Powell, a two-time Gold Medalist, has been tasked with bringing the Hockeyroos back to prominence.
Powell’s selection means she will lead Australia’s national women’s team from now until the end of the Tokyo Olympics.
Powell takes over from Gaudoin, who resigned from Hockey Australia in a state of turmoil after an independent analysis found the women’s national program was “dysfunctional” and “not conducive to athlete well-being or sustained on-field performance.”
Gaudoin is the most recent departure from the organisation, following former high-performance director Toni Cumpston, Hockeyroos assistant coach Steph Andrew, and numerous other staff and directors.
Following individual accusations of bullying, body-shaming, the emergence of severe eating disorders, and unfair team selections in the women’s program, the governing body launched an independent investigation into claims of a toxic culture within the Hockeyroos in December last year.
Powell has been in various coaching capacities since 2005, following a distinguished playing career that included 252 games, 141 goals and two Olympic Gold Medals for the Hockeyroos. She is the current Head Coach of the New South Wales Institute of Sport’s (NSWIS) Women’s Hockey Program, and will become the first female Hockeyroos Head Coach since Colleen Quinn in 1978.
A member of the Hockeyroos’ coaching staff at the 2010 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, coaching support staff at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic campaigns, and most recently the Hockeyroos’ Assistant Coach at the 2019 Oceania Cup, Powell is no stranger to the demands on international coaching.
“It is a really quick turnaround to the Olympics and I am well aware of that but I am so excited by the opportunity that is in front of me,” said Powell.
“My objective is not to overhaul the hard work that has already been done. I am keen to bring in a fresh set of eyes, ideas and approach that will help this team be successful.”
“My coaching style is one of athlete wellbeing but high expectation and discipline. We are going to work really hard with the athletes about building a purpose and having a strong way of play.”
“There is still a lot of work to do between now and the Olympics and I am eager to get straight into it and help these girls reach their potential because it is a highly talented squad that can finish on the dais in Tokyo.”
Hockey Australia is appreciative of NSWIS allowing Powell to fulfil the role.
“Katrina has proven herself to be a world-class coach and we are thrilled to see her leading the Hockeyroos on the world’s biggest stage,” said NSWIS CEO Kevin Thompson.
“It’s fantastic to see a female coach leading the team for the first time in 40 years and we wish Katrina, the Hockeyroos and Hockey Australia every success in Tokyo and beyond.”
Powell is scheduled to arrive in Perth on 6 April.
Hockey Australia intends to announce a new assistant coach to fill the position vacated by Steph Andrews soon.