During the recent IIHF Annual Congress, a new development initiative was presented to the world: Partnership for Progress.
While in many other programs and projects the IIHF develops ice hockey around the world actively with its members, the Partnership for Progress will additionally bring bigger and smaller organizations together to form partnerships and help developing hockey countries not just at the level of national associations but also between leagues and clubs.
“The landscape of international ice hockey is changing and therefore the communication between all stakeholders needs to reach a new level. I am very pleased that two IIHF Committees work closely together and joined forces to further improve the dialogue in regards of coaching, and youth and development. I am sure that only such teamwork can guarantee the future success of our sport,” said IIHF President René Fasel.
The IIHF will serve as platform and network to bring partners together, to send experts of their field from bigger to smaller nations, give inputs for co-operation and provide platforms to organize events such as the championships and camps.
At least five international education sessions are planned during IIHF championships in the upcoming season and the goal for the pilot season is to have five initiatives between IIHF member national associations, five club exchange initiatives, one league initiative, and five organizational assessments to determine the strategy and long-term planning of these IIHF member national associations such as recently conducted with the members in the Netherlands and in Turkey.
The education can happen at different levels. It is a new approach of the IIHF to cover it all, to address different regions, levels, categories and functions from players to coaching to management.
Two of the IIHF’s educational initiatives include additional events for coaches. A Women’s Coaching Symposium will be organized in Finland during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.
And together with the German Ice Hockey Association a coaching development initiative is planned in December when the IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A will be played in the country in Fussen.
“A constant exchange of knowledge from top coaches on all level is vital to guarantee the positive development of our sport,” said Tom Renney, Chairman of the IIHF Coaching Committee and CEO of Hockey Canada.
The 2018/2019 season will be a pilot year for the project, which is planned between bigger and smaller national ice hockey bodies but also in particular between big and small clubs. And that’s where the European Hockey Club Alliance joins in. At its recent general meeting the organization representing 80 clubs in 11 European countries voted to become partner in the project with the clubs’ goal to support emerging hockey nations and their clubs to gain knowledge and inspiration in their ambition to develop the sport.
The possibilities for co-operation were presented by IIHF Council Member Petr Briza, who chairs the IIHF Youth & Junior Development Committee and is also a member of the alliance as President of Sparta Prague. In club-club partnerships players and coaches from smaller clubs could participate at bigger clubs and establish exchange programs.
“Sparta Prague is inviting kids and coaches from the Balkan region to the summer ice hockey school to support the development of ice hockey. Based on such successful initiatives the IIHF wants to promote such exchange or development initiatives on club, league and national association level and give the opportunity to young players to experience the environment of a big club and open up new dimensions,” Briza said.
The IIHF also plans a club management event specifically for women’s hockey during the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship that will take place in Radenthein, Austria.
Another event planned during an IIHF championship is a Learn to Play Recruitment Workshop for the Balkan region during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group A in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
You can learn more about the IIHF Partnership for Progress Program in this brochure
The concrete partnerships will be listed on the IIHF website at a later stage.