On Wednesday, 2nd of December 2015, the HV Board approved the League Entry Criteria to be implemented from season 2017. I am writing to the club members to advise of this new approach to Premier League and Vic League competitions from the 2016 season.

Three years ago Hockey Victoria adopted a strategy to grow our game, including activities such as School Roadshow and the roll out of the National introductory program, Hookin2Hockey, to recruit new players to our game.

This year, player numbers in Victorian hockey actually grew and there are now state wide plans to significantly grow numbers further.

In 2016, Altona and Hockey Victoria will see 1,400 children in our local schools. Many of these children will end up in our Hookin2Hockey program and ideally in the Intraclub competition.

For a number of decades, hockey in Victoria has operated under a relegation and promotion system.

The decision to introduce the League Entry Criteria will alter the way clubs gain access to and maintain a position in Premier League and Vic League competitions.

A Premier League Working Committee has been formed. This group has the responsibility to be the representatives for Premier League and Vic League 1 clubs. The group is made up of 7 members from Premier League and Vic League clubs as well as 2 Hockey Victoria representatives.

From the 2017 season, the League Entry Criteria (LEC) will be implemented and the promotion and relegation will depend on a holistic club performance approach – both on and off-field. Going forward, clubs will need to demonstrate good governance and meet set participation numbers to gain Premier League status. Standards will also apply to pitch surfaces (no PL games on sand based pitches from 2017 season). On Field performance will still form part of the requirement.

The below graph illustrates the key elements of the criteria:

LEC (1)

In 2016, there will be no relegation from Premier League. By 2019 or 2020, there may be up to 20 PL clubs, if enough PL and VL1 clubs can demonstrate the full compliance with the LEC.

What does this mean for our club?

I believe the Altona Hockey Club is well placed to maintain its position in Premier League for men and women for many years to come. We already meet many of the LEC requirements but there is certainly work to be done to increase our junior membership base. We have been working with Hockey Victoria and have a plan to increase our junior numbers through the schools program. The effort the club has been putting into increasing revenue to improve our facilities has proven to be well founded and will support our achievement of the facilities component of the LEC. There is a need for us to round out our club policies which is something we have been working towards over the last few years. We will also need to set up a more formalised approach to our management of volunteers which I am confident will improve the club significantly.

As we work through the implementation of the LEC we will need to understand the implications on the operations, facilities and volunteers of our club. The club will need the support of all playing members, parents and supporters to achieve the best outcome.

Our club has existed for over 80 years and has been built on qualities of selfless volunteering, good management, investment in junior recruitment and development and providing an environment that gives everyone an opportunity to contribute and achieve. These qualities will place us well to continue to be a leading club within the Hockey Victoria community.

If you have any questions or want to discuss the League Entry Criteria, I encourage you to contact myself or any Board member.

Go A’s

David Burns