To be a member of a Canberra Chill hockey team requires certain characteristics.
Apart from the obvious ability to play at a high level, players must have resilience and patience. After all, they have just persevered through two COVID-cancelled seasons.
Their last games took place in the opening season of the new look HockeyOne competition in 2019.
For the players it must seem like an eternity ago.
The second HockeyOne season will now take place three years after the first with the competition getting underway in late September. The Canberra Chill men’s and women’s teams won’t play their first game until October following a first round bye.
The women’s side includes Hockeyroos Edwina Bone and Kalindi Commerford, while Kookaburra veteran Andrew Charter is in the Chill men’s team.
There is also speculation about the recruitment of international players to bolster the Chill program.
As optimism takes over from fatigue and uncertainty, Hockey ACT CEO Rob Sheekey said he’s pleased the organisation has come through the other side.
“Financially it wasn’t too bad as we shut down the Chill franchise for the two COVID interrupted seasons,” he said.
“Keeping the athletes motivated was more of an issue as we haven’t been able to run the under 21s national and Chill programs.”
The ACT under 21s had two full training blocks before seeing the season cancelled because of COVID both times.
There were concerns of training burnout because effectively that is all the players were doing.
Now the under 21s are preparing to fly to Perth for the National Championships to be held from 20 to 27 July. At last they will get a game.
Though the Chill will have to wait a little longer, after two seasons out in the cold, they aren’t bothered by another couple of months.