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The National Hockey Museum: two years old and going strong

The National Hockey Museum has passed its second birthday in its home in Woking. Why Woking you may ask? Well, if you are homeless and someone offers you an abode it would be churlish to refuse! Woking is an unusually progressive town and coupled to its amazing communication position it is easy to understand why so many national and multinational companies and organisations have made their headquarters in the town. Woking sees a national sports museum as a valuable addition to its portfolio.

So, having had an offer we could not refuse, we have got on with the job of developing the NHM. Without any advertising but certainly homing in on a few likely candidates, we have amassed an impressive team of volunteers who are busy creating a museum collection for our sport to be proud of. However our current home is not a permanent one. Very suitable premises they may be, but they are due to be demolished to make way for another development project.

We knew that when we moved in and it has been up to us to prove that we could develop and sustain our ambitions. I think that we have done that and I know that Woking are pleased with our progress. We will certainly move on into further temporary premises later this year but that does not daunt us. After all, three years ago we had nothing and look what we have created today.

Woking are actively seeking a suitable home for us and if it is “new build” we already have detailed architect’s plans for a “perfect building”. This will cost an appreciable amount of money but this does not daunt us either. There is always funding available for sound projects and we believe that is what we have. Perhaps as importantly, we have a very professional team to put together sound proposals.

This may all sound rather optimistically bullish. If you think so then come to see for yourself and I promise that you will go away enthralled. That is what happened to Leandro Negre, president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), when he made a special visit to us recently. He asked specifically to come to visit us and he went away very bullish. The FIH have “history and heritage” in their mission statement and it is something that Negre firmly believes in. His leadership of the FIH has brought many initiatives and safeguarding the history of our sport is one of them. The two senior executives of the FIH, Kelly Fairweather and Melanie Wilmore have also visited us and our Museum Chair, Katie Dodd, and myself have been to Lausanne to talk to them. We have a dialogue that we are confident will develop into a beneficial relationship.

If I had been asked two years ago what we might have achieved by now it would be nothing near to what we have actually managed. At long last hockey has a museum and the progress that we are making could become history in itself!

Mike Smith

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