VIERUMÄKI, Finland – Summer has reached Finland but that doesn’t mean a break from hockey at the rinks in Vierumäki where two IIHF camps for women’s hockey and a summit take place this and next week.
The 2014 IIHF Hockey Development Camp is the first of the two camps to take place in the premises of the Sport Institute of Finland. It has already started and includes several programs with most participants being busy in and around the team programs where this year female players born in 1998 and 1999 were invited. The first Hockey Development Camp was run in 1999 when many participants were even not born yet.
Six teams with players allotted from various countries will be operated and offer not only a learning experience for the girls but are designed to educate participants in the other programs where coaches, team managers, goalkeeper coaches, equipment managers and officials are involved. A Coach Education Seminar, a Long-Term Player Development Program and an Administrator’s Education Program are operated during this week as well.
“It’s going to be a great experience for everybody involved – the coaches, the players, the referees, the trainers, the administrators,” said IIHF Vice President Bob Nicholson, who is also the Chairman of the IIHF Development & Coaching Committee.
“Make sure that you all get something out of this and get to meet a lot of people. Everybody has something to offer and to make other people better,” he addressed the 319 participants from 46 countries who take part in the 2014 IIHF Hockey Development Camp.
“It is very important for the IIHF that we come out of this week with a program that helps you in your country. The key goal and what we are monitoring is how we can make hockey better in each of the 47 countries that are here.”
All IIHF Member National Associations were invited to send people to the respective programs. Participants do not only come from the top countries but from a whole range of regions including newer hockey nations like Malaysia, Mexico or Turkey but also countries where women’s hockey is an entirely new phenomenon such as Georgia or Lithuania.
The end of the camp will be the beginning of other initiatives. Four years after the World Hockey Summit in Toronto and a Think Tank project it is time to bring the leaders in women’s ice hockey together following the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The IIHF Women’s Hockey Summit will be run during two days with participants from 15 countries discussing about the state of women’s hockey and actions to be taken to shape the future of the women’s game.
The weekend will then mark the start of the 2014 IIHF Women’s High Performance Camp where top female U18 players from 16 countries will participate. The primary purpose is to educate the participants in the skills and training required to compete at the top level of international women’s hockey and to assist them in developing these necessary abilities.