Former football boss takes up role with national organisation

Henry Staelens

The former boss of a Gloucestershire football club  has been appointed chief executive of Ice Hockey UK (IHUK), the national governing body for the sport.

The organisation has announced that Henry Staelens will become their chief executive later this month.

Staelens’ most recent role was as chief executive of Forest Green Rovers, renowned as the “world’s greenest football club”.

He oversaw record commercial growth at the club, which is owned by businessman Dale Vince as well as two play-off-campaigns and a title-winning season in 2021-2022. His intention to step down was announced in January.

As part of leading IHUK, he will be responsible for overseeing all performance aspects of the organisation, as well as growth, governance and compliance.

A large part of the role includes the ongoing progression of the GB Programme and its representative teams, as well as key relationships with the International Ice Hockey Federation, the Home Nation Associations consisting of the English Ice Hockey Association and Scottish Ice Hockey, the Elite Ice Hockey League and organisations such UK Sport, British Olympic Association, the Home Nation Sports Councils and UK Anti-Doping.

Staelens said: “I’m really pleased to accept the position as IHUK has the ingredients for a very successful future both on and off the ice.

“It’s a brilliant sport with so many passionate fans in the UK and around the world – and we’ll be looking to bring even more eyes to the ice.

“I’m looking forward to getting started and moving the organisation forward to be a world-leader in ice hockey and indeed winter sports as a whole There is a lot of potential to be uncovered and harnessed.”

Chairman of the board at IHUK, Clifton Wrottesley, said: “I’m really excited about the appointment of Henry Staelens as CEO.

“It’s a new role for Ice Hockey UK and I strongly believe that Henry has the vision, ambition and creativity to lead IHUK through what will be a period of significant evolution, as the organisation looks to professionalise its operations and performance structures, building on governance and GB Programme reviews that were carried out recently.

“Henry will also lead on forming an overarching strategy for the sport and IHUK, as well as be the main conduit in our relationships with our key stakeholders.

“Delivery is going to be key, as is being able to reach out to our existing loyal fanbase who follow our teams passionately, but also hopefully to a new, expanding audience, as we build our ambitious commercial, marketing, comms and events strategy.

“I’d like to welcome Henry to IHUK and indeed the ice hockey family in the UK and am really looking forward to working with him to build on the work that’s been done recently to improve our governance and operations.”


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