Community Hockey was back in Auckland this past weekend as the turfs across the Association were open and hosting all grades of senior hockey. This coming weekend will see the junior players return to the turf as the second biggest Association in New Zealand got going again.
On Saturday one of the premier club competitions from throughout the country got underway as the Intercity Club Competition between Auckland and North Harbour clubs resumed after being interrupted after the second round earlier in the season. The competition features several of our Vantage Black Sticks players in a season which will see them don their club colours which they are so passionate about representing.
Q – How has the transition been going in the return of community hockey in Auckland?
A – The transition back to the turf has been going well. We have been noticing the vibe amongst our members has been an eagerness to get back into things; people were compliant with all the protocols when we reopened our facility which allowed for a smooth transition to returning.
Q – What challenges have you had to overcome during this period?
A – The lockdown provided us with an opportunity to reexamine how we operate. We have a trim and lean team where a lot of the people are doing several different roles which meant we were already functioning quite well.
Q – What opportunities has this period provided to Auckland Hockey?
A – Rep Hockey not happening this year has meant that we now have the opportunity to look at these programs and identify if there could be a better way to deliver these so that we don’t overload our participants. We now have a clear community window which means that we can look at other opportunities and ways to deliver quality experiences to our participants.
Q – How was your team able to stay productive and creative during the lockdown?
A – Our team found that the way we operated wasn’t too different. Our staff are used to working remotely and being effective in this way. We were able to have team meetings online during the period, and it allowed our team to be still connected and continue to work effectively during the lockdown.
Q – What does it mean for the community to be back on the pitch and playing games?
A – People love games more than they love training, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and people are glad to be back out on the pitch and competing against one another. The sense of community in our Association has grown since returning to the turf, which has been awesome to see.
Q – Have there been any challenges with getting the volunteers in place to run the games?
A – We are connected with the Hockey Umpires Association and consider them another one of our clubs. We have found that not having the rep season means that our umpires have more time so can commit in some cases more of their time to the community season which means that we have been unaffected in this area.
COVID 19 has provided our Associations with the opportunity to look at new ways to deliver our sport to their communities. Auckland Hockey has plenty of exciting developments in the pipeline that will provide amazing experiences for their community. Make sure you stay engaged to see what these will look like.
Community Hockey is continuing to ramp up around the country. Next week we are going to be profiling another massive Association from in the North Island and looking at how they are getting used to their new facility in this ever-changing landscape.