By recruiting Maxime Halflants, the Luxembourg Hockey Federation and the capital’s club are demonstrating their ambition, on both a sporting and educational level.

It’s the 6th of September 2020, at the dawn of the new season, and the blues and whites are showing faultless determination under the watchful eyes of their new coach.

In sport, as with most other meaningful human endeavour, it is total commitment which drives results that even if not translated into the score line, develop the individual and group spirit. Joining the defensive line for the last 5 minutes of the match, in order to consolidate a good draw (1-1 against Taxandria), M. Halflants demonstrates that, also with a stick in his hand, he has lost none of his touch…

“Sport has always been an integral part of my life,” says the new sports director and coach. “From the age of 5, I started playing hockey with a lot of enthusiasm. Competitiveness and passion are the driving forces that led me to emerge into the honour division with Racing (Brussels) and to achieve national selection in the under 21 age group. That was a great experience that enabled me to develop alongside the golden generation of the Red Lions, who later shone at the Rio Olympics".

You may be thinking that M. Halflants could harbour some legitimate regrets for not having continued with the Belgian national hockey team, but other sporting successes have punctuated his unusual career. Selected by the Belgian tennis federation, he has spent the last 6 years in the highly respected Serie A club (Belgian top 30) and what’s more, only 4 years after taking up the sport, he plays golf off a handicap of only -2! The icing on the cake, these achievements - which many sportsmen specializing in only one of the three disciplines would be delighted with - were obtained whilst simultaneously carrying out law studies and an internship at the Brussels Bar...

"Maxime's profile is most bespoke", confirms the President of the Luxembourg Hockey Federation, Francis Parisis. “So, we have taken the opportunity to tailor-make his outfit (laughs). For more than three years, we have been working to develop synergies between the Federation, the Olympic Committee and the Luxembourg hockey club, with a clear focus on youth development. Our ambition must, however, conform to strict and sound budgetary management and that means we need to be very selective in the positions we fill. This is the reason why a profile of a lawyer with a deep knowledge of elite sport seemed really interesting to us, in order to work in tandem - for the facilities and youth development programme - with Ignacio Gomez. Beyond the very encouraging first results, we share a management vision that places the individual at the centre of the system”.

"It is obvious that finding each person’s place within the structure of a team requires an individual approach", replies M. Halflants. “As such, I am particularly attentive, wearing my coaches hat, to the human and athletic development of our players. Sooner or later the newly acquired skills of an individual spill over into the group. In my new professional environment, I rely a lot on the experience acquired with my previous professional exposure. By following Arthur De Greef (110th player in the world) for a few months on the ATP circuit, during 2019, I felt with particular acuity how much the mental aspect transcends technical and physical parameters. It may seem obvious but, in our results-oriented and competitive society, we often forget that emotions govern our destinies. Also, the understanding that we have of ourselves, our capabilities and limitations, are strongly anchored but not unchangeable ".

It would be very premature to make any predictions already, however the home crowd who savoured the victory in the third league game were not mistaken: the mood was, like the weather, radiant. No doubt the 4-0 defeat inflicted on Jaguars was a big contributor to the party atmosphere that reverberated around the club during the post-match barbecue. Obviously M. Halflants feels good in his conductor’s costumery. Long may it hold together and develop into a game-changing asset for the Luxembourg Hockey Federation and the bourgeoning club of our capital.