Hockey Ireland are delighted to congratulate Loreto and Ballymoney on their award for club of the year.
The final European Hockey Federation Club of the Year awards of this decade are very special ones for the EHF. In 2019 we launched our Equally Amazing campaign and in August our Member Associations signed the EHF’s Gender Balance Charter.
All of these elements are relevant to our Club of the Year awards as each entry was assessed bearing in mind how our clubs are grasping with both hands the opportunities to make sure that gender balance and equal opportunities are available to anyone who wants to play hockey.
As Peter Elders, Chair of the Assessment Committee said “We were looking for tangible projects being delivered at grassroots level. Projects that can be delivered easily and without huge costs to our clubs. Also, projects that could easily be replicated in other clubs and countries under our pillar of sharing knowledge. It is fantastic to see how imaginative our clubs can be and how when they spot a group that is missing out on hockey, how they can engage and bring this group into (or back into) the hockey family. Thank you to all the volunteers who have delivered these projects on the ground and I am delighted to announce the winners as follows:
EHF Small Club of the Year: Ballymoney Hockey Club
Project: Increasing opportunities for boys’ hockey at U11 and U13
Working across several primary schools to activate a better gender balance for junior sections. Volunteers from the club have been on leadership and coaching courses to be able to give the boys the most positive start in their hockey careers. They have had help from local schools and clubs, and families and friends of our ladies’ sections. They receive sponsorship from star fuels and Bob and Bert’s coffee shop as well as running fundraisers, including a mini and junior fun day, bag packing, table and fireside quizzes and bag packing.
Laura Walters, Funding Officer from Ballymoney said on hearing that Ballymoney HC has been awarded the accolade of Small Club of the Year 2019.
“We at Ballymoney Hockey club are absolutely delighted to have been named the European (small) club of the year 2019. Over the past few years we have attempted to restructure and redevelop our club. It has taken a lot of hard work, organisation and dedication and this award is a testament to that. We are the first club in Ulster to have been awarded such a prestigious title and we hope we can go on to promote and develop our club further.”
When it came to the Large Club of the Year the EHF was spoiled for choice and when the Assessments were done, both Loreto HC and The Club an der Alster had equal points, Peter chuckled “As there was no chance of a shoot-out in the event of a draw, the committee agreed that the clubs would share the title of EHF Large Club of the Year 2019. Both projects are indeed Equally Amazing.”
Large Club of the Year: Loreto Hockey Club
Project: Hockey Mums
The idea was that the club offered coaching for Mums, some who had never played hockey before and others who had not played since school, all were keen to play and learn more about the game. This commenced with 40 parents and has grown each year. This year there were over 85 parents taking part. There were three levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced. Parents were taught hockey rules, skills and fitness. After the eight weeks the parents were split into mixed teams and a blitz style tournament & BBQ was held. This final event has proved extremely popular in the community with children, Dads, teachers and local parish workers all in attendance, over 300 people attended this year.
On hearing of the win Wendy Byrne, President of Loreto HC said “ Loreto Hockey Club is delighted, honored and very proud to be awarded the EHF Club of the Year award for large clubs. The award allowed us to highlight our clubs strong voluntary contributions, its inclusive nature and its warm welcoming atmosphere. Receiving this award caps off a great year for us, having just installed our first ever water-based pitch making our pitch and clubhouse a top-class facility. Thank you to all our members who create wonderful memories season after season. We couldn’t be happier.”