A while ago I talked at length about my vision for a brand new Australian based domestic field hockey league, that would take our game into the professional era and put a game back into the public eye after years of fade away.
Well just this week the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced there exciting new Hockey Pro League, which will be played between 9 nations in Men and women's across 6 months starting in 2019, in an home and away format. This is a fantastic concept and takes the great game that I am passionate about to the next level. So with this I thought that it was time to revisit the idea of a domestic competition here in Australia to start in the same year as the Hockey Pro League.
I believe that this competition should now not replace the current Australian Hockey League, that should remain, but revert back to being called the Australian Open National Hockey Championships, and instead this new league should be a seperate competition in addition to this.
So what structure would this new league take on, well it is my view that it needs to be franchised based and like we are seeing with Netball, links need to be formed with National Rugby League Clubs and Australia Football League Clubs. So this is what I am proposing-
2 x Western Australian Based franchise
1 x South Australian Based franchise
2 x Victorian Based Franchises
2 x New South Wales Based Franchises
1 x Tasmanian Based frnachise
1 x ACT Based Franchise
2 x Qld Based Franchises
1 x NT Based franchise
Now under this format that makes 12 teams with the bigger hockey states have 2 franchises each, and I would propose that 1 of those 2 franchise be based in a Major country region e.g, Bunbury. These teams would then play 21 games with 11 home games and 11 away games before a final playoff series to be held at the home turf of the team that finishes on top, over 1 weekend, this would be called a Hockey showcase.
The competition would also have some rule tweaks to make the game more exciting, some ideas I propose are-
1. Field goals are worth 2 and penalty corners are worth 1.
2. Each team has 2 power play periods of 2 minutes in each game, where goals will double.
3. Games will be broken up into 4 x 10 minute quarters, with 2 minute breaks at 1/4 time and 3/4 time and a 10 minute break at half time, where local juniors will be showcased in some form.