HK Beograd is more than a club

HK Beograd is more than a club

Davide Tuniz29 Aug 2016Davide Tuniz»

A new club created aiming to make popular and attractive icehockey in the country have done the miracle to go beyond one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport: Eurohockey met Serbian Hockey Federation President Marko Milovanović


The 2016-17 MOL Liga is at the starting line with some news: one more Romanian team, bi-champion Dunarea Galati, and the newly created HK Beaograd from Serbia. Eurohockey meets the inspirator of this new project, the President of Serbian Hockey Federation, former player Marko Milovanovic

Eurohockey: The project of HK Beograd is something totally new for Serbian hockey but also for hockey in general, could you summarize what exactly is and how the idea born?

Marko Milovanović: First of all, on behalf of Serbian Ice Hockey Association I would like to thank you for your interest in doing this interview.
As you described HK Beograd is something completely new for the Serbian ice hockey.
Idea was born by analyzing the current state of Serbian hockey as realistically as possible with my ex teammate Marko Kovačević, now my Executive Advisor, and other SIHA board members. There are couple objectives and one goal. We will work hard to promote hockey in our country as family and friendly entertainment with a goal to secure quality competition for our national team players. MOL Liga, a very competitive and well organized league, was the perfect fit for all of our needs.

Eurohockey: Knowing the fierce rivalry between Partizan Beograd and Crvena Zvezda, a team formed by players from both teams is something like a miracle, it was difficult to convince both clubs to joining forces? and how fans reacted?

Marko Milovanović: There is no doubt that this rivalry will forever be present and it is a very sensitive topic in our society. Clearly, there are good and bad sides of it.
I would like to strongly emphasis that we we don't want to "shut down" these two clubs and make our domestic league weaker. Both organizations are very conscious on how many available players Serbia has to compete on professional level, and we believe that the best path for our national team is to stick together in one club and compete in a very good league.
Fans reaction was expected, but we feel that they understand or that they will understand why we do all this, and when the season starts we hope that HK Beograd will get their support.

Eurohockey: Why it was decided to create a new club and not to support an existing one in joining MOL Liga?

Marko Milovanović By analyzing the current organizational and financial statement of SIHA we recognized capacity to support only one team in MOL liga. As you can probably guess, it's very hard to attract sponsors for hockey in Serbia.
Also, as I described before we have only 23 domestic players who can compete at professional level so there was no room to support more than one team, and Serbian Federation won't favor only one of existing teams.

Eurohockey: Why MOL liga? there were other options?

Marko Milovanović: There were many options for us to consider, and we did. But looking at Hungarian ice hockey, successes they achieved last ten years, MOL Liga quality and geographic positioning that was definitely the best option and best fit for our organization.

Eurohockey: The federation is not worried about a possible "Medvescak Zagreb" effect? A big, powerful club monopolizing the local hockey scene and the rest of moviment little more than amateur?

Marko Milovanović: I  understand what you mean, but I believe that this was the way to advance Croatian hockey and Medveščak Zagreb gets my full support. Other ice hockey organizations need to have a "template" which will try to copy it. Also we understand that there are many aspects we need to improve and after we popularize ice hockey we plan to focus on infrastructure. I'm positive that HK Beograd and this project it's good way to attract kids and start a long journey to build strong domestic base, which is our association's BHAG.

Eurohockey: Under your Presidency national team made good progress - ex: the Olympics qualification - but probably there is still much work to do: how the priorities and the goals of Serbian Federation for next future?

Marko Milovanović:Thank you for noticing and mentioning our success, but I don't feel this to be my accomplishment. Players and their passion deserve all the credit for this success.
Our priority is to build strong domestic competition for all age categories and support teams around the country in various different ways, all in purpose of advancing Serbian hockey. We also need to monitor and  follow international trends and to adjust on any changes.

Eurohockey: You and Petras Nauseda in Lithuania are probably the only example of President and active player: how it's difficult to match the two areas?

Marko Milovanović: Unfortunately, previous season was my last professional seasons. Beside Serbian Federation, I manage private business with my two partners for three years now, and it's simply not possible to give my best on and off the ice.

Eurohockey: How do you imagine the next future of hockey in Serbia?

Marko Milovanović: The fastest expanding fun :)

Thanks to Marko Sredojević, Serbian Federation PR

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