Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Aubrey's Australian Hockey Leaugue Wrap

By Aubrey Hamlett / @aubreyhamlett

Hockey Victoria hosted the Under 13 Boys National Championship and the Men’s Australian Hockey League at the State Netball Hockey Centre (SNHC) in Melbourne from September 27 until October 5.
As Communications Coordinator it was my job to handle all of Hockey Victoria’s social media platforms, website and keep the hockey community up to date with the events we were hosting. I had a number of tasks given to me by Hockey Australia and to give me a hand I also sought out an intern to help me during the tournaments.
I tried to seek out media opportunities for the competition and the Victorian Vikings (AHL), however, ran into a lot of roadblocks. The main and most obvious one was the fact the competition ran at a similar time frame to the AFL Finals series. Of course, in Melbourne, AFL is always priority number one. I received many emails from media outlets that read, ‘Thank you but we’re just in AFL mode right now.’ It frustrated me that I couldn’t get any additional major media coverage and focused my attention on more local publications such as Leader Newspapers, which worked quite well.
I’ve been employed at Hockey Victoria since July and it’s been a really different experience. I haven’t worked at state level before after having experiences working at Melbourne Storm (intern), Netball Australia (maternity contract) and very briefly at the Essendon Football Club (intern).
The amount of hockey events in our calendar is insane. Hockey doesn’t appear to have an ‘off season.’ Or at least nobody told hockey that it needs a break.
I’d survived junior and senior winter grand finals but I knew that the joint tournaments of the U13s and AHL would be a whole other beast. As well as the events we hosted there were eight other national events on at the same time around Australia. I knew that I’d really have to be on top of everything, not just the events we were hosting.
During the tournament I was mainly stationed in the media box overlooking one of our pitches at the SNHC with my intern, Sean Munaweera. I would cover the U13s and Sean would do the AHL.
Our days went relatively quickly as everything was broken up into 30 to 35 minute halves. I’d arrive half an hour before the first U13 game at 8.30am then the match would start at 9am, half-time at 9.35am, full-time at 10.20am and then to go downstairs and collect the match report and so on.
The AHL would be timed to start half an hour after the U13s matches got underway. I’d then write my U13 match reports and send the release to hockey communications and events contacts. I was also updating Hockey Victoria’s social media platforms and website throughout the day with results and photos.
The AHL was a bit different as we only had an hour after the conclusion of the last match to file and send the media release out. As the Victorian Vikings (AHL) usually played the last match of the day, Sean and I would head down to the bench at half-time and report from there.
I’d venture around the pitch taking photos, instagraming videos and updating Twitter. Sean would also conduct post match interviews with some of our Vikings players. We’d then head back into the office and send out the media release, update the website and social media.
I’d get home at about 8pm and would be in bed by about 9.30pm ready for the next day’s competition. I know I sound like a grandma but if I didn’t put myself to bed I would’ve passed out on the couch from being so tired. 
During the eight days of competition (two rest days), I worked out that I had watched roughly 48 hockey matches. That’s at least double the amount of AFL matches that I’ve ever been to. It’s fair to say, I’m all hockey-ed-out. 
But it doesn’t actually stop there as my CEO signed me up for the International Super Series Hockey 9s in Perth at the beginning of my employment. I leave for Perth next Tuesday and will spend six days over there. I’m looking forward to having a bit of a break even though I’ll be working as media centre manager for the event.
I’ll be working with Hockey Australia staff as well as other communications and events employees from other hockey states. It’ll be a good experience to work with new people and at an international event. I’m extremely lucky to have been put up for it.
As I mentioned before, hockey is a different beast compared to most sports in Australia. I think I actually feel more for our athletes purely because of their intense schedule. They  will have been involved with winter competitions, AHL and the upcoming International Super Series, Oceania Cup, World League and Junior World Cup – all before December 15

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