On Saturday, 3rd July, the 2010 Women’s Hockey Development Camp (HDC) will commence in Vierumaki, Finland. This will be the ninth HDC to be hosted by the Vierumaki Sports Institute and the third for women’s hockey. Ireland is one of 36 countries to take part in the camp and will be represented by five participants. It is the second time that Ireland has participated in the women’s camp. Cherise McCaughley and Clara O’Reilly will take part as players, Vytautas Lukosevicius will act as a coach to one of the teams, Elaine McCann will take part in the Game Officials Programme as a lineswoman while the IIHA’s Women’s Development Officer, Ashley Moore, will participate in the Women’s Leadership Seminar. All the different aspects that affect the sport will be covered throughout the week and the participants will have a memorable time gaining information, experience and new friends.
Cherise McCaughley and Clara O’Reilly will take part in the camp as players. Both Cherise and Clara will be on a team of eighteen other players (two goalkeepers, six defensemen and twelve forwards). The players on their teams will come from countries as far and as wide as New Zealand, Japan and South Africa to some of Ireland’s neighbours like Great Britain, Spain and France. Each team will then be coached by a team of three coaches who all bring experience and international flavour to the players. The players will learn how it’s done in all the countries around the world! These coaches will then be overseen by a Mentor Coach who has been there and done it all before in women’s hockey while they will be assisted at all times by a student of the International Ice Hockey Centre of Excellence (IIHCE). The players will be thoroughly looked after and they will even have a Team Manager and an Equipment Manager to look after all the things taken for granted!
As players, both Cherise and Clara will take part in daily practice sessions, both on and off the ice. Classroom sessions and team bonding exercises will also be a regular occurrence as the players learn lessons that will stand them in life. They will also play a game each day against one of the other teams with a skills challenge on their “day off” before they go on a tour of Helsinki. Both Cherise and Clara come from the Dundalk Bulls Ladies team who have competed in league action over the past three seasons. Both players have really come on leaps and bounds this past season as they took a lead role on the team which was reduced in numbers with the emergence of the Belfast Ice Vixens and Cubs. Cherise recently participated in the Agrofirma Tervete Ice Hockey Cup for the Ireland All Stars where she acquitted herself very well. In fact, the senior players on the team were very impressed with her maturity on the ice considering her young age. Clara, on the other hand, comes from a sporting background as both she and her elder sister, Catherine; excel in a variety of sports including marshal arts. Catherine actually attended the 2008 Women’s HDC so Clara knows exactly what awaits her in Vierumaki next week.
Accompanying the players will be Vytautas Lukosevicius and Elaine McCann. Vytautas, Head Coach of the Dundalk Bulls Ladies, will be one of the coaches of the teams. He’ll be responsible for organising team practices and events in conjunction with two other coaches from other countries, all the while being monitored by an experienced mentor coach and assisted by a student from the IIHCE. Vytautas will gain valuable experience and learn new techniques from not only the other coaches but the players on his team. Meanwhile, Elaine will take part in the camp as a lineswoman in the Game Official Program. Elaine, currently a player on the Belfast Ice Vixens, will spend the entire week honing and understanding the art of officiating from the world’s best. However, experience in different scenarios will be the most valuable lesson that she picks up as she will even be on the ice for some of the games during the week! Elaine is one of the most promising officials within Ireland and this season she has done games as a lineswoman in the IIHL Development Division, IIHL Recreational Division as well as the IIHL. Elaine has even acted as a referee in several friendly games for the U18 Irish National Team prior to their trip to Mexico.
The IIHA’s Women’s Development Officer, Ashley Moore, will follow everyone else out to Vierumaki later in the week when she participates in the Women’s Leadership Seminar. The Leadership Seminar will run for five days and cover a variety of topics with some of the highlight discussion areas including “History and Current Status of the Female Game”, “Defining the General Challenges”, “Recruitment Tools and Principles” and “National Team Programs and Team Leadership.” Ashley will learn valuable lessons and examples of how to grow and develop the women’s game here in Ireland. She will then return with all of this information as the IIHA focuses on the development of the women’s game over the next season.
The 2010 Women’s Hockey Development Camp will run until Sunday, 11th July 2010 and will be attended by over 270 participants from 36 countries from five continents. This will be the first time that Ireland has sent more than three participants and the first time that Ireland will participate in the Team Coach and Game Official Programs. It will be an excellent week full of new information, experience and friends. All of the goings on at the camp can be followed on www.iiha.org as the players keep us up to date with regular blogs. While the camp’s official webpage (http://www.iihf.com/iihf-home/sport/camps.html) will contain all the most up to date information.