David Pryles has been entrusted with making sure the Hockeyroos’ dramas of the past do not resurface after being appointed as Hockey Australia’s (HA) new chief executive.
- David Pryles joins the organisation after a stint as Softball Australia’s chief executive
- Matt Favier stood down as Hockey Australia chief executive earlier this year
- Hockey Australia went through an independent review into the culture of its women’s high-performance program
Pryles joins HA after serving almost four years as Softball Australia chief executive.
He replaces Matt Favier, who stood down as HA’s chief executive following the Tokyo Olympics.
Favier was forced to deal with several controversies involving the Hockeyroos during his tenure at HA.
Years of discontent within the Hockeyoos’ set-up reached boiling point late in 2020 when players publicly aired allegations of bullying.
HA eventually launched an independent review, which found that a dysfunctional culture existed within the national women’s high-performance program.
High-performance director Toni Cumpston had already fallen on her sword by that stage, and Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin quit just hours before the release of the report.
It left the Hockeyroos without a coach less than five months out from the Tokyo Olympics, with Katrina Powell thrust into the role on a short-term contract.
The Hockeyroos made a solid start to the Olympic tournament, before recording a shock 1-0 loss to India in the quarter-finals.
With Pryles now locked in as chief executive, HA will move its attention to appointing a full-time coach for the Hockeyroos, with Powell understood to be in the running.
“Building on the cultural review into the high-performance program is something that is exciting,” Pryles said in a statement.
“We are really proud of the changeover that we did in softball in changing our high-performance program less than 12 months out from a qualification event.
“There is a Commonwealth Games less than 12 months away and an Olympics two-and-a-half years away, so it’s really exciting being able to effect change.”
Pryles will start at HA on January 12.
HA president Melanie Woosnam will step down in November.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch, who guided the men’s hockey team to silver in Tokyo, is contracted for 2022.