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President & CEO Update September 2020

Published Tue 15 Sep 2020

On behalf of Hockey SA, we wanted to provide you with an update with regards to Hockey SA as we move towards the 2020 finals and 2020-2021 summer. 


2020 has arguably been the most challenging year in Hockey South Australia’s, our Associations and Clubs and members lives.  Like all Sporting Associations across the country we needed to actively navigate our financial and operational position for the majority of the year. 


Firstly, we wanted to thank all Club & Association Presidents from around the state for their professionalism and commitment to the game in 2020.  We have continued to liaise every two weeks with them as we managed the initial lock down from COVID-19, the recovery and now strong engagement with regards to some key projects emerging as we collectively plan for 2021. 


Secondly, we would like to thank the 5,000 South Australian’s who have got back out on the pitch in 2020.  The response as a community sport has been really impressive.  From a 92% return rate in the Adelaide Competition through the range of different innovations which have taken place from around all corners of regional SA we have got close to 85% of our players back out on a hockey pitch in 2020.  


We also would like to show our appreciation to the hundreds of volunteers across all of our clubs who have continued to work within the COVID Safe Guidelines on top of the everyday role of the volunteer in 2020. 


In the 2020 Adelaide Competition modern day powerhouse clubs Adelaide Hockey Club seem to be the front runners when it comes to Men’s Premier League and both Adelaide and Port Adelaide look like the form teams in the Women’s Competition. 


From an operational perspective we are delighted to announce the appointment of Ashleigh Stratford as our new Competition & Facilities Manager.  We would both like to again take the time to thank Max Bail for his contribution to the organization over 2-3-year period.  In particular to the work done in 2020 to manage a revised hockey season. 


The Fire Academy was launched a few months ago with over 300 emerging athletes from across the State engaged in the program.  Todd Kitto and Matt Morton have been working closely with the coaches of the academy across the state to develop their resources for the program.  The program will underpin our performance at National level in the coming years. 


In the last couple of weeks, we launched the Super League for this coming summer.  It will kick off in November and be played over spring/summer this year.  We will be using the Super League as an opportunity to lead into Adelaide Fire squad selection and build momentum into season 2 of Hockey One. 


This week we will be launching Hockey Sixers at a couple of venues in Adelaide to encourage those participants looking for more hockey leading into Christmas to engage in.  We will be running divisions specifically targeted at encouraging non registered players to give hockey a go.  Details on the season are included in this correspondence. 


In terms of the strategic focus we are currently finalizing the development of our four-year strategy.  Clubs and Associations are currently providing feedback into the draft plan.  The Board and Management seek to address a 10-year slide in participation and build hockey’s profile throughout South Australian schools throughout the plan. 


This significant step up in strategy will see Hockey SA in partnership with our clubs and Associations conduct a Schools Roadshow in February/March 2021 where we will conduct hockey clinics for close to 25,000 primary students in South Australia.  The program is tipped to double the number of juniors under 10 playing hockey in South Australia within four years. 


The other critical piece of work to assist with addressing participation decline, improve retention and grow the sport in South Australia will be a Competition Review.  Last week Hockey SA distributed a club and Association survey to administrators to provide a response to.  The review is focused on addressing some of the barriers in place for players to participate in competitions and events across South Australia but also barriers for clubs in developing their own club.  From mid-September we will be surveying players from across the State to seek their input to competitions.  

Like many sports associations from across the country we have been challenged by the events of COVID-19 however we are pleased to say we are in a strong position to recover from COVID-19 and pursue a range of the important strategic projects to take the game forward in 2021. 


We would both like to thank all of our loyal hockey participants for getting behind our great game in 2020 and we remind all participants of your obligations to adhere to the COVID Safety Plans and to the Codes of Behaviour.  Please remind yourself of your personal obligations to ensure we close out a successful hockey season in 2020. 


John-William Usher (President) & Andrew Skillern (Chief Executive Officer)