21st December 2023, Vienna – The 2nd WHPP Consortium Meeting wrapped up the first year of the 2023-2025 project Co-Founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union aimed at the development of women’s ice hockey in the Danube region.
Representatives from the national hockey federations of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia joined by the Sport Institute of Finland and University of Ljubljana and the International Ice Hockey Federation took a look back on the first period of the three-year effort and designed course of action for the second leg of the project.
Partners to the enterprise discussed lessons learned from the 2023 WHPP Festival that took place in Maribor (SLO) earlier this year hosting women’s teams from all five countries. As the WHPP is designed also to evolve and improve itself, the participants of the meeting agreed that takeaways from the maiden event in Slovenia should be used in setting up the project’s future activities, bearing in mind its primary objective – to benefit women hockey players, coaching and other team staff, game officials, and other persons involved in women’s ice hockey.
The 2024 WHPP Festival which is set to take place from 19th to 21st April next year in Klagenfurt (AUT) will increase focus on the educational aspects with on the ice application of theoretical knowledge offered at the off the ice sessions with the experts provided by the IIHF.
Furthermore, the partners agreed that different team format will have a positive effect on the social interactions between the participants and thus the exchange of knowledge between them. Nevertheless, the event will not lose its competitive component which will, with the new approach, allow the young girls across the region to make new friendships through sport. This will be of additional significance as the participating ice hockey federations are more oriented to take part in the Klagenfurt event with younger (U18) hockey players.
The two-day meeting was also the opportunity to discuss different challenges each federation is facing on an operational and strategic level, as well as the various approaches in tackling them.
The members of the WHPP Consortium also agreed the next meeting will take place in December next year in Vierumäki (FIN).