Year of the Youth

Visit the Year of
the Youth website
Securing The Future of Our Sport

"Attracting more young players and creating good conditions for youth hockey is essential for the future of our sport". That was the strong message of Theo Ykema, chairman of the FIH Development and Coaching Committee, in his address at the opening of the FIH's ambitious project, "2001: Hockey's International Year of the Youth".

The Dutchman reminded everyone that YotY, as the Year of the Youth project is popularly known, is not just for hockey developing countries. Every National Association is not only invited but expected to play their part. He stressed that it is very important that all nations attract and involve more youngsters. YotY is about more and better.

While Hockey must and can certainly be seen as a high performance sport, it is also a healthy recreational sport, taking place in a good social atmosphere. YotY is the FIH's largest ever global project. It is a "million dollar project", but, more importantly, a project for "millions of people". It is for hockey players but is also designed to involve those children and adolescents, who do not yet know our sport, but can become hockey players.

He stressed that YotY is much more than a festival. It is large scale promotion and special attention will be paid to the growth, quality and standing of youth hockey. Ykema sees the emphasis on youth hockey continuing in the years after this special year.

He emphasised that every national association must make sure they do not miss out on the excellent opportunities YotY offers them for the benefit of hockey in their country and world wide.

Alyson Annan and Stephan Veen, the Player of the Year award
winners, photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower with Parisian
youngsters as part of YotY promotion.

Successful launching of YotY

Parisian boys and girls celebrated the official opening of hockey's International Year of the Youth on Friday, 24th of November, at a time when hockey officials from all over the world were gathered for the FIH's Congress. This ground breaking FIH initiative is designed to create a whole year of hockey fun, especially dedicated to youngsters from every corner of the world. It has the support of major companies like Fuji, Shell, Xerox and Dita International. The top international players the world over are already pledging their support. These include Australia's Alyson Annan and the Dutchman Stephan Veen, the double Olympic gold medallists both of whom were in Paris to collect their award as the 2000 International Player of the Year.

The global hockey event will be a Youth Hockey Marathon in May 2001. All five continents will take part. The aim is to gain a place in the Guinness Book of Records by having the largest number of young people playing hockey around the world on the same day and at the same time.

Gabrielle van Doorn

Apart from that, millions of youngsters will participate in many pleasurable and exciting hockey festivals, courses and events at local, national and international level. These are arranged to take place across the world throughout the year and, of course, to involve youngsters who do not play hockey at this moment.

The last event will be in Hobart, Australia, during the Junior Men's World Cup in October 2001. According to Gabrielle van Doorn, the Project Co-ordinator, this special World Hockey Festival will see, "Not the end but the beginning of hockey's ambition to embrace the youth of the World".

Open Forum

The official opening presentation of 2001 - FIH YEAR OF THE YOUTH was a highpoint at the FIH Open Forum, "Vision 2000 and Beyond", held in Paris.

The launching was the culmination of two years of planning and hard work following the enterprising decision of the FIH's Development and Coaching Committee to promote youth hockey worldwide.

s Gabrielle van Doorn, the FIH Development Project Manager, and Anne Ellis, the manager of the DCC Youth Hockey Promotion Group, under the wings of the Development and Coaching Committee, have combined with six enthusiasts from five continents, the respective Continental Project Managers, to ensure the maximum success of the project.

After the FIH's Executive Board had fielded questions in the open discussion on hockey's future, the small group of experienced hockey enthusiasts from the five continents revealed just how much work had been applied over the past few months and years to ensure that our sport has a promising future.

Youths from Paris welcomed delegates from round the world in all languages. FIH president Juan Angel Calzado set the ball rolling. He stressed the importance of the project as far as the FIH was concerned, to ensure the future of our sport adding, "The FIH has the responsibility not only to facilitate youth sport-development but also to encourage values that will last through-out their lives".

Theo Ykema, the DCC Chairman, referred in his speech to the uniqueness of the project, the largest in which the FIH has ever been involved and stressed its importance for the future of hockey world-wide. Each of the Continental Managers gave the forum a short presentation of their ideas and projects, presenting an overview of the challenges and difficulties encountered so far. Each continent has different target areas, some concentrating on development stages or establishing a structure to introduce hockey, others to getting more and higher quality players, coaches and officials. Plenty of help is available for all countries from the Global and Continental Project Managers as well as with the provision of information packs to plan events.

The commitment of the Continental Project Managers is clear but it is also crucial that National Associations remain enthusiastic.

The FIH will make coaches available and, for those countries who would like assistance in the drafts and implementation of long term development programmes, are prepared to send FIH hockey development consultants. The launch also provided the opportunity to establish useful contacts between the Project Managers and delegates from the various countries.

Sponsors support

The sponsors are playing a vital part. They will provide support material to the countries. The national delegates were handed their materials and received Dita Golden Youth Sticks. These special sticks will pass among all the participating clubs and schools in each country.

It is Shell who have produced the promotional video in which a number of international players stress their support and that the requirements for playing hockey are not great, that everyone can take part.

Dita will provide equipment kits for countries running a coaching course, while Fuji have a special gift, a digital camera, for those countries staging eight or more Year of the Youth events. These cameras are to capture the various events so that they can be seen across the world on the just launched Year of the Youth website. The first pictures were taken at the launch as each country's delegates were filmed receiving their Golden Youth stick. The individual countries have a lot of work to do to make the project a success but it will surely be rewarding. With the enthusiasm emanating from the launch, all the information available in the handbook, and the fruitful discussions and ideas that came out of the workshop, an exciting time lies ahead.

Dutch Olympic player Fatima Moreira de Melo who is making a
career as asinger, entertained the guests at the official opening
by performing the special song written and recorded for the Year
of the Youth project.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY; If every hockey player persuaded one child to take up our sport in 2001, we would have double the number of players.


The YotY project managers are eager to help them and can be easily contacted. The following list has been updated since our last Newsletter.

AFRICA: Gill Taylor.
Tel: +27.21.686.6968 or mobile +27.82.779.4234.
Fax: +27.21.686.6969.
e-mail: [email protected]

AMERICAS: Bev Johnson.
Tel: +1.818.563.3775.
Fax +1.818.846.3742.
e-mail: [email protected]

ASIA: Tayyab Ikram.
Tel: +853.580.762 or + 853.752.715.
Fax: +853.514.218 or +853.719.711.
e-mail: [email protected]

EUROPE: David Agius and Rita Keverling-Buisman.
Tel: +356.436.795.
Fax: +356.419.359.
e-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +31.26.364.2230.
e-mail: [email protected]

OCEANIA: Alan Lints.
Tel: +64.9.629.2932.
Fax: +64.9.629.2934.
e-mail: [email protected]

GLOBAL: Gabrielle van Doorn.
Tel: + or +
Fax: +
e-mail: [email protected]