Hockey crosses the line

The story of the Irish Men’s Hockey team’s on-off-on again trip to play in the Champions’ Challenge has ended happily.  The target of €45,000 in fundraising required to finance participation in the event was exceeded before last night’s deadline through a mix of private fundraising sparked by the team itself through an online push as well as corporate donations.

Uniphar, DCC and Rondo Foods all made contributions to the fund which has been ring fenced for the purpose of supporting the team.  Funds were also paid from clubs around the country, a number of international players from outside Ireland and friends and family members of the team.

“What has taken place over the last week is simply remarkable,” said international captain Ronan Gormley. “On behalf of the Irish Men’s Team I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all those who have contributed.”

Confirmation was made to the international authorities last night and the team will now play in the tournament from November 24th to December 1st.

The way in which the initial decision was reached and concerns over the longer term funding of the sport will be major challenges for incoming new Chief Executive Mike Heskin.

There is clearly a measure of dissatisfaction among players that they were not consulted and also about the fact that there is no structured sponsorship of the men’s team in the way that Electric Ireland supports the women’s side of the sport.

Attracting sponsorship is always a mix of the right proposal at the right time to the right person.  In November Sport for Business will host a unique event where 20 of our member sporting bodies and organisations will have an opportunity to pitch one clear idea for 2013 to an audience of 20 business leaders drawn from our corporate membership.  We will formally announce the date and venue for Sport for Business 20/20 next week.

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