Australia: A thank you to the Australian Hockey Community, from Hockey Australia CEO David Pryles

australia a thank you to the australian hockey community from hockey australia ceo david pryles 65851352e6a2f - Australia: A thank you to the Australian Hockey Community, from Hockey Australia CEO David Pryles - To The Australian Hockey Community,

To The Australian Hockey Community,

I wanted to thank you  for your continued support and involvement in our great game in 2023. 

From the grassroots to the elite levels, the year delivered yet another line-up of fantastic moments and achievements, building momentum for what is expected to be an even bigger year for hockey in 2024.

We also acknowledged and celebrated the many volunteers in hockey across the country in 2023 with an inaugural competition calling on photographers of all levels to capture snaps of those who give their time week in week out to make the game what it is in Australia. A big congratulations to Emma Wilkinson from South Australia who, out of the 151 entries, was deemed the overall winner by a judging panel of hockey experts. Emma’s photo was of Bruce, a Grange Royals Club coach and umpiring mentor who she passed on her winning prize of two tickets to the JDH Hockey One League Final, including flights, car hire and accommodation. Many thanks to our partners, Adina Hotels, East Coast Car Rentals (ECCR) and Asics who helped provide the winner’s and runner’s up prizes. 

2023 saw the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will strengthen and build on our work towards reconciliation and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We were also pleased to signed the UN Climate Change Sports for Climate Action Framework, pledging our commitment to environmental sustainability.

In 2023, we were pleased to welcome new and renewed partners including Virgin Australia Westcare, Sportslink Travel, East Coast Car Rentals (ECCR), Kumho Tyre and JDH (Jamie Dwyer Hockey) who signed as a major partner for the Hockey One League in 2023. 

Our Hockeyroos and Kookaburras are bound for the Olympic Games in Paris next year after both the women’s and men’s national teams beat their New Zealand counterparts in a three-Test Oceania Cup series across the ditch in August. The initial 2024 squads have been announced, featuring a very exciting mix of experience and youth. The squads showcase the widespread appeal of hockey in Australia, with players hailing from right across the country from the bush to the beach.  

The year will commence once again with the FIH Pro League, which will see the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos take on hockey’s very best sides from around the world. Season five for both Australian national sides starts in India in February before heading to Belgium and the UK in May and June. Following the blockbuster announcement of our partnership with the Seven Network in 2023, all Hockeyroos and Kookaburras games will once again be available to watch, live, free and on demand on 7Plus. 

With a wealth of Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Cup medals under their belts and some very impressive results in 2023, the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras remain ones to watch at next year’s Games. You only have to look at Australian hockey’s group of alumni to see the rich history this game has on the world stage. This year, an impressive eleven former Hockeyroo and Kookaburra players were inducted into the Hockey Australia Hall of Fame, with former Australian men’s superstar, Paul Dearing acknowledged as a Hockey Australia Legend. In what was another pride-inducing moment for the sport, representatives from the 1988 Hockeyroos team came together earlier this year to celebrate the 35 year anniversary of Australia’s first Olympic hockey gold medal.

The journey to Paris will be further strengthened thanks to the ongoing assistance from the Australian Government, with the Australian Sports Commission and Commonwealth Games providing funding crucial to our High Performance teams’ success. With the plans for the Hockey Australia High Performance Centre at the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras centralised location in Perth continue to take shape, we’d also like to acknowledge the West Australian Government for their unwavering support in this space. State Governments too continue to make the game what it is in Australia hosting our National Championships throughout the year. 

We look forward to seeing how the JDH Hockey One League season continues to grow after yet another successful season in 2023, with every game shown live and free on 7Plus. This year not only saw the signing of international talent, but also helped various athletes be seen and named in the women’s and men’s national squads and national development squads in 2024. Hockey One is a fast and entertaining version of the sport and a key steppingstone on the hockey pathway.

Speaking of the hockey pathway, in 2024 we are set to launch a new look Hookin2Hockey, Australian hockey’s national participation program for kids aged 5 – 12. Hookin2Hockey is and will continue to grow with more and more Clubs and schools across the country offering its safe, fun and social programs. Our new APM Community Clinics will further drive this growth, providing opportunities for children all over Australia to join in the fun of hockey, make new friends and learn new skills.  

Also receiving a brand new look in 2024 is livehockey.com.au – giving you the opportunity to watch hockey from across the country all in the one place. Livehockey.com.au is where you can catch all the action from Hockey Australia’s smorgasbord of National Championships. Together the Championships showcase the widespread appeal of hockey across all ages and all four corners of Australia. It all starts in early January with Canberra ACT hosting the Indoor Championships. 

With plenty of big announcements and successes in 2023, I know I reflect the sentiments of the entire Australian hockey family in looking forward to what next year will bring. With the spotlight further shining on this great game next year, I cannot wait to see how hockey will continue to go from strength to strength in 2024 across all ages, levels and areas of Australia. 

All the best over the festive season and see you all in 2024. 

Best regards

David Pryles
CEO, Hockey Australia

Australia Hockey

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