Berdi Sabri dies

Father of Indonesian hockey was just 42

12.04.2018
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Berdi Sabri (1975-2018). Photo courtesy of FHEI

In Indonesia, one of the newest IIHF member countries, he was considered the father of Indonesian ice hockey. On 9 April, at the age of just 42, Indonesia Ice Hockey Federation (FHEI) President Berdi Sabri passed away after suffering a heart attack.

Sabri became involved in hockey in the ‘90s when inline hockey became popular in his country and founded the Batavia Demons, the oldest hockey club that is still active in the Asian country. When ice skating became available in Indonesia, they started to play ice hockey and join amateur tournaments.

Hockey was just recreational at that time but within a decade the sport had grown with more players, tournaments and sponsors getting involved. When Sabri retired as a player he got involved off the ice to help grow the sport. In 2016 he was appointed FHEI President, talked with private institution, the government and the IIHF for official recognition.

Indonesia became a member of the National Olympic Committee and of the IIHF the same year which helped looking for funding. He recruited young people to help him for his vision: establishing a national team for as early as 2017.

2017 he led the Indonesian national team to participate in its first international events, the 2017 Asian Winter Games in Sapporo and the first-ever ice hockey tournament of the Southeast Asia Games, last August in Kuala Lumpur.

Last month Indonesia won its first medal, bronze at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia Division I. He just made the impossible seem like nothing. Just like the old days when he was still active as a player. There was no quitting, the only way to move was going forward.

His contribution to Indonesia ice hockey has been enormous, not just about establishing the national team, but through his leadership. He made ice hockey known so that the young generation for the future of Indonesia ice hockey could grow.

– with files from the FHEI

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