The fifth series of the I Love Mum, Dad and Hockey! family festivals hit the high-water mark: 38 events took place in towns and villages across five federal districts.
One-day festivals have been held since 2016 under the Good Ice programme of the Timchenko Foundation with support from the Russian Ice Hockey Federation with a view to promoting children’s and junior hockey and an active lifestyle.
Gym managers and volunteer coaches say that such events drum up business for the gym. What is more, community sports as such spread: guests from neighbouring population centres return home with an enthusiasm – they begin building or refurbishing their hockey rinks, promote winter sports and start receiving guests on their own turf a short one or two years later!
The I Love Mum, Dad and Hockey! festivals take place mostly in towns and villages where leisure infrastructure is underdeveloped, and often become the highlight of the winter. The rink pulls in adults and children – the families involved in the competitions, spectators and supporters, and the volunteers who help the teams.
I Love Mum, Dad and Hockey! does not put a premium on winning because many entrants take a hockey stick in their hands for the first time, but gifts from the organizers and fun times are had by all!
The event programme is not limited to family competitions – the kids take part in quizzes and relay races: they play darts, shoot at a shooting gallery and play tug of war.
This year the organizing committee of the Good Ice programme singled out the Vorkuta festival for its rich content. The festival went as far as to include musical performances. And that was despite a cold snap of 37 degrees below freezing! “It was a total success! A genuine fest! 28 teams. People even went as far as to ask whether it was indeed Vorkuta. A very big event and great fun!” said the social media posts of event participants.
The Good Ice programme has been on the scene since 2013; it is designed to support junior hockey with a focus on towns and villages. The Timchenko Foundation uses the programme to hold hockey competitions and festivals, fuel the growth of hockey infrastructure by holding he Good Ice competition and implement training programmes for volunteer coaches. According to a survey conducted in 2020, the programme’s social deliverable is a community of like-minded people because the promotion of amateur hockey in a population centre is not a job for a single enthusiast but an example of social partnership in a local community.