USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of November 22, 2010
Did you miss last week’s report?
There was none as I was in Switzerland for the FIH Forum/Congress.
We have much to report from those set of meetings, so this report will be devoted to the FIH Forum/Congress
. First the FIH Forum
. The FIH arranged for a number of lofty speakers from within the international Olympic movement. Included were the second in command at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) plus a number of IOC members and leaders from other sport international federations. It was very impressive, and it was obvious that the IOC was generally very happy with the progress and presence of the FIH. Kelly Fairweather is the new CEO of the FIH and I believe the overall feeling was that FIH has struck gold with Kelly. He has quite a resume including a stint as IOC’s Director of Sport, and a high level position within World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He is a former quality hockey player and coach from South Africa.
ESPN’s Mike Millay spoke during the Forum and created a great buzz for USAFH and hockey generally as he outlined possibilities at Disney. Mike made no promises and was quite clear of the Disney underlining motives of a positive bottom line (and, there is nothing wrong with that as sports at the Disney complex have experienced long-term sustainability). He was well received as a realist within the sport marketplace.
FIH is embarking on an aggressive set of moves to elevate the sport and improve its financial place. There has been some turnover in staff at the FIH offices resulting in fresh ideas and expertise. FIH has created a strategic plan and is adhering to it.
The Congress is essentially an affirmation group as many areas already had had consideration by the FIH executive committee. The two biggest areas of interest were a presentation on progress by the London Olympic Games organizing committee and the elections for the three vacant slots for the FIH executive committee. The London presentation was positive as preparations are on time and they anticipate 640,000 tickets will be sold to hockey events. That ticket sale quantity represents the third highest number of tickets to be sold for any sport in the London Olympic Games. The venue is impressive and next to the media center (and within 500 meters of the athletes’ village). The game venues are consolidated mostly in three pods, with hockey’s venue in one of the busiest (as evidenced by the ticket sale number).
The elections were an interesting exercise. Prior to actual elections, Pam Stuper, our candidate for the FIH executive committee, was very active meeting delegates from the 65 participating nations. Current FIH executive committee member and USA representative to the FIH, Aaron Sher, was helpful as he ushered Pam to all the delegations as he knew practically everyone. Laura Darling worked with Pam on her nominee speech to the Congress (the speech was drop-dead effective, and Pam delivered it brilliantly). We led up to the elections with several e-blasts to delegates before their arrival in Switzerland, and business cards with Pam’s information were passed out to delegates prior to Congress. Pam won going away 53-12, and she immediately began her new four-year term.
The elections for the other two vacant seats were not as clear cut. There were several rounds of voting. A surprise winner was the president of the Pakistan governing body, and the other selection was a former Belgium athlete.
Aaron Sher honored for decades of service. At the Friday night celebration (before the Saturday FIH Congress), the USA’s Aaron Sher was honored for his decades-long service to global hockey. He received the second highest honor from the FIH. Quoting from the USAFH news-release from last week:
November 17, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O.- Aaron Sher (Park City, Utah) was presented the Order of Merit Award Friday evening at the Official International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress Dinner at the Fairmont Montreux Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland. Sher served on the FIH Executive Board for six years. He has shared his passion for the sport and devoted his time, entrepreneurial and leadership skills with USA Field Hockey and the Olympic Movement since the early 1980’s.
The Order of Merit Award is awarded to no more than four candidates every two years and may be presented to members of the FIH or outside individuals for distinguished service and/or exceptional achievement or contribution over a minimum period of ten years.
Sher has positively impacted USA Field Hockey and its movement toward an Olympic medal by serving as the Director of Events on the Board of Directors. >From 1993-1998, Sher was an integral part of expanding the National Field Hockey Festival and turning it into the largest field hockey event in the world. This event allows amateur athletes to participate in a nationwide field hockey competition, and in turn helps raise the level of hockey throughout the USA.
Good for you, Aaron, and thank you for all you have and continue to do for hockey both internationally and in the USA.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: ‘The day before Thanksgiving is National Opt-Out Day, where people are being asked to boycott the TSA’s full-body scanners. Sponsors of the event say people shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable while traveling. That’s what Thanksgiving with your family is for.’
Have a great week!
USA Field Hockey