The meeting saw proposals to develop ice hockey in the Balkans discussed ©IIHF

A multi-year plan to develop ice hockey in the Balkans has been proposed by the Ice Hockey Federation of Slovenia (IHFS).

Held in collaboration with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the Slovenians hosted a meeting with members of ice hockey associations from countries from around the region.

Each of the participants was invited to present a summary of the state of the sport in their country, while suggesting ideas for possible co-operation as they seek to improve the standard of the younger age groups.

It was determined that the key issues facing the nations were a lack of appropriate infrastructure and finances.

The IHFS presented a proposal to establish a Balkan ice hockey academy, with the aim to develop coaching and other support staff, as well as aiding the next generation of ice hockey players.

Staging more development camps was also targeted, which would put focus on players at the most earliest stages of their careers.

Additionally the IHFS, whose men’s team are the highest ranked in the region as the world number 14, also floated the idea of creating a national ice hockey development centre.

Slovenia are the highest ranked Balkan nation in the world rankings
Slovenia are the highest ranked Balkan nation in the world rankings ©Getty Images

The centre would have advanced technology to enable quality development of ice hockey players and ice hockey experts.

“Today's meeting represents a first step to approach ice hockey development within the region in a systematic and organised way,” said IHFS president Matjaz Rakovec.

“I hope the IIHF will look favourably on the proposed initiatives.”

The meeting was attended by IIHF Council member Henrik Bach Nielsen, as the governing body looks to receive feedback from Balkan nations as they seek to develop ice hockey in the region.