Thursday, October 28, 2021

Polish hockey donates award money to Austria after national stadium fire

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Hockey Paper staff
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Polish hockey has been praised for donating money to its Austrian counterparts after a fire blazed through the national hockey facility in Vienna.

A huge fire, which required 70 firefighters to put out over eight hours, left the stadium unfit for players to train and play in June.

When the Polish Hockey Federation (PZHT), a recipient of the FIH Pablo Negre award for the development of hockey, heard about the Austrians’ plight, they decided to donate the money they received for the award towards the refurbishment costs at the Pratera-based ground.

Piotr Wilkoński, Polish hockey’s general secretary, told the International Hockey Federation: “We have a close sporting and personal relationship with the Austrian federation. Often our teams play Test matches.

“In addition, the coach of the senior national team of Austria is Polish, and the coach of our senior national team is the coach of the leading club in Austria on a daily basis. Many of our players play in the Austrian league.”

The night before the fire outbreak, Wilkoński had met with the Austrian federation in Amsterdam to talk about a Hockey 5s initiative.

He added: “When, several hours after our meeting, I received a message and a photo from Vienna, the first thing I did was to talk to the members of our board and after accepting my proposal to transfer funds from the award we received from FIH, I called and passed this information to Walter.”

HC Wien, which plays at the Hockeystadion national centre in Vienna, was founded in 1922 and is one of the oldest field hockey clubs in the country. The 18-time national champions are based in the middle of Wiener Prater, a large public park in Vienna. It shares the artificial pitch with AHTC.

HC Wien (Vienna) is due to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year and the club is now harbouring dreams of breaking the dominance of SV Arminen and Post SV.

At the weekend, Austria beat Scotland to win the EuroHockey II men’s title. They will now bid to qualify for the next men’s World Cup.

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