CEO Update – Friday 24 April 2020

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Dear Victorian Hockey Community,

On behalf of the Hockey Victoria (HV) Board & Management I wanted to take the time to provide all Players, Coaches, Umpires, Officials, Parents & supporters with an update in relation to Hockey Victoria.

As you can all appreciate, we are living in unprecedented times and dealing with a range of work, family and lifestyle changes none of us have experienced and not unlike all of you we at Hockey Victoria are experiencing significant challenges.

Over the past five weeks a lot of my and the teams time has been spent on securing a level of certainty in these uncertain times for the Hockey Victoria staff & for the organisation. This has included regular liaison with State Government, Health authorities, Hockey Australia and your clubs.

I can confirm that HV has been successful in receiving support to maintain a scaled back operation at this time through access to the JobKeeper program. Whilst our operations are scaled back at this time the team remain committed to delivering a viable competition in 2020, innovating through delivery of a range of courses and services for our members and working on a range of projects which will place HV in a position to rebound from the COVID-19 challenge later in 2020 when hockey can commence again.

Like you the passionate hockey enthusiast, the team and I at HV have been incredibly frustrated by not seeing hockey on the pitch in 2020. Tomorrow would normally be a special day for Essendon & Doncaster Hockey Clubs as they play in their annual Anzac Day clash at Premier League level and for all other clubs it would have been round 3 of the regular season.

I wanted to take the time to thank you all for staying so positive and enthusiastic about getting back on the pitch in 2020. The positive messaging, I see every day on social media just demonstrates how important our great game is to so many of you.

I also wanted to provide you all with an update in relation to our current work in getting hockey started again in 2020. In addition to this I would like to note a range of strategic work we are about to embark on in 2020 in a bid to improve not only the experience of our members and participants who play the game today but ensure we grow the game into the future.

In regards to getting the game back on the ground in 2020. We are working directly with Sport & Recreation Victoria, the relevant Heath authorities & Hockey Australia to develop a set of guidelines to return to match play in 2020. We have also commenced direct consultation with your clubs in regards to options for the 2020 HV Competition.

This includes fortnightly online forums with Presidents, a survey which was sent to clubs yesterday seeking advice from clubs on how much time is required to assemble teams to play in the competition when restrictions are lifted. We have also requested feedback in regards to how deep into the year clubs would consider playing competition. Noting that for the majority of our clubs we have access to grounds well beyond our traditional winter season.

From next week our consultation will extend to players and coaches from our competition affiliates across all levels of the competition. This feedback from the participants and coaches will assist us in finalising what shape the competition will take in 2020. I encourage players and coaches from all levels to make contact with your clubs to ensure you engage in this process.

As part of the discussion we are focusing our attention on the delivery of what we believe is the minimum viable competition period, 2 months (8 weeks). The team have also planned for competitions up to four months if time and the lifting of restrictions allow.

In terms of other key projects being progressed at this time they include but are not limited to a website redevelopment, online coaching and umpiring courses for members to engage in during May, planning for 2020-2021 pathway programs, the delivery of our obligations against government funded programs in the Women’s Leadership, Programs for People with a disability and disengaged youth.

From a strategic perspective the Board and Senior Management remain committed to the review and development of our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan and the review of the League Entry Criteria program. Both these important strategic projects will commence in June and will involve direct consultation with clubs and members across Victoria.

So, as you all go into another weekend with close friends and families, I continue to encourage all of you to remain positive. Stay connected with your clubs and we will continue to work with you to get hockey back on the pitch again in 2020.

Andrew Skillern

Chief Executive Officer