By Rod Gilmour
World Masters Hockey (WMH) will aim to bring about a “full lifetime experience” for players as an eagerly-anticipated year for the masters’ scene takes shape.
Ahead of multiple World Cup titles being handed out across the globe in 2020, the FIH and WMH president Sean Curran last month signed a ground-breaking agreement that will bring all Masters hockey under a single organisation within the hockey community.
“There is a lot of respect for the work undertaken by IMHA and WGMA in the past,” Curran told The Hockey Paper. “Through their endeavours they have built this up from a small beginning to something that is pretty big. Their success has come to the light of FIH who have wanted it streamlined with one body dealing with everything.”
It has taken two years to set up one association dealing with all Masters hockey over the age of 35.
“Everyone from the age of 35 to 80 is a large number of people, a remit which goes beyond running tournaments to getting under-developed nations to play,” added Curran. “The very idea of hockey is that it’s a sport you can play from the moment you can work to the moment you can no longer walk. It’s a full life-time experience and part of Masters hockey is for it to become a reality for more people across the globe.
For the Nottingham World Cup, a tournament for the men’s and women’s over-35s and 40s, around 65 teams have expressed an interest to play in the across the four age groups.
And despite Masters growing all the time, Curran believes there are now around 200 international teams in Masters hockey. This is more than at a traditional World Cup. “When we went to the FIH, they couldn’t believe it [the size],” added Curran.
Engaging African and Asian nations to host tournaments is one key priority for Curran and WMH, as well as setting about international rules, with the FIH open to the Masters adapting to different variations of the rules to suits its players.
Curran said that the burgeoning WMH was also given a helping grant from the FIH to help with IT infrastructure. Until WMH begins to flourish there are currently no funds, with its directors currently helping out.
Curran, a retired chartered accountant, is a former Irish schoolboys’ captain. If selected, he has ambition to play for Ireland over-60s at the Tokyo World Cup in November. As well as Nottingham and Tokyo, an age-group Masters World Cup is also planned for Cape Town.
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