Once again the EHL lived up to its reputation… In Eindhoven the hockey family came together over the Easter weekend and celebrated our sport. Almost 15.000 visitors came and witnessed the best of club hockey live at the grounds of HC Oranje-Rood. Many more saw the games on their TV or online. Supporters from all clubs sitting next to each other, coming in the same entry, sharing the same fan village, having a drink together and enjoying the amazing family our European club hockey has fostered…
Sure, a World Cup or the European Cup for nations are bigger events, but it’s club hockey where emotions and fan engagement will peak… It’s closer to home, it’s closer to the heart!

There’s a reason obviously why the Final4 is hosted in the Netherlands every year. It’s this small country who provides the ideas, the energy, the volunteers and the sponsors who make this possible. But even when Dutch clubs for once do not make it into the Final4, the show will go on! Congrats to the EHL organisation, ABN Amro for sticking with us as the main sponsor, but most of all to all those wonderful volunteers from HC Oranje-Rood who came through. They did an amazing job welcoming the European hockey family even when their own team did not live up to expectations.

Shame on English & German federations

What a shame not all European federations shoulder their part of the task of supporting European club hockey. In Spain they made some kind of effort and at least secured the sponsoring from the city of Barcelona to support the EHL. Unfortunately every year they deliver a poor event for the first round of the EHL by hosting this at the wrong location, a place without a soul, without much love for the game of hockey…
Have it play at one of the amazing Barcelona based clubs and get all the clubs and their members involved to make it grow. Belgian clubs too have taken the risk and made something happen to support EHL in the past.

But it’s the federations like England Hockey and the Germans who should be ashamed. It’s the English and German clubs who should be blushing, taking advantage year after year from those who do stick their neck out. Time to stand up and own your responsibility in helping to grow our European club hockey and make it stronger. Do not half ass it either when you do get a chance to organise an EHL event. Make it happen and go Big!
Get your members who are decision makers at possible sponsors and bigger companies to give back to the sport who formed them and their children. Get these people to invite their relations in bigger numbers to your event. Get your members to invite their family, their friends, their neighbours to come and discover our sport. Roll up your sleeves and do your part! Hockey needs you…

Because in Europe our game of hockey rests on the foundations of club hockey. Our domestic leagues, in both recreational and tophockey are essential for hockey. Without it hockey would cease to exist…
And the EHL is the pinnacle event for our European club hockey. Our club hockey and domestic leagues need the EHL to grow and thrive.

Reinvent the event, not the sport

I truly hope the EHL will manage to keep reinventing itself as a family oriented event. Preferably innovations in future years will not be in rules or on the pitch. But rather in the way we show hockey both on site as well as online or TV.
That’s where we can improve and grow… Engagement with the audience is something we can do better and different to set us apart from other sports or hockey events. Let’s focus our minds on these challenges. We should reinvent the event, not the sport!