Irish Hockey Announce Re Introduction of Irish U21 Teams (Men & Women)
On Wednesday evening Irish Hockey held the first of four IHA Branch Open Forums and Launched HookedForLife, the IHA’s long term player development model, in Railway Union where over 60 of the Leinster community were in attendance. During the evening High Performance Director, Dave Passmore, announced Irish Hockey’s decision to re-introduce the Irish U21 National team, commenting “We are delighted with the reintroduction of these teams as it fills a gap that has clearly been missing within our player development pathway, and indeed our elite coach development over the past few years. The programs and budgets will require careful management but with the desire on the ground to bring back these teams I have no doubt we can achieve and overcome these aspects”
Ireland last had an U21’s team in 2004 when both teams were relegated in Europe to the second tier. However, the decision to reintroduce the teams has come about as a result of a detailed review of the player pathway model which was completed as part of the Long Term Player Development model HookedforLife led by Passmore. IHA branches had an opportunity to feed into this review with the support of an online survey. Players and parents were also consulted highlighting the support for the reintroduction of these squads.
The process for selection for the U21 National Squad will take place through the interpros held at Easter and a short preparation period will include the boys team competing in the Senior’s Men’s interpros. Both teams will also compete in the U21 Celtic Cup before their European Junior Nations events in Lisbon (Women) and Bratislava (men) 18-22 July. Passmore was quick to add that the programs in 2012 would be focused around a short but intense period of preparation in June and early July.