The official season launch of the inaugural Sultana Bran Hockey One League has signalled the start of something big not only for hockey but Australian sport.
The event, which was held in Sydney’s Martin Place this morning, featured a men’s and women’s player from each of the seven new clubs, which are based in the seven major capital cities.
Among the host of elite players at the event were the co-captains of the current world number one ranked Kookaburras, Eddie Ockenden and Aran Zalewski, as well as experienced first choice Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
The launch also saw the acknowledgement of Sultana Bran as the league’s naming rights partner and Westfund Health Insurance as a Supporting Partner.
Sultana Bran Hockey One GM, Tony Dodemaide said a lot of work had gone into the formation of the league, which begins on Sunday, and highlighted the big point of difference that Hockey One brings to the sporting landscape.
“This is a landmark occasion for hockey in Australia,” said Dodemaide.
“I think hockey has been underappreciated so this league is an opportunity to get our elite athletes out there in rebranded teams with plenty of movement, colour and action, and it will attract a lot more attention to the sport.”
“Having Sultana Bran and a brand as strong as Kellogg’s as the naming rights partner of Hockey One validates the concept and I think that is a great message to not only corporates but the public as well.”
Uniquely, the Sultana Bran Hockey One 2019 Season will comprise a men’s and women’s double header in every fixture, unlike any other major national competition.
“What this league does is break through and stamp itself as a national sport for families. I think the gender equality of hockey has been a key and competitive advantage that it has over other sports.
“It’s the most gender equal sport in the country. We celebrate that and the league has been structured around that so I can’t wait for it to start.”
Abby Wilson, who will play for the NSW Pride, said she was really excited being part of the league.
“It’s a great initiative to bring to hockey and I am sure the Sultana Bran Hockey One League will help to promote the sport to a lot more people,” said Wilson.
“Having every match broadcast on Kayo is huge and having the back to back double headers with the men’s and women’s matches is going to be really good.”
Tassie Tigers and Kookaburras co-captain Eddie Ockenden echoed Wilson’s thoughts and highlighted the quality of the players who will be competing.
“There will be Olympians in every team so it’s a really big competition. We haven’t had this professionalism around the sport before with the new branded uniforms and every match being broadcast.”
“We know we’ve got a good product, we just need to get it out there, and having Sultana Bran, Westfund and Kayo on board is great.”
The opening round of the Sultana Bran Hockey One 2019 Season begins this Sunday with NSW Pride hosting Adelaide Fire, Canberra Chill up against Brisbane Blaze and Perth Thundersticks taking on Hockey Club Melbourne. The Tassie Tigers have the bye in Round 1.
The players at the launch were as follows:
Adelaide Fire – Gabi Nance & Lachlan Busiko
Brisbane Blaze – Ashlea Fey & Scott Boyde
Canberra Chill – Anna Flanagan & Aaron Kershaw
Hockey Club Melbourne – Rachael Lynch & Russell Ford
NSW Pride – Abby Wilson & Tom Craig
Perth Thundersticks – Jemma Buckley & Aran Zalewski
Tassie Tigers – Amelia Spence & Eddie Ockenden
About the Sultana Bran Hockey One League
Hockey One is a new elite domestic hockey league and entertainment product, with a new concept, new format, new club identities and, for the first time ever, new access for fans, with every match streamed live on Kayo. It’s Real Hockey, Reimagined.
Hockey One is a two-month-long home-and-away league with finals. There are seven new clubs with new logos and uniforms, based in seven major cities across Australia, with a spread of Hockeyroos and Kookaburras. Each club will have a male and female team under the same umbrella.