Hockey Ireland is on the lookout for a new CEO following the decision by Jerome Pels to step down from the role he has held since 2017.

He is understood to be on his way to a National Governing Body in the UK.

During his tenure, Hockey Ireland enjoyed historic moments when the women’s senior team enjoyed success with World Cup silver. Olympic qualification was achieved in groundbreaking fashion with Donnybrook hosting 13,000 fans while the development of a new training base at Abbotstown, in conjunction with support from Sport Ireland, have significantly raised standards.

It has led to increased sponsorship, primarily from SoftCo, and greater levels of support for the game with the installation of a full-time coach education manager and more regional development officers as well as the return of a High-Performance Director.

The introduction of a new membership system will also provide a more secure financial model for the sport to pursue its goals and support the game at club, school and international level.

“Whilst I am excited by the challenges that lie ahead at my new role as CEO for another NGB in England, it is with a heavy heart that I am leaving Hockey Ireland,” said Pels.

“I would like to thank the staff, the board and the Hockey Ireland community for the support over the last five years. It has been a privilege to have been part of the successes of Hockey Ireland and the significant growth in the sport. I also thank Sport Ireland and Sport NI for helping make the sport make meaningful progress in Ireland.”

“I feel, having established a strong organisational structure at Hockey Ireland with a clear strategy agreed, the organisation is in a good shape and ready for a bright future.”

Paying tribute to Pels, Hockey Ireland chairman Trevor Watkins added: “During a period of significant change, opportunity and potential pitfalls, Jerome has been a calm and steady influence on Hockey Ireland and helped navigate the sport to a number of significant milestones.”

“Hockey is undergoing a really exciting time and he has been at the helm during a time when the sport made big inroads into the Irish public conscience and we look forward to building on those solid foundations with ambition and optimism.”

It is clearly one role that would be attractive given recent history and future potential.