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THE GAME CHANGER

New Delhi, December 07, 2023: Royal Enfield, the global leader in the mid-size (250cc-750cc) motor cycle segment, unveiled a strategic Blueprint for the development of Ice Hockey in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh. Titled Game Changer, the blueprint document will serve as a road map for the holistic development of the sport in Ladakh and a step towards realising the ambition of fielding an Indian Ice Hockey contingent at the 2042 Winter Olympics. The blue print was handed over to Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon’ble Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, Advocate Shri Tashi Gyaltsan, Chief Executive Councillor, Leh, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Shri Mohd Jaffer Akhoon, Chief Executive Councillor, Kargil, LAHDC and Shri Ravinder Kumar (IAS), Secretary to the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh and Department of Youth & Sports, Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh by Ms. Bidisha Dey, Executive Director of Eicher Group Foundation, the CSR and Sustainability arm of Royal Enfield, at an event in Shangri-La Eros, New Delhi. 

“Today’s development is very exciting for our nation. I would like to congratulate the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh and Royal Enfield, for the creation of this Blueprint for the Development of Ice Hockey in Ladakh. This blueprint is a Game Changer and will certainly pave the way to enable an Indian Ice Hockey contingent to participate in the 2042 Winter Olympics. The Khelo India programme, which is the national programme for development of sports, was introduced to revive sport at the grassroots level by building a strong framework for all sports played in India. The Blueprint for the Development of Ice Hockey in Ladakh is a step towards that and will help build a strong framework for the growth of the sport in the Himalayan region,” said Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon’ble Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, who has also written the foreword of this potentially game changing document.

For decades Royal Enfield riders have been exploring the Himalayas and interacting with the communities of this region. Given this deep connection, Royal Enfield’s social mission is the brand’s commitment to give back to the land that it considers its spiritual home.

“At Royal Enfield, our social mission is to build resilience in communities and nature, particularly in the iconic Himalayan landscape. We are working to support and partner with 100 Himalayan Communities to facilitate sustainable development in this region. Our partnership with the Union Territory of Ladakh and the development of this blueprint for growing Ice Hockey in the region is informed by this purpose. The blueprint incorporates inputs and perspectives from all stakeholders and has been reviewed by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). I am confident that this will be a game changer in consistently improving India’s performance in the sport on the global stage. I would like to thank the Hon’ble Union Minister, Shri Anurag Thakur, for his support to the development of this document and to the Administration of UT Ladakh for commissioning Royal Enfield to develop this blueprint,” said Bidisha Dey, Executive Director, Eicher Group Foundation.

“A key component of the Blueprint is to create a competitive environment at a grass root level to grow the sport. This would provide a platform for local talent to be identified and nurtured. Towards this, Royal Enfield and the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh are planning training camps across Ladakh, where teams will be selected to participate in a league based tournament in Leh, this winter,” she added.

With more than 90% of India’s Ice Hockey players hailing from Ladakh winter sports is emerging as a promising avenue towards building resilience and generating livelihood opportunities — particularly for the youth. It can also simultaneously boost winter tourism, potentially transforming Ladakh into a coveted winter sports destination.

Commissioned by the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh, Royal Enfield collaborated with the European Business and Technical Centre (EBTC) and all relevant local, national and international stakeholders to develop this Blueprint, shaping the future of Ice hockey and winter sports in India. Reviewed by and created with inputs from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), this holistic document covers requirements for equipment and infrastructure, scouting and nurturing local talent, conducting training camps with the involvement of international coaches and professional governance, among other things.

“I would like to thank the Hon’ble UnionMinister, Shri Anurag Thakur for his support to the blue print and Royal Enfield for creating this Blueprint for the Development of Ice Hockey in Ladakh. Ice Hockey is already very popular in Ladakh with the region contributing 90% of players hailing from here. With this blueprint now and with the support of all stakeholders, including the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) who visited the UT in June 2023 and reviewed the document and shared their inputs, there is now a roadmap in place to help the sport reach new heights. At the end of January, we will be hosting the Khelo India Winter Games in Ladakh and the support extended to us by the Government of India and Royal Enfield will go a long way towards establishing the Union Territory as a sporting destination,” said Shri Ravinder Kumar (IAS), Secretary to the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh and Department of Youth & Sports, Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh.

While the document has been commissioned by the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh and has been created to develop the sport in Ladakh, it is not limited in its scope. It can be used as a template for developing the sport in other Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Royal Enfield is currently working with all stakeholders to grow winter sports particularly Ice Hockey and winter tourism across the Himalayas, including in Himachal Pradesh where the brand will support the development of the sport with training, infrastructure, equipment and the set up of a Spiti Cup.

In Ladakh, Royal Enfield has already supported the development of the sport with a ‘train the trainer’ programme where 20 coaches were trained by coaches brought in from Germany. More than 500 children have been provided training in ice skating, which is the starting point for any one aspiring to play ice hockey. Additionally, 70 ice hockey kits have been procured and will be distributed to players who don’t have access to sporting equipment.

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