HOCKEY is set for a shake-up with two WA Premier League clubs to trial a new format in anticipation of a revamped national domestic competition.
Melville City and Westside Wolves will be the first clubs in the WA to test the concept when they take the field at Perth Hockey Stadium on March 9.
Under changes to make the game more exciting, two players will be anchored to their attacking 50 yards at all time, an automatic one-on-one scoring opportunity against the goalkeeper will be given after a field goal is scored, and a goal will be worth double during power-play periods.
A mixed 9s competition – which calls for a minimum of four players of each gender to be on the pitch at any one time – will also be trialled.
Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier said the focus was on a fast game with strong fan appeal.
“The sporting landscape is changing rapidly at the moment,” he said.
“Spectators have so many great options and as a result, much higher expectations when it comes to the game-day experience.
“Commercial partners too operate in a new environment with changing success measures.
“We need to make sure that hockey is competitive, innovative and delivers high profile events that help grow our sport.
“We have a really unique opportunity to launch a new version of the Australian Hockey League (AHL) and we want to get it right.”
Hockey Australia will use trials across the country to inform the final product, with an announcement on the future of the AHL expected by the end of the month.