Our friends of Igualada weblog (http://www.lamevaweb.info/575) published an interview with Josep Vigueras, Managing Director of the worldwide known hockey manufacturers Reno.
This is a translation of the interview:
Josep, where did the idea of organising this event come from?
From July 2004 Reno has been sponsoring FC Barcelona and one of the clausules in the contract allow us to use the Palau Blaugrana for one day a year. We had been wanting to organise something with the Catalan federation for a while, but couldn't find a suitable date. Last July I spoke to Ramon Basiana, president of the Catalan federation and told him that I'd like Catalonia to play the Reno World Stars as a testimonial for the players who won the B World Cup in Macau. Basiana agreed and from Reno we started working to get the best team of the world.
And after that, the shame of Fresno took place.
Yes, but we had decided that whatever the outcome of Fresno was we would play the game. And after the events in Fresno we thought that "now more than ever" we had to carry on and support the Catalan hockey.
The truth is that Josep Vigueras and Reno have been brave and showed their support to the Catalan national team.
Yes. We will do what we can to support the Catalan federation. I believe that the recognition of Catalonia would be very good for both the Spanish and the international hockey. I truly think that the hockey in Spain would grow a lot if Catalonia has its own national team, as the Spaniards would have to invest in the sport more than are doing now.
Besides the emotional aspect for the Catalans, the game against the Reno World Stars was planned to be a good spectacle, wasn't it?
We are convinced that hockey can improve with the introducion of new rules, such as bigger goals, referees wearing skates (to increase their speed and mobility and maybe having only one referee), and free hits from the 5th team foul. We would like scores such as 15 to 14. We want a good show. I have been a hockey player myself and I got very upset when last weekend in a big game Barca v Liceo the Palau was half empty. We want the fans to go back the the rinks!
What are your previsions for tonight's game?
We think it will be a full house. With four or 5 thousand people we would be more than happy but we might have to close doors when the demonstrations finishes. The events will start at half two in the afternoon with competitions for kids, girls game, speed shows, free hits etc.
As I said before we want spectacle in the world of roller hockey.
Last question. Is this a one off thing or you are thinking about making it permanent?
We would like to organise it every year. What we haven't decided is whether it will be always in Barcelona or we could hold it in different cities or towns or maybe doing it more than once every year and in different places.
All we want is to promote hockey.
Very interesting interview. From catalanhockey we thanks Mr Vigueras and encourage him to keep up the good work.