Australian Hockey League begins today, Thundersticks and Diamonds face opening games

Aran Zalewski
Aran Zalewski

WA Thundersticks and Diamonds will play their first matches in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) tournament today at the Perth Hockey Stadium.

The Diamonds, a team bolstered by Maylands goalkeeper Aleisha Power and Olympian Kathryn Slattery will face the ACT.

The Thundersticks will also play the ACT on Thursday.

Hockey WA high performance manager Jason Butcher said it was difficult to prepare for the AHL due to club commitments.

“This year we have the added complications of the Olympics and also having just a four day gap before AHL starts from the League Grand Final date,” he said.

“So this year has certainly had its challenges…I think like most teams at this time of year because of club finals you are never 100 per cent; we’ve certainly got our share of things to manage.”

Butcher said the players were excited to play at home against international teams.

“A lot of the teams look very different this year so I think there will be a lot of unknowns about how the competition will settle,” he said.

“With the international teams, obviously they will be highly talented, but it will be interesting to see how they go in this competition.”

Butcher said the Thundersticks were looking forward to playing ACT.

“We play ACT (Lakers) and it looks like they’ve picked a really young team but the glimpses we’ve seen from some of their practice games this year shows that they are really well drilled and will be a quality opponent,” he said.