The Women’s Irish National Team will jet to Sofia, Bulgaria to compete in the 2011 IIHF World Women’s Championship Division V early next month (March 14th to 20th).
The selection procedure is in its final stages, as the documentation process is nearing completion and all looks well for the team. However, midway through the season there was a change to the backroom staff of the team, with the addition of a new General Manager; Mr. Gary Harvey.
Gary replaced Ashley Moore as General Manager of the Women’s Irish National Team in December following her return home to Canada. Ashley assisted Gary in what was a very smooth changeover to ensure that preparations for the team were not disrupted.
This week, in his first interview with www.iiha.org, Gary Harvey talks to the IIHA’s Editor, Martin Grant, about his time in Irish ice hockey, what he hopes to achieve as the General Manager of the Women’s Irish National Team and how the job has been so far.
At the youthful age of just 27, Gary is a professional chef who has worked in many well known restaurants nationwide. A dedicated ice hockey player, Gary is willing to give a lot to the Association where ice hockey was once a hobby to him. He was born in Dundalk but moved to London with his family at the age of 5 and stayed there until returning to Ireland when he turned 21. This is the first year the Irish Women will compete in an IIHF World Championship and Gary is very proud to be part of the history that will be made.
Asked how he got involved with Irish ice hockey, Gary said: ‘When the ice hockey league was first being formed, I was persuaded by Barry O’Hanrahan to join with the Blackrock Whalers and help him build the team. I wasn’t sure at first but “Barry being Barry”, he wouldn’t take no for an answer and here I am 4 years later still actively involved.’
Gary is no stranger to the ice, finding his passion for ice hockey during his years in London. ‘I grew up next to Lea Valley Ice Rink in East London, were I skated every week and played a bit of casual hockey with friends’ said Harvey, ‘Then after spending over 12 years away from the sport, I started again with the whalers helping to build the team, bringing players into the club, creating a training program, and being the club captain since the first year of the IIHL Development Division’.
Gary added ‘I did apply for the position of the General Manager last summer, but unfortunately I didn’t receive the post, as Ashley had more experience than me. I want to continue my involvement with the sport which I’m so passionate about and help the IIHA with their national team program.’
But Gary is ready to take on the task now more than ever before.
‘I bring with me the experience of co building the Whalers Ice Hockey Club, helping them to be a successful team and competing in the last IIHL DD with two teams entered into the league last season.’ Gary said, ‘I want to create the best possible program for the Women’s team, so they can go forward to the World Championship as well prepared as possible even with the difficulties we face at the moment with no ice rink, and no current competitive ice hockey league. I’d also like to give credit to the players for their commitment and dedication so far and of course they’ll deserve it should they come back with a medal.’
When asked how the job has been to date, Gary stated ‘It’s been tough trying to catch up with the team’s progress, while trying to balance the national team and work, but I’ve had a lot of help from the Executive Committee and team’s coaches, who have been great. I’d like to thank Vytautas Lukosevicius, William Fay and Dean Kelly for all their help so far along with everyone else.’
The IIHA wish Gary, Vytautas and all the team the best of luck in the upcoming World Championship where we hope to secure a medal. ‘Let’s go Ladies’.
Make sure to check the IIHA’s website, www.iiha.org, in the coming weeks for the team’s latest news.