Former stars Phil Hulbert and David Guest will lead WA’s top-tier women’s and men’s hockey sides, the Perth Thundersticks, in this year’s Sultana Bran Hockey One season.
The Perth Thundersticks, Western Australia’s premier open-age hockey side, will return to the field after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 when the season commences in October, with Hulbert and Guest taking the reins.
Guest will lead the men’s side and brings a wealth of high-level hockey experience, both as a player and coach, after a 10-year stint with the Kookaburras as a player which included a 2008 Olympics bronze medal, eventually transitioning into performance analyst roles for Australia’s national sides.
Hulbert, a former Thundersticks player in the former AHL, has seen recent success as coach of the Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club women’s side in the Premier League, winning the past two Grand Finals.
With a talented crop of players to choose from this year, Guest says he is excited by the challenge ahead and will look to bring an exciting brand of hockey.
“The Thundersticks have always been a great side over many years and it is a real honour to be able to play a part in shaping history for such a strong hockey state in 2022,” Guest says.
“The fans should be excited this year – we will play a real engaging type of hockey and build off a sound defence – the attack will come next and I am hopeful there will be a number of scoring opportunities for us with minimal for the opposition.”
Hulbert shared Guest’s sentiment, stating an attacking outlook will please WA hockey fans when the season hits late this year.
“I have been a part of WA hockey my whole life, so I’m really honoured to land as head coach of the Perth Thundersticks women’s side,” Hulbert said.
“Obviously there has been an extended period without Hockey One due to COVID-19, so the public can expect the players to give it their all – I know they’re excited for the challenge.
“We are going out there to win – I want the players to play with freedom and really instil an open, fast-paced style of hockey and if the players buy in, I’m sure we can put in a good performance on the field.”
WA has seen recent success at the Hockey Australia Under-15s and Under-18s National Championships and with tournaments such as the Ric Charlesworth Classic showcasing the talent in the state, both coaches are excited at the prospect of selecting their squads.
“There is a lot of depth in the cohort of elite-level players here in WA, with a number of juniors staking their claim to be picked, as well as several established players who have shown they can perform at the top level,” Guest said
“WA hockey is in a great state at the moment – it is a great challenge to have trying to choose a squad from such a large crop of talented players,” Hulbert said.
The Sultana Bran Hockey One season will kick off in October – more information will be released soon on the Hockey WA Website.