Italian defenceman Andrea Macri has been named the Athlete Representative on World Para Ice Hockey’s Sport Technical Committee (STC).
The 26 year old will act as the liaison between the athletes and the STC, as well a direct link to the International Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Council. His two-year term begins on 1 July. As part of the Italian team that took silver at the 2016 European Championships in Ostersund, Sweden, Macri ran unopposed and will succeed fellow teammate Gregory Leperdi.
“It’s a great privilege to be the athlete voice for my sport, and I know it comes with plenty of responsibilities,” Macri said. “Now with this position, I hope to bring forth the perspectives, expertise and needs of our sport’s athletes onto the IPC decision-making table. And with that, we can work together to develop Para ice hockey.
“I especially would like to ensure a balanced approach in the representation of athletes’ interests, noting diverse needs of the Para ice hockey athletes, from the high-performance to developing levels.
“Additionally, I hope that with the teamwork of the athletes, administrative bodies and stakeholders, we can improve the visibility our sport and the overall Paralympic Movement.
“In April we witnessed the best this sport can offer at the World Championships in Gangneung, South Korea, with thrilling games and some of the most outstanding performances I have ever seen. We seek to continue on this same path.”
National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) who widely and regularly practice Para ice hockey were asked to nominate one candidate whom they believe has strong qualities of leadership, accomplishment, knowledge and respect both on and off the field of play.
Any athlete who competed at the 2016 World Para Ice Hockey Championships B or C-Pool and the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool were able to vote for their favourite candidate online until 16 May.
The Italian squad is coming off a fifth-place finish at the 2017 World Championships in April that also acted as the Test Event for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games. The result was enough for Italy to earn a qualify spot for PyeongChang 2018.
Macri is the fourth winter sport athlete to be voted onto an STC, following the election of Canadian Nordic skier Mark Arendz, Australian alpine skier Mitchell Gourley and Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee onto the World Nordic Skiing, Para Alpine and Snowboard committees earlier in 2017.
“I’m encouraged that Andrea Macri stepped up to take on the role as Athlete Representative for Para Ice Hockey, and I look forward to working with him to ensure the athlete voices are heard,” said Norwegian Para ice hockey player and IPC Athletes’ Council member Eskil Hagen.
“It is very important that athlete representation is provided where the decisions of the sport is made. I am sure that Andrea with his knowledge and experience from both summer and winter sports will be able to provide effective athlete representation as the World Para Ice Hockey Athlete Representative. He has the full support of the IPC Athletes’ Council, and we are looking forward working with him to further develop the sport.”