History of International Masters Hockey Masters
The idea of formalising and organising competitive Masters hockey was initially promoted under the guidance of the great Australian Mr Ted Jones. His vision and organisational drive resulted in the first Masters tournament being held in Perth, Australia in 1981.
The first participating nations were Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The many tournaments which followed were held under the title of ‘Pac Rim Tournaments’ reflecting the geographical location of the pioneer Masters Hockey nations. These tournaments became ever more popular and were taken seriously by all participants. At the same time, the Australians sent Grand Masters teams [60+] to tour Europe and this led to the foundation of the WGMA. In 2001, following an invitation to participate, the England 50+ were the first non-Pacific Rim country to play in the tournaments. Such was the success of this first venture by a European team that other non-Pacific Rim countries became keen to join in.
The tournaments were held every year consecutively, through until 2007 when an agreement was made to restrict tournaments to two-year cycles. Over the 26 years of its existence, the increasing number of participating teams forced the organisation to adapt and change to meet the more global nature of Masters Hockey.
The hosting of the early tournaments was done on a rotational basis to encourage participation and provide opportunities for extending the membership of the Association. The 1995 Tournament was held in Vancouver Canada, but unfortunately it wasn’t until 2016 that Canadian teams once more participated in an IMHA event. One of the notable developments from Vancouver was the first Women’s Masters Hockey competition. The growing participation of Women’s Masters teams in IMHA competitions resulted in female Officials being elected to the IMHA Board at the Congress in Canterbury in 2012.
The 2007 tournament in Birmingham England, was the first to be held outside of the Pacific Rim. A new constitution was adopted there and formal recognition by FIH was sought. The formation of the present IMHA and the new constitution also saw the election of a new Board to oversee and administer future developments.
President Ben Rea and Treasurer David Peebles began discussions with FIH to formalise the relationship, and at the FIH 2008 Congress held in Los Angeles, formal recognition for IMHA was received.
Since that time much work has been done to establish rules, tournaments hosting guidelines, relationships with key officials, links with international hockey administrators and further development of Men and Women’s Masters Hockey.
The Masters World Cup
The first tournament held under the new administration was hosted by Hong Kong and it was the largest tournament held up to that date. However, the 2014 IMHA World Cup in Rotterdam was the largest IMHA tournament and also a part of a record-breaking initiative to hold FIH,IMHA and WGMA World Cups in one country, all at the same time.
Ben Rea stepped down as President at the 2014 Rotterdam Congress. IMHA members owe him a great deal as he worked hard and sacrificed a large amount of his time and energies to negotiate IMHA’s route to the top table of World Hockey. It wasn’t always plain sailing but there is no doubting his immense contribution to the organisation over these 7 years. Ben received a plaque from the FIH for his services to Masters Hockey. He now contributes to the development of the WGMA. Glenn Paton was elected as Treasurer at the 2012 Congress in Canterbury and elected President in Rotterdam in 2014. He set his sights on modernising the organisation, making it more open and increasing its democratic credentials. Since then, working closely with the Board of Directors, the number of IMHA member countries and teams has increased by 20%. He was re-elected at the 2016 Congress in Canberra.
David Peebles, Peri Buckley and John Stuart stepped down from the Board in Canberra. David, as a former Treasurer and Board Member, made important contributions to the organisation and the FIH. He was instrumental in bringing the 2016 World Cup to Canberra. Peri has been the inspiration behind the development of IMHA tournament rules and regulations courtesy of her vast experience in Olympic and FIH World Cup tournaments. The loss of her skills and knowledge was a worry, but Dr . Jeff Brown, her Kiwi replacement is proving to be every bit as able and the Technical Committee remains in good hands. John Stuart helped develop the 4 Nations Masters tournaments, managed several English Masters sides over the years and was the organiser of the very first IMHA World Cup in 2012 in the beautiful city of Canterbury and the Birmingham event in 2007. His contribution to Masters Hockey over the years is much appreciated.
The present IMHA Board consists of 9 elected officials from Argentina, Australia, Deutschland, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. They are always busy organising and planning for the next IMHA tournament. The first ever Masters Indoor Hockey World Cup was held in Krefeld, Germany in February 2017, followed by the European Championships in Tilburg, Netherlands in August 2017; and preparations for the 2018 World Cup in Terrassa, Spain are well advanced. The work continues with plans for the next Indoor World Cup.
Over the last two years Glenn and the Board have been working alongside officers from the FIH and WGMA to establish the World Masters Hockey as the single masters hockey entity to replace the IMHA and WGMA in 2019.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH), International Masters Hockey Association (IMHA) and World Grand Masters Association (WGMA) have agreed to establish a new single body, World Masters Hockey (WMH), to govern and manage Masters and Grand Masters hockey worldwide. This new vision for Masters hockey will build upon the successes of the IMHA and WGMA and ensure that the principles and dedication which delivered that success are key components of its future strategies and structure.
The structure of the WMH will be shaped to deliver the agreed strategic objectives for Masters hockey and to complement the FIHs strategy, the Hockey Revolution, which aims to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. The main aims of the WMH are to streamline resources, avoid duplication, increase efficiencies and rationalise communication channels to maximise the growth of Masters hockey and further improve the experiences of Masters athletes at all levels of the game.