The European Hockey Federation (EHF) has graciously sent us its programme for the forthcoming international indoor hockey tournaments in January and February. Interestingly, most of the top European hockey nations are included, such as Germany, Holland and Spain as well as the lower-ranked nations such as Denmark and Austria.
Emerging nations such as Belarus, Lithuania and Slovakia are also entered in the women's under-21 tournament in Trebon, Czech Republic. But no Ireland anywhere. Not in the women. Not in the men. Nowhere.
Could this mean that the powers that be in Irish hockey continue to think that the international indoor game is a distraction to players rather than a benefit to the skills of the more popular outdoor game? If so why did Holland, Spain and Germany make a clean sweep of the World Cup medals in Utrecht this summer while the German and Dutch women landed World Cup silver and bronze at the same venue? Only the Australian women broke the European domination of both World Cups. Surely Irish hockey and its well-regarded administrators should make efforts to bring Ireland back into the European fold and add to a thriving European indoor hockey scene?