From the 2011/2012 season on, the intention is to actively promote the development of a National youth program.
Newly appointed head coach Yves Barthels has set clear goals for the program and also for the team:
- increase the participation of players from all Luxembourg teams
- improve the cooperation between clubs (Hiversport Huskies, Beaufort, Remich)
- develop a hockey culture and the understanding of the game of all the players
- improve the basic technical and tactical skills of all the players
- prepare the team for competition at an international level
- ease the integration of younger players into the senior teams
The program is open to players with Luxembourg citizenship mainly, but also to foreign players that have the option to become Luxembourg citizens in the near future. Since this is a program that targets the development of the National Team, foreign players are only allowed to join if there is a clear intention to opt for Luxembourg citizenship in the future.
This is clearly a program with long-term objectives and although some results are expected in the short-term, the clear benefits will only become apparent in the next 5 to 10 years when the stock of young players that have matured in the program over that period will compete at the senior level.
For the 2011/2012 season, the coach has planned friendly games against Belgium and Ireland as well as a training camp outside of Luxembourg, depending on the discipline and the commitment of the players.
To achieve the objectives, the FLHG is working together with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its Sports Development team to design and constantly improve the program.
Amongst others, Yves:
- has designed a clear practice plan for the season
- works with goalie coach Philippe Lepage to focus on goalie skills development
- relies on video analysis to strengthen the theoretical knowledge of the game amongst the players