put across how we envisage a South American Continental Championship working. George also stated that the ISBHF would be able to assist this future event financially as well as providing tournament support staff and referees. Not only would this provide a professional approach to the tournament but it would also open up other avenues such as training and coaching sessions for players both junior and adults when such tournaments are on. The Falkland Islands would obtain fantastic public relations from holding such events and would go a long way in strengthening bonds with South American nations.
Plans will be going ahead now to set up links with South American nations and to push forward the ideas that we have, as even without an arena at present, there is nothing stopping the South American Continental Championship being set up and playing out in one of the South American countries. Another option is to offer a smaller 3v3 Championship in the Islands utilising the Stanley Leisure Centre until the new complex is built. All options that will be looked at to raise the current profile of ball hockey in the Islands as well as the world.
The Falkland Islands as mentioned before might be the smallest nation in the ISBHF but we don't just want to be a nation that plays the sport and attends international championships we want to become a leader in the sport and to help develop it further and to help ensure the sport obtains its Olympic status. If getting a South American Continental Championship helps to obtain that Olympic status then I would say that is job very much well done for the Falkland Islands.
Having just received an email to state the my internet has now reached 95% and with 3 days left until a new month where more megabytes will be received I shall have to maintain radio silence. So do apologise for lack of blogs and game statistics but unfortunately this is one area in the Falkland Islands that is still miles behind the world! #petitionforfreembs