Only twelve weeks separate us from the EuroHockey Championships in our country. The top European hockey nations will compete for the title in the Belfius EuroHockey Championships on the Wilrijkse Plein in Antwerp from 16th to 25th August. In 10 days’ time, the Belgian national teams will play their next FIH Pro League home matches in that same location, which will be the start of a summer of hockey in Antwerp.
FOR YOUNG HOCKEY PLAYERS AND PROFESSIONALS
The Pro League matches on the Wilrijkse Plein are also the start of loads of hockey events in and around Antwerp in the lead up to the Belfius EuroHockey Championships. It is the intention to fully infect the host city with hockey fever and to prepare all Antwerpians and Belgian hockey fans for the important appointment in August.
At the Press Conference Thomas Briels, Belgian captain said of the Championships: “We will play against the top European nations”, highlights Thomas Briels who is really looking forward to play the Championships. “It won’t be easy, but sport is unpredictable. We are calm and we have already proven that we can cope with pressure.” Vincent Vanasch is also excited about the event. “I am very happy to be able to play the Belfius EuroHockey Championships and to see all the supporters in the stands. Two years ago, we lost against the Netherlands in a stadium full of ‘oranje’ supporters. This year, I want to become European Champion in a stadium full of red fans!”, concludes the goalkeeper of the Red Lions.
This weekend is the start of Belgian Street hockey for U14 and U16 boys and girls. The best teams from all the qualifying rounds will play the final in Antwerp in July. Club Tropicana, the biggest recreational hockey tournament of the country, will set up shop in Mechelen on 28th and 29th June. Furthermore, every participant will get a ticket for the Belfius EuroHockey Championships.
During the EuroHockey Championships, Tom Boon hockey camps will take over hockey club Beerschot. Every participant will also be able to visit the EuroHockey Championship and there will be clinics for the little ones on the EuroHockey site on the Wilrijkse Plein every day. The busy EuroHockey schedule further includes the EHF Youth Leadership Festival, the EHF Top Coaches Programme and the Medical Congress ‘Sport Injuries in Hockey and field sports: From head to toe’.
EURO PARAHOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Cronos 2019 Euro ParaHockey Championships are much more than just a side event. The G-hockey players tournament is organised by the Royal Victory Hockey Club. Participating are two teams from Belgium and the Netherlands and one team each from England, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Wales. The matches will be played on Victory’s hockey pitches in Edegem on 19th and 20th August. The finals will be played on the site of the main tournament on 21st August!
RED IS THE NEW GOLD
Tickets for the Belfius EuroHockey Championships starting on Friday 16th August with the opening ceremony and the first match of the Red Lions against Spain, are selling fast. The day of the men’s final (Saturday 24th August) is completely sold out, and there are only a few tickets left for the first Sunday of the tournament (including the Red Lions’ match against England). Tickets for all other days are for sale.
Hockey Belgium and the organisers do not just want to sell seats; they also want the whole country to get behind our Red Lions and Panthers. ‘Red is the new Gold’ is a new campaign they are launching to get Belgian supporters excited about the EuroHockey Championships. Belfius will offer the biggest supporters the chance to join the Red Tribe, the beating heart of the legion of Belgian supporters. StuBru will select new Tribe members through a fan competition in the first week of June.
Marc Raisière, CEO Belfius: “Helping the Red Tribe, a fan club that stands behind our national teams as one big family, to grow completely dovetails with Belfius’ aim as a proud partner of Hockey Belgium: bringing hockey closer to the people and lifting the hockey experience to an even higher level. The fact that the Belfius EuroHockey Championship is held in Antwerp, offers us the opportunity to – together with the Red Tribe – closely support our young Belgian talent and to make this EuroHockey Championship a great success.”
EHF CELEBRATES IT’S 50TH YEAR
The EHF celebrates its 50th year this year with the theme for the EHF General Assembly on 25th August in Antwerp ‘My Hockey’.
With this theme, the EHF is building on its desire and goals for sharing knowledge, culture and best practices, and most importantly what hockey means to everyone involved, at any level of European hockey.
Along with the order of business, a number of Federations have been invited to share their programmes, development, growth and challenges with all of Europe.
“We are very happy with the upcoming programme of events – developed by the EHF, Belgian Hockey and Sportizon – creating a “Summer of Hockey in Antwerp”, leading to the Belfius EuroHockey Championships”, says Angus Kirkland, Director General of the EHF.
“The FIH Pro League matches being hosted in Belgium will feed into the excitement of the Belfius EuroHockey Championships. We expect to see full stands with fans from all over Europe and beyond. It is a testament to the quality of the teams and importance of this event, a direct Qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics, that the Men’s Finals day is sold out months in advance, so we urge fans to make sure that they purchase their tickets well in advance!”
“The side events have a wonderful balance of elite and grassroots activities and we are, of course, particularly proud to be the leading Continental Federation in the growth and development of ParaHockey. We believe that our Club of the Year, Victory HC, will deliver a fantastic ParaHockey event, which for the first time has a named sponsor in Cronos.”
“We are looking forward to delivering, with the many stakeholders, a memorable event for fans, partners and athletes alike and to see who will take EuroHockey Gold and with it the much coveted ‘golden ticket’ to Tokyo 2020.”
Lastly, the tournament and partner Brussels Airport are offering the very youngest hockey fans a once in a lifetime experience. Children born between 2009 and 2012 will get the chance to walk onto the pitch alongside one of our Red Panthers or Red Lions at the start of the match. You can find all the information about the ‘kids line-up’ and the competition on https://kidslineupek.brusselsairport.be/