IHA strategic plan has high ambitions for Irish hockey
Four year plan aims for 20% increase in active participation and qualification for Olympics
Ireland hockey player Andrew McConnell is consoled after Ireland lose to Korea and fail to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. The IHA’s aim is to be at the next tournament. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times
In a blueprint for the sport released last week Irish hockey hopes to increase active participation by 20 per cent over the next four years, compete at the 2016 Olympic Games and take part in the 2018 World Cup.
Outlined in the four year strategic plan the Irish Hockey Association (IHA) has key strategic goals for the 168 clubs and 280 schools throughout the country including a ‘Fit For Purpose’ governing body, talent identification and the development of high performance.
The IHA will also investigate the viability of a National Centre of Excellence. The 20 per cent increase in participation is hoped to be achieved by 2018.
The organisation also hopes to increase communication to all stakeholders and develop as fund raising and sponsorship strategy that supports all of the other goals set out.
The plan to put robust financial controls in place is an important goal given the recent controversy surrounding over spends on budgets that ultimately saw the Irish men’s team having to appeal to the public for funds to travel to an international event in Argentina.
It should be said that the hockey public were overwhelmingly generous on that occasion and along with four companies raised around €50,000 in the appeal.
While there are little in specifics in the document, the aspirational tone aims high. Ireland has not had a team in the Olympic Games in modern times and it will be interesting to see just how the sport will “develop athletes and teams that consistently compete at European, World and Olympic levels”.
Overall there are eight key strategic goals, which will be developed over the coming weeks once the IHA are clear on funding for the next year.
Next Tuesday the IHA will outline details for the under-21 International tournament that takes place in Mossley next month. Ireland, England, Scotland and the top ranked team in the world, Germany, will take part.