For our second Friday focus, we bring you a report from UDP. The Umpires Development Programme is now recruiting for its tenth group (more information here).
The UDP has been tremendously successful in ushering the next generation of high level umpires. Europe has 3 UDP umpires slated to umpire at the next Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. UDP umpires have umpired (in just the last year) in the Unibet EuroHockey Championships, the Hockey World League semi-finals, and the EHL. In the next year, they will not only be in Rio but also present at the Champions Trophies in Argentina and London, and the Junior World Cup.
The mentors for the current group that just graduated at the EHL Round 1 in Hamburg were Carol Metchette and Michiel Bruning, who will also be the mentors for Group 10.
Below the umpires from group 7 sent us a report of their last meeting as a group before officially graduating from the programme.
Group 7: Kerri Targett (SCO), Michiel Otten (NED), Ymkje van Slooten (NED), Pietro Galligani (ITA), Jaroslav Suchocki (LTU) and Laurine Delforge (BEL)
Friday, October 9th
Graduation time! Hamburg is calling! Our graduation weekend in Hamburg during the EHL round 1 in Germany. We were invited to join the tournament officials for a nice dinner at a local restaurant, mainly serving proper German schnitzels.
After a great dinner, we had some drinks in the hotel and reminisced about the start of our programme, in April 2013 in Vienna. Since then we have visited Rotterdam (NED), Boom (BEL), The Hague (NED), Barcelona (ESP), Eindhoven (NED), Dublin (IRL), Bloemendaal (NED), Brasschaat (BEL), London (ENG) and finally Hamburg (GER)! An amazing time with friends enjoying the sport we love most: hockey!
Saturday, October 10th
It’s good to be all together again. We feel, and dare to say, that we have become more than peers or colleagues over the past three years. We are now a close-knit group of friends in the global hockey family, who regret that time has gone by so quickly. We are now down to our last weekend together, and we intend to enjoy every minute of it.
This has become a normal thing for us, that members of our group are being involved in the tournament we are coming to watch. This just proves how beneficial the UDP program has been for all of us. This time is even more special, because next to Pietro who is umpiring, we have Michiel Bruning, our mentor, working as a judge (it’s good to see that the UDP program can benefit the mentors too!).
The sun was out in Hamburg, which made our full day of watching hockey even more enjoyable. We were lucky enough to see Pietro walk on the field, pushing his limits of concentration in a game that broke all the records. Amsterdam not only broke the EHL goalscoring record as they beat the Polish team 19-2; this game is also to be inserted in the hockey annals as the longest ever (two hours!).
To wake us up, our mentors had prepared a PowerPoint presentation redrawing our journey of fun and success with some pictures. It was great to see the increase in the number and especially the quality of our appointments over time, with – icing on the cake – Pietro and Michiel Otten appointed to the Junior World Cup next year, and Laurine going to Rio next summer. EHF President Marijke Fleuren, EHF Vice President Jorge Alcover and EHF Director General Angus Kirkland, were present too. We were happy to give them the insides of the Umpiring Development Program and testify what a great experience it is… and how much Group 7 rocks!
Final words – Thank you!
The UDP meant a lot to us all, being in the group was a great asset during the last 3 years, but it will also be great asset in the future. Being a UDP Umpire opened doors, and enabled us to meet and benefit from the best umpires, mentors, and UMs from all over the world.
As a group, we visited all big tournaments held in Europe over the last 3 years, like EuroHockey Championships (twice), World League Semifinals (twice), EHL (twice), the World Cup in the Hague, met people and other UDP groups during the seminars. We have been to tournaments as spectators, but it felt like being part of the tournament umpires panel.
We are all very proud to be part of the UDP family, meeting our brothers and sisters all over the world. Many thanks to The European Hockey Federation for all the support and commitment you have put into the UDP Program.
Source and photographs: EHF