Season 2016- A good luck message from Hockey Victoria

On behalf of the Hockey Victoria Board & Staff I would like to wish all the Associations & Clubs the best for the 2016 hockey season. The HV Competition kicks off on Saturday with the start of the 2016 Premier League & Vic League 1 competition. I am delighted that hockey is now back and all the hard work of the clubs in the off season is now put into action as we all hit the grounds across Victoria.

It’s going to be an exciting year for a lot of reasons.  All Vic League 1 clubs will be putting their best foot forward to be considered as the next Premier League club whilst in the junior space we will continue to witness the rise of ‘girls only’ competition.  On the international front we will all be glued to our televisions as our two National teams the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras take on the world at the 2016 Rio Olympics and then we will all have the opportunity to watch them both in the flesh post Olympics as they both play here in Melbourne and Regional Victoria in late November early December.

As many of you will also be aware Hockey Victoria and the State Sports Centres Trust have recently signed a new licence agreement which has resulted in positive changes to the use and access to the State Netball Hockey Centre.  From Friday 1 April all registered players and ‘Supporters’ will gain access to the SNHC as part of their 2016 membership.  We look forward to the community enjoying the world class facilities during 2016 as the two new blue hockey pitches are simply magnificent to play on and to spectate hockey.  The new agreement with the SSCT will save the wider hockey community approximately $125,000 per year, something we can all be proud of.

In the area of grassroots recruitment, we are on track for a new record.  Victoria’s Hookin2Hockey numbers are over 2,350 registered participants which has already passed the numbers who participated in the program in 2015.  We are delighted with the progress in this area and look forward to more numbers joining the National recruitment program during the year and after the Olympics later in 2016.

The development program which has now been in place is starting to slowly yield results.  In the 2016 HV Junior competition we have witnessed an increase of 6.5% of full field junior teams which includes additional 12 girls only teams.  This growth is a credit to every level of administration and coaching across the state.

In 2015 we had 183 Mixed teams and 56 girls only teams.  In 2016 we have 186 Mixed teams and 68 girls only teams.  This is even more impressive because the decline in teams over the past decade has now been stopped and we are rebounding back the other way.  In the Masters we have seen a small increase in teams across the board, however an increase of 4 teams in the Women’s Masters.  Across the Pennant & Metro competition the team numbers have remained consistent which is really positive given the ongoing challenge of all club sport to maintain participants.

On a Regional front we have witnessed strong results in ‘Hookin2Hockey’ during the pre-season and look forward to seeing this success also transition into more registered participants in 2016.  The success of Sunraysia HA and Glenelg HA in 2015 looks like it will be matched by some impressive numbers and interest in Bendigo and Ballarat in 2016.

In the area of High Performance, we are looking forward to the first four outdoor National Championships for 2016.  Next week our State Under 15 Boys and Girls teams will travel to Wollongong and our Under 21 teams to Sydney to take on the rest of the country.  For the Under 21 teams they are focussed on defending their National titles of 2015 and for the Under 15 Boys and Girls we are looking forward to seeing the natural progression of the players who have all been actively part of our revamped player development programs in the past 18-24 months.

In 2016 we have also commenced a significant focus on ’Officiating Development’.  We have appointed 10 Umpire Coaches who will be working with our ‘Rostered Umpires’ to develop their skills and competence into the future.  You will see the coaches around at the venues supporting the umpires.  I ask you to support the umpires and the coaches as we focus on improving the experience of everyone at hockey matches in 2016.  We are also introducing TO’s at all PL and VL1 matches, which provides another formal pathway for participation in officiating. Our approach to ‘Officiating Development’ is long term however.  For us to achieve the ultimate success, which is rostering an umpire to all scheduled matches will take a long time to achieve.  So for HV it is about setting the appropriate education and support to the umpires and TO’s who are in the system now and through this education and support increase the number of officials in the system into the future.

Finally I would like to draw all members’ attention to the HV Codes of Behaviour.  These codes are all about demonstrating the behaviour that you would expect of others.  Hockey Victoria takes the behaviour of all members seriously and anecdotally we are firmly of the belief that the environment in which players, umpires, coaches and administrators experience is the key to retention and recruitment into the future.

So my final message as CEO before this weekend’s kick off.  Enjoy your hockey and enjoy being part of an outstanding sport but think about the way you act.  Represent yourself, your club and our sport the way it deserves to be represented.

CEO Andrew Skillern

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