KUWAIT CITY – Last weekend the 12th Asian Strategic Planning Group Meeting was held in Kuwait City. 27 delegates came together to discuss and decide the future direction of development activities and competitions in Asia.
The Challenge Cup of Asia will be restructured with two divisions on the men’s and women’s side.
Focus on development
Naturally development had the highest priority in the meetings and the Asian Group’s targets were set in close co-operation with the IIHF Development & Coaching Committee. Last year’s successfully implemented Coaching and Officiating Education series for instructors will be extended for the duration of four years with the goal of building up a special instructor pool for national associations.
In the U18 category the focus will move towards more development after the evaluation of the U18 Challenge Cup of Asia events. It is planned to organize a U18 Development Camp in Chinese Taipei in the upcoming season.
As the youngsters are the future, the Asian Strategic Planning Group wants to offer these athletes opportunities to collect international experience that they can share amongst each other back home. This kind of model can be very successful and leadership seminars for coaching and officiating will be part of the camp.
Challenge Cup of Asia restructured
With 10 teams participating in last year’s Challenge Cup of Asia in Thailand, the number of participating teams in this category has reached its all-time high. For next season the men’s category will be played in two divisions at two separate venues similar to the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program.
This will give teams the opportunity to have more quality games, make hosting the event more practical and ensure the development at the same time.
After each season the bottom-ranked team from the top division will be relegated to Division I and the Division I winner will move up to the top level.
The top division will be organized in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and the Division I tournament will be played in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, which will participate in the event for the first time.
The Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia will grow significantly to eight teams split into two divisions. Some of the top Asian countries together with Australia for the first time will play in Harbin while a Division I event will be played with new countries in international women’s ice hockey including Singapore, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and host Hong Kong.
“All in all it was a successful meeting with the goal of bringing Asian countries closer to the level of hockey in Europe,” said IIHF Asian Sport Development Manager Harry Springfeld. “Having a very healthy, development-oriented and structured system will be the key for success.”
2014 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 15-22 March 2014 (TBC)
Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Kuwait, Thailand, United Arab Emirates
2014 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia Division I
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dates TBA
India, Macau, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan
2014 IIHF Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia
Harbin, China, Dates TBA
China, Korea, Australia, DPR Korea (TBC)
2014 IIHF Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia Division I
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Dates TBA
Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong