The Pilsen Wolves in Czech Republic are the first winners of the Kånken Youth Retention Award for fostering sustainable youth hockey development for boys and girls in their region.
The Kånken Youth Retention Award was introduced in 2019 “To be awarded annually to an ice hockey youth program which emphasizes sustainability through social responsibility and high retention rates among its participants.”
The Pilsen Wolves will also receive a cheque for €10 000 as the winning application. The award gathered eleven applications and these four clubs were selected for the Final-Four:
- Association Brûleurs de Loups Amateur, FRA
- Junior Pelicans, FIN
- Pilsen Wolves, CZE
- SC Bietigheim-Bissingen Steelers, GER
The jury, which consists of Christian Wittig (Fjällräven) Szymon Szemberg (E.H.C. Managing Director) and Gustaf Walli Walterholm (E.H.C. Award Project Lead), evaluated the applications. After that, the eleven applicants were narrowed down to these four finalists. Lastly, the jury chose the Pilsen Wolves from the Czech Republic as the youth organization which, in its program, covers the criteria for the Kånken Youth Retention Award, with a focus on fostering sustainable youth hockey development for boys and girls.
The jury’s statement:
“The Pilsen Wolves have presented an outstanding youth hockey program, where the team and comradery come before the individual, but where the boys and girls are encouraged in their individual development. Together they help each other to grow. In order to develop the community, they create an exemplary good environment that fosters and welcomes children to the Wolfpack.”
The initiative to introduce this award came from Mr. Martin Nordin, Chairman of the Board of Fenix Outdoor:
“Coming from Örnsköldsvik in northern Sweden, ice hockey has always played a big part in the lives of our family,” says Martin Nordin, the majority owner of Fenix Outdoor and Fjällräven and whose father Åke Nordin manufactured the iconic Kånken rucksack. “But lately, our interest has moved towards youth and development hockey and especially towards the issue of retaining young boys and girls in the game. That is why Fenix Outdoor and Fjällräven together with the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs have introduced this award.
“So it is a special moment for me to be able to congratulate the Pilsen Wolves as the winning club of the first Kånken Youth Retention Award,” Nordin continues. “You have documented the values that are important to us as a family and as a company, comradery combined with good education for boys and girls and providing a positive environment for the players, coaches and parents. We hope that this award will come as an encouragement to your club and also to the Czech ice hockey community.”
It was planned the award would be handed to the Pilsen Wolves at the E.H.C. Annual European Hockey Awards Gala in Prague in June, but the event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The prize will be handed to the Pilsen Wolves at the earliest given opportunity.
ABOUT KÅNKEN: The Kånken rucksack is Fjällräven’s most popular product. It was originally developed by Åke Nordin in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden as a reaction to the increasing number of reports that Swedish school children were developing back problems from their traditional school bags. The lightweight and rectangular yet spacious backpack, which was released in 1978, was Fjällräven's attempt to solve this problem. The popularity of the Kånken rucksack has reached global proportions and it is today, arguably, the world’s most used rucksack.