Wayne Hopkins talks to IIHA.org

In early November of this year, the IIHA was saddened to hear that Wayne Hopkins was to step down as a member of the Executive Committee and his vital position of Director of Player Operations. This move, which Wayne did not take lightly, was decided after he warmly welcomed a new member to his young family and changes to his work duties which meant that he could not offer the time required.

But in a letter to the Association’s members, which is also available to view on the IIHA’s website, Wayne says that he remains fully committed to the IIHA and will help out in any way he can.

In a reveal-all interview with the IIHA’s Editor Martin Grant for www.iiha.org this week, Wayne tells us why he first stood for election to the Executive Committee, his dismay to the amount of work required in the job and his favourite moments.

Wayne points the finger to Mr. Barry O’Hanrahan, when asked how he got involved in ice hockey, explaining that he seen a notice in the ice dome when he was skating one day and phoned Barry about it. Low and behold, a week later Wayne was hooked by the hockey bug and with a little chuckle he said ‘I don’t know why because I spent more time on my ass than I did on my feet’.

Asked why he stood for election to the Executive Committee when the time came about, Hopkins said: ‘I had been vocal during the previous season on how the “B” league was run and thought I could do better so I volunteered to be the “B” league chairman at the AGM, by the time the EGM came along I was very involved and the League was going better than ever and it just seemed logical at the time’.

Wayne explains that his time in office was completely different to what he expected. ‘I didn’t realise the amount of work involved’ said Wayne, ‘I also didn’t expect so much time to be spent trying to ensure the IIHA would be compliant with IIHF rules. I thought the time would be used to help develop hockey here but most of the time was spent sorting through red tape which was never sorted out before’.

Asked what was the best rumour he ever heard about himself, he said ‘God, I don’t know. It wasn’t the rumours but rather the false information that can be read on the internet forums that annoyed me’.

When we posed the question to Wayne if the workings of the IIHA is as simple as everyone thinks or is there much more to it, he replied ‘Much more to it? That would be an understatement’.

Wayne reckons watching the play-offs is his best memory during his time in office, adding ‘Watching the playoffs was by far the best, in the knowledge that we had just had the best and most successful “B” league season to date’.

Hopkins says that during his time in office with his former Executive Committee colleagues that they didn’t always agree with everything but that they all had one thing in common – working for the better of Irish Hockey.

‘The guys are great. We didn’t always agree on things and over the months we had many heated discussions but as soon as we walked out the door the business was left behind and we were just a group of guys who loved hockey’ he said.

Staying true to his word in his letter regarding supporting the IIHA, Wayne said ‘If a rink ever pops up in the grater Dublin area I’d love to get involved with the IIHA pick up programme. I loved helping out with this during Charlestown on Ice. It was very rewarding to see the kids improve week on week and their excitement was infectious’.

Wayne also admits he didn’t achieve all of what he wanted to during his time, saying ‘My goal was to have three successful senior leagues this season but more importantly to start Ireland’s first junior league. Unfortunately this went down in smoke with the closure of the ice dome’.

With no current permanent ice rink in the south of Ireland at the moment, we asked Wayne where does he see Irish Ice Hockey going and what he would tell the members to comfort them during this tough times.

‘It kills me to say it but unfortunately with no permanent rink in the south of Ireland, it’s impossible to attract new, young members to play ice hockey’ Wayne said, ‘It’s hard to comfort the members at this time but what I can say is that as soon as a rink is available I can guarantee the guys on the Executive Committee will work overtime to get some hockey up and running’.

Wayne’s plans for the future are simple. ‘Have loads of fun with my kids while they are young enough to want to hang out with me, and play some hockey soon hopefully’.

On concluding the interview, Wayne said: ‘I’d like to thank loads of people but I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out, so I’m just going to say a big thank you to Vennessa (Wife) for putting up with me doing hockey stuff night in night out and to the guys on the Executive Committee, the Directors and all the volunteers that help out’.

Along with the IIHA’s Executive Committee, Directors and officer’s, I myself would like to thank Wayne for all his hard work over the past year and wish him all the best in the future with his children and wife Vannessa.

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