Hockey players could be forgiven for having a collective chip on their shoulders.
We’re like the kid in a big family vying for mum and dad’s attention.
Love us! Love us!
We’re family friendly.
Love us! Love us!
The Koookburras and Hockeyroos lay claim to being two of this nation’s most successful sporting teams. But does that kind of success translate into superstar status for our players?
Our most capped player, Jamie Dwyer, mustn’t be able to leave his house, right?
A photo posted by Jamie Dwyer (@jamiedwyer01) on
Jay Stacy – the man he took the record from, must be mobbed in the streets, surely? I’m here to tell you, it ain’t so. In fact, I saw Jay Stacy walking down Clarendon Street in Carlton just the other day and no-one batted an eyelid. Why has the consistent high achiever of Australian sport always missed the spotlight? It’s because we’re producing a Rosella Tomato sauce product and being given No Frills attention. You can speculate about the past: the AFL powerhouse stealing the limelight, the wealth of sports offered in Australia, the fact that hockey, unlike the AFL, is an overseas product. But I prefer to look to the future. Like a goalkeeper facing a loose forward in the D, Australian hockey is not going to sit back on its haunches and wait for the ball. It’s going to charge off the line and slide tackle head first. The signs of progress are all around us: the rise of the Hockey India League (featuring many of our superstars), the signing of a Hockeyroo to Red Bull – a brand renowned for boosting sporting profiles, and the evolving penalty shoot out. But the most exciting development is the use of the internet to take the local game to a global audience. Things are stepping up a notch in Victoria, where the governing body is breaking new ground by live streaming a men’s and women’s Premier League game every weekend. The first three rounds have garnered views of up to 8000.
As Hockey Victoria’s General Manager of Hockey Operations, Sash Herceg puts it: “We are taking our top level competition to the mainstream audiences, in Victoria, nationally and internationally.
“This will help us build the exposure which we will leverage to gain new sponsorship support.”
It’s early days yet but Herceg says the feedback has been positive and twitter engagement during live matches is a good sign.
So you heard it here first: hockey is on the brink of greatness. No longer the youngest child crying out for attention. It’s time to grow up. If you can’t break through to the mainstream, create your own stream, I say.
4 reasons why hockey is on the verge of greatness
The internet – Hockey’s biggest problem is finding a way to be seen among the saturated coverage other sports receive. The internet is the answer to all these problems.
We don’t fear change – The offside rule slowing down scoring? Get rid of it. Grass too bumpy? Let’s play on astroturf. Penalty strokes not exciting enough? Let’s make them run from further out and have a shoot out. Hockey embraces change and the sport is better for it. (Seriously, the offside rule. Can you believe that used to be a thing?)
This goal – Enough said.
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You – You’re reading this. You’re part of the solution. Play hockey, talk about hockey, watch hockey and share hockey (particularly this column). And most importantly, feature in the highlights reel.
There’s more than a few similarities between cricket and hockey but in no way does that mean it’s easy to cross over between the sports. So when the Hobart Hurricanes’ Ben Dunk stopped in at a Kookaburras training session it was always going to be entertaining. To his credit, Dunk padded up and got in the net as Kookaburras fired shots at him. His response: “It was a little bit terrifying”.
— Kookaburras (@Kookaburras) May 6, 2015
MULTI-COLOURED KOOKABURRAS How’s this for a bit of experience in the line-up? A total of seven former Kookaburras are taking the reins in the Brisbane Hockey League.
Liam de Young (Pine Rivers St Andrews Hockey Club), Troy Elder (Bulimba Hockey Club), Matthew Smith (Kedron Wavell Services Hockey Club), Greg Browning (University of Queensland Hockey Club), Lee Bodimeade (Valley Hockey Club), Jason Wilson (Labrador Hockey Club) and Peter Shaw (Easts Hockey Club) are coaching in this year’s competition. There’s more than 1000 Aussie caps between them and a whole bunch of Olympic medals. At the time of writing Elder’s Bulimba was sitting on top of the ladder on percentage.
THROWBACK THURSDAY Wild weather has been making it’s way across the country, reminding many of us that hockey is indeed, a winter sport. It’s worth taking a look at this 2014 video from Fremantle Hockey Club. Talk about flooding the backline.
Tim loves his hockey as much as he loves telling a story. Send your story ideas, news tips, images, videos or feedback to timdoutre