Throughout the years 2022 and 2023, the Salvadoran Hockey Federation carried out a series of carefully planned actions with the purpose of promoting, popularizing, and developing this sport in the country. These actions included organizing interactive meetings between national team athletes and students from various institutions, such as the Institute of Sport (INDES), the Municipal Institute of Sports and Recreation of San Salvador (IMDER), the Ministry of Education of El Salvador, the Salvadoran Olympic Committee (COES), and the Salvadoran Paralympic Committee, presenting the sport in schools, inviting physical education teachers to learn about hockey, and offering introductory courses on the rules and fundamentals of the game.
One of the highlights of these activities was the "Hockey Everywhere" initiative, which involved taking actions on the "Constitution" Cycle Path. This not only allowed introducing newcomers to the sport but also increased its visibility, inviting the public to join this exciting discipline. In addition, activities were carried out at the Katya Miranda Field, the Toluca Field, and various schools, culminating in the successful launch of the Competition in Toluca, which attracted high participation.
In 2022, Ignacio Lopez played a crucial role in conducting a theoretical-practical course at the Pedagogical University, training a group of individuals who would be prepared to work with children and youth in promoting hockey. After conducting courses, awareness campaigns, and massive participation from students and physical education teachers, hockey was successfully included in the curriculum of six schools in 2023:
1. Francisco Linares School (Apopa).
2. Ita-Maura Hamlet (Tacachico).
3. Barrio Belén School (San Salvador).
4. San Antonio Abad (San Salvador).
5. María Teresa Guzmán (Aguilares).
6. Francisco Morazán (San Salvador).
As a result of these achievements, another six schools began to collaborate with FESA Hockey to access coaches, materials, and training.
In the context of the School League, in response to continuous requests from teachers and the enthusiastic participation of children from various educational institutions, a WhatsApp group was formed, including the president of the Salvadoran Hockey Federation, Mr. Gerson Suárez, and the mentioned schools. It was agreed to organize matches at the Katya Miranda Field under the format of "School Encounters." These encounters, where national team athletes had a collaborative role, took place every two months throughout the year, since then.
Regarding the National Tournament, El Salvador is currently working on the development of a competition involving representatives from different municipalities who will represent their townships in the youth and senior categories. This tournament is scheduled to take place in November, preceding the PAHF Development Tournament.
“Start Hockey”: the numbers
The Salvadoran Hockey Federation continues to strengthen the Student League with the support of FIH program funds and PAHF collaboration. Currently, work is being done with more than 250 children and youth distributed by age as follows:
- Ages 7 to 12 years (in 4 schools).
- Ages 13 to 16 years (in 6 schools).
- Ages 16 to 18 years (in 5 schools).
Four training and match encounters have been completed so far, with three more scheduled for November. Due to distances and the specific activities of each school, adding more encounters has become challenging. However, the goal for the November encounters is to incorporate children aged 5 and 6 into the project and add at least four more schools.
In addition to these activities, two annual training sessions are conducted for facilitators, one at the INDES offices and another at the Pedagogical University, involving 30 students trained in Physical Education and 15 teachers from schools. Furthermore, three sports promotion activities are organized each year by IMDER in collaboration with the federation to promote sports dissemination in San Salvador.
Players on the national men and women’s teams play a crucial role as "Sports Managers" in various events. It is expected that each facilitator will generate a multiplier effect in their region or city, thereby contributing to the expansion of hockey throughout the national territory.
Within the framework of these initiatives, it is important to highlight that Coach Ignacio Lopez from Argentina, a PAHF/FIH certified coach, is scheduled to visit El Salvador in the month of November. This visit is planned with the purpose of achieving the objectives set for hockey FIH development program Start Hockey and the country's hockey development program. The presence and experience of Ignacio Lopez will be of great value in further enhancing the training and education of the participants, as well as in continuing to promote the growth and development of hockey in El Salvador. His contribution is a key component of the ongoing commitment of the Salvadoran Hockey Federation to this exciting sport.