25th November 2019
SELANGOR are setting a fiery pace in driving ice hockey to greater heights in the state, if not the country.
Spurring this move are the Selangor Ice Hockey Association (SIHA), which initiated an inaugural mini-league at the Sunway Pyramid Ice Skating Rink in Petaling Jaya on Sept 27.
The SIHA mini-league was spread over six weeks, with four participating teams — Zeus, Ares, Poseidon and Hades — culminating in the final matches played last Friday.
It was organised with a three-fold objective: to inspire more people to take up ice hockey as a sport; to develop players’ skills, and to find capable replacements for their senior counterparts leaving the sport due to their focusing on their careers or other reasons.
Helping to present certificates of participation and medals to the players was SIHA deputy president Datuk Dr Harpal Singh Randhay, who was acting on behalf of the association president Tengku Datuk Dr Hishammuddin Zaizi Tengku Bendahara Azman Al-Haj (away in China).
Dr Harpal said SIHA have received a shot in the arm with 3LYON Holdings Bhd coming on board to inject funds — amounting to RM150,000 for three years — into the association with the sole purpose of the development and promotion of ice hockey in Selangor.
3LYON Holdings Bhd, with Tan Sri Syed Mohd Yusof Tun Syed Nasir as their chairman, is a Malaysian-registered holding company that invests in real estate, consumer financing, leisure business and high growth industries. One of Syed Mohd Yusof’s flagship companies is the Hard Rock Café Kuala Lumpur.
This sponsorship was a result of Dr Harpal taking the initiative to approach 3LYON Holdings despite assuming his position of SIHA deputy president only a few months ago.
“Part of the first RM50,000 of the total sponsorship will be used to finance a league next year, which may feature the juniors and seniors competing with each other, depending on the demand and development of the ice hockey programme,” said Dr Harpal, who received a cheque from 3LYON Holdings at a presentation ceremony in Petaling Jaya last Monday.
He said SIHA are also looking at boosting the development of the game through recruitment of more players and also the setting up of an ice hockey development school in the state.
“We plan to approach skaters in the rink about joining SIHA as players and we are looking at adopting one government school under the ice hockey development programme.”
However, he lamented the lack of support and assistance from the Malaysia Ice Hockey Federation, saying that SIHA need at least RM1.5 million a year to organise two leagues and two tournaments, including two training sessions a week under an international coach, as well as providing courses.
“At the moment, everything is funded by the players’ parents, and not by SIHA,” said Dr Harpal, adding that ice hockey has been placed by the National Sports Council in the B category (non-elite sports). However, he is optimistic of securing more sponsors to help improve the structure of ice hockey and boosting the game’s development.
“We plan to organise two leagues next year, with one league featuring two or three tournaments.”