Get out the chains and padlocks the NHL is on lockout. Just 7 seasons of play since the last season long lockout the NHL will down tools. But what of the players in the merrygoround that is the negotiations. This … Continue reading
Ice hockey and politics in Quebec are two things that all most go hand in hand. Last season there were demonstrations outside the Bell Centre over the appointment of American Randy Cunneyworthy and you can go back to furry Maurice … Continue reading
23 Days in July is already the title of a book. That book recalls the story of Lance Armstrong’s record breaking 6th Tour de France victory. However following Bradley Wiggins’ first victory in the world’s most famous bike race it … Continue reading
UK Sport has been conducting a survey over the last 8 months of which sport people want to see the UK achieving success in over the summer. Surprisingly top the list was athletics. For the first time since 2002 the … Continue reading
Team GB will be back in action in November as they begin their road to Sochi for the Winter Olympics. GB will face Japan, Romania and Korea on the 8th – 11th November at a venue to be announced. It … Continue reading
A newspaper report earlier this week noted that the funding of Sport England could be under threat as the main beneficiaries of its funding are making millions in profit. Sport England is a government quango charged with distributing money from taxpayers and the lottery to sporting causes.
In the past this has benefited all sports including ice hockey and was a major part of the funding for Ice Sheffield, the dual ice pad arena in Sheffield. However the biggest winners in the past year were the Football Association and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) yet the RFU made £14.5m ($28m) in the last year and was in recent of around £9m ($15m) a year.
This has left many to wonder is it right at a time of tight fiscal planning for public money to be spent on essentially losing national teams whose players earn hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds a year. Meanwhile a promising national team such as the Great Britain ice hockey team is left on a shoe string budget.
Therefore if Sport England is to keep its level of funding surely it would be best to diversify to those sports where players are earning far less and profits are low if any. Ice hockey in the UK of course has some issues and hurdles to overcome. For a start it is a Great Britain national team but this should not be allowed to stop it from applying for this funding instead Ice Hockey Uk (the overseeing body) should be allowed to apply for funding from all the sports quango’s including Sport England and Sport Scotland as they represent all of those internationally.
The second issue is that of lottery funding. Ice hockey in the UK is prohibited from some lottery funding because the national team is not represent at the Olympics. This is inherently unfair on ice hockey as only 12 teams are represented at the games. Compare this to other sports where many more countries are represented. In swimming or athletics for example any individual making the qualifying time is eligible to be selected and therefore eligible for funding regardless of how poor their performance at the games maybe. Even handball, a sport at which Great Britain is ranked one of the lowest in the world, received £1.4m in funding for its senior teams. If this was to change the Great Britain ice hockey team could access more funding for training camps for example and would make a difference at world championships and Olympic qualification.
By changing the rules and giving more funding to sports like ice hockey instead of rugby union and football the Great Britain ice hockey team would benefit massively and take the next step towards Olympic qualification and Sport England and Sport UK would keep its funding level. A win win as all parties would benefit and ultimately the youth side of sports would be able to develop further. Not only this but if that change were to happen soon an almost immediate return on that investment could be witnessed given the vast improvement in recent world championships of the Great Britain team.
During my recent break with my local scout troop we were unfortunate enough to meet an olympic gold medalist. I say unfortunate because this was some one I thought would be an inspirational figure and someone the 4 teenagers I was with would look up to. However instead of passing us by during the coast to coast adventure race James Cracknell unleashed a 4 letter tyraid and proceeded down the mountain avoiding the path and further setting a poor example to the impressionable youths in my care.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to meet a few sports stars from sports such as ice hockey, rugby, golf, speedway, football, cycling and can say that those players have given a good account of themselves and their sport.
I firmly believe that a player of any sport has a responsiblity to promote themselves, club, sponsor and sport no matter what they are doing. And if you are fortunate enough to be an olympian let alone a gold medalist you have a great responsibility as you are more well known. I can say that the other 3 or 4 adventure racers we encountered did do this. Some even managing a quick thank you as our group moved out of the way to let them past on the fell running stage.