BHUK Presidents Welcoming Address

15th June 2016 - 15:43

It is with great personal pleasure that I am able to witness first-hand the depth and progress of ball hockey development in the UK allowing us to not only showcase our Junior National Team programme but also to host our first major ISBHF World Championship event. My long term dream of assisting in the development of ball hockey in the UK started some time ago even allowing me more recently to up sticks from Canada to return home to my native land. The passion and dedication of my fellow committee, players, coaches and parents is evident in showing what can be created in such a short space of time. Great Britain U16's, 18's & 20's are a select group that was chosen with relative difficulty as in the UK we now have many young players to choose from. Continuing on from Pisek 2012 and Bratislava 2014 Junior World Championships member numbers are blossoming due to our various junior development programs around the country. There are also a growing number of clubs recruiting younger players to boost their ranks and our Bronze winning senior mens team actually included seven young players who had only participated at Junior World Championship level before this highlights the need to make way and encourage youth to step up to the next level and set their goals high. The junior national team development has been a rapid process since the first World Juniors in Pilsen 2012 and shows our players ready, willing and fully capable of doing well in the upcoming junior worlds. Many players on the three teams are experienced and have participated in international tournaments at Juniors and Seniors showing a confidence not recognized in our young squads before. The players are all very excited and proud to play before a home audience and can't wait to show how far they've come in a short space of time. The returning national team members also look forward to meeting and playing against previous opponents and raising the bar individually and collectively. BHUK has hosted Junior National Final tournaments over the past 4 years for our junior programmes which has met with a great response from these youngsters especially following on from Junior World Championship years where many have been following the live streams prior to Nationals. Yet again the live streaming of JWC 2016 will be crucial for us and our sport and as part of our #GrowingTheGame campaign. We must also thank the parental commitment and support these players receive as they do come from far and wide for national and international events. The results of this commitment shows in their level of play, even in those who have just recently taken up the sport. We see young players playing shoulder to shoulder with mums, dads, brothers, sisters, and even some grandparents in our domestic training sessions. The involvement to make the sport accessible and inclusive for all our youth is remarkable as more and more kids are taking up ball hockey every day. A final thanks and admiration goes out to everyone involved in contributing to the development of our junior players in this country. Thanks for making the sport fun as our kids do love it. They are a vital part in the growth and development of ball hockey in Great Britain. CARL WOOD BALL HOCKEY UK PRESIDENT

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