Junior Hockey Development Update

Written on the 5 September 2014 by SWSAS

OPEN LETTER              5 August 2014

SWSAS - Junior Hockey Development Update
From Gerry Knights, Executive Director)

Dear Macarthur Hockey Community Members,

I thought it appropriate that I write this ‘Open Letter’ to our Hockey community, as there has been much confusion as to what roles NSW Regional Academies, including the South West Sydney Academy of Sport (SWSAS) and HNSW will play, in the development of junior Hockey athletes from our region.

SWSAS has been committed to the development of our regions junior Hockey players for the past 18 years and if all possible, will continue to do so in the future. The Academy also remains as committed as ever, to supporting the development efforts of the Macarthur Hockey Association and the excellent work of its affiliated Clubs,

The Academy has seen many highly committed players move through its ranks on to State and National success, during this time. I am proud to say, from Australia’s current crop of representatives’ it has supported the development of three 2014 Hockeyroos, one 2014 Kookaburra and one 2014 Junior Olympic Games representative.

The Academy has always been appreciative of the support the Macarthur Hockey Association has provided it. And, due to its internal fundraising has been able to operate its Hockey program for local players, without seeking financial support from the Association, during this time.

Going forward

However SWSAS and all other NSW Regional Academies are now restricted as to whom, they can offer a 2014-2015 (Under-Pinning AAP) Hockey scholarship to. This restriction is based on the directives passed down from Hockey NSW, with HNSW providing clinics to all other age groups.

The current directives from Hockey NSW state -SWSAS can ONLY offer UAAP scholarships to the following athlete groups:

Athletes aged 16 – 18 years in 2015 (Born in 1999, 1998, 1997)
NOT involved in the HNSW Athlete Acceleration Program (AAP) - in 2015
                   (AAP squad to be announced on Tuesday 2nd October)

SWSAS – UAAP Program Objectives

1. To provide a quality development program opportunity for athletes wishing to progress to HNSW AAP.
2. To provide a quality development program opportunity for local junior players.

When viewing the local skill level of Macarthur players in this age group, it is envisaged that up to 16 players from the 2013-2014 SWSAS Hockey program may be selected in the HNSW AAP.

If correct, this will be an amazing positive reflection on the quality of the Academy, the Macarthur Hockey Association and its Club’s support of the development of junior Hockey.

Where to from here

As you may be aware the Academy has continued to grow at an amazing rate, and has increased its athlete scholarship intake for 163 athletes 3 year ago, to 332 across 12 sports in 2014, and has this week commenced its newest (13th) sport, Triathlon.

This aside, Hockey has been one of the Academy’s foundation sports, and the Academy would not like to lose its long association with Macarthur Hockey.

Therefore, it is requested that you:

1. Forward this information email to all of your Club members, so they have a clear understanding of the Academies position, should they have children, or not.
2. Ensure that all appropriately aged players within your club are aware of the opportunity the Academy Hockey program will provide in 2014-2015.
3. Direct these players, and current AAP players that do not make the 2014-2015 AAP cut, to the Academy website www.swsas.org.au
4. Or, contact me directly on 4627 7622, or by email: gerry.knights@swsas.org.au

In conclusion

The Academy recognises that there are continual changes in all sporting organisations, no matter what the sport; and this is the environment the Academy operates within on an annual basis. It is also appropriate to recognise that HNSW continues to provide a small amount of funding to assist with the delivery of the SWSAS hockey program.

This said, the Academy will continue to follow its very simple operational policy which states:

‘The Academy will support each individual sports designated junior pathway, in conjunction with the sports designated senior organisation’.

Hopefully, there are sufficient non-AAP players keen to progress their Hockey in the 16 to 18 age group to allow the Academy to retain its long association with Macarthur Hockey - as one of its premier Academy sports.

I thank you for your anticipated support of your local junior Hockey players, by forwarding this important email, to all associated with your Club.

Yours sincerely,

Gerry Knights
Executive Director
On behalf of the Board

Cc: Macarthur Hockey Association
     Hockey NSW


2/298 Queen St,
NSW 2560

Letters to: PO Box 307 Macarthur
Square NSW 2560