EHF: Hungarian Student Olympics puts hockey centre stage

235 registered young players; 63 teams; 7 age groups; 112 matches and 432 goals!

The 2023 Student Olympics was successfully organised by the Hungarian Hockey Federation and the Hungarian School Sport Federation for the first time since the Covid pandemic.

The event was made possible through the work of the Szent László High School of Budapest, Kőbánya the support of an EHF Solidarity Grant, as well as many volunteers including Hungary’s men’s and women’s national team players who prepared the students.

Zsolt Ferenczi from the Hungarian Hockey Federation says this event is a vital piece in their promotion of the sport in the country.

“The greater participation of schools in Budapest is crucial, as our sport is almost exclusively concentrated in the capital – but it is encouraging and forward-looking that the Fejér and Heves County teams have been competing in the Student Olympics for years.

“This could be a sign of the way forward for hockey in the region. A total of 432 goals were scored in the 112 matches – an average of 3.9 goals per match, with forwards finding the net every two and a half minutes!”

Ferenczi also pointed to the positive development of youth players taking on the umpiring – mainly from Soroksári HC and Szent László DSE with the Student Olympics are an excellent way to introduce them to officiating.

He was also heartened by 66 new players joining hockey groups at Szent László High School as part of their daily PE programme this year, many of whom also volunteered in the smooth-running of the Student Olympics, looking after the judging, timekeeping, hall set-up and prize-giving.

“What is really positive is that participating in a Student Olympic competition can be a challenge and so the excellent atmosphere we had at the event can strengthen these players’ interest in the sport.

“They gained such positive experiences that they will try to compete again next year, involve their younger schoolmates and some of them have even initiated membership in a club.

“The latter is not yet typical but it is certainly a welcome initiative.

“Another positive aspect is that the competition serves to make the sport of hockey more popular. More than 200 children had a positive experience and I hope that this will be reinforced in future Student Olympics.

Participants at the Student Olympics in Hungary

“The biggest significance was that we were able to organise it again after Covid. We can all agree the pandemic made it virtually impossible for us to expand even the minimal school expansion that had begun to develop before Covid.

“There was a base of people left at the school team where they had already formed a club (Kaptár SE, BKGDSE-Fasor HC, SZLG DSE).

“It was a great pleasure to see there was energy left in them and some new, enthusiastic teachers (or groups of students) had joined in.

“Experience has shown, however, that some schools stop competing during those years, and mostly do not do any development work. So now is a good opportunity to strengthen the new, enthusiastic colleagues to keep their enthusiasm.

“The most appealing aspect of the competitions was the enthusiastic play, the cheering, and the atmosphere of the matches. Understandably the standard of play was very variable but the most important role of the student Olympics at the moment is to promote the game of hockey to strengthen school teams.

“I hope that the school positions of the participating teams, coaches or physical education colleagues were strengthened by the successful play.

“The positive feedback from the application and the work invested may also make schools more interested and draw the attention of school management, and possibly the school district heads, to the potential of field hockey.”

** To find out more about the EuroHockey Institute Solidarity Grants, click here

by European Hockey Federation

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