For the first time in its 50-year history, South Australia Underwater Hockey will send junior players interstate to compete in the Underwater Hockey National Championships.
Two junior teams, SA Under 19 and SA Under 15, will travel to the Gold Coast accompanied by the SA Masters team to compete against other states in the National competition from 4th to 9th July 2022.
“It’s a historical milestone for underwater hockey in S.A.,” says Mark Mooney, junior program manager for the SA Underwater Hockey Association.
“Our older players recall us scraping together a junior team once before, when we held the Nationals here in Adelaide in 2002. But until now, SA has never sent a junior team interstate to compete … let alone two teams!
It is a really exciting time for underwater hockey here in South Australia.”
Underwater hockey has been growing rapidly in SA in the last three years, especially among teenagers looking for something different from conventional sports. Being largely unknown, its popularity has been spread by word of mouth.
Some of the new players are the teenage children of existing players. Others heard about underwater hockey from friends and decided to give it a go.
“We are so grateful for the financial assistance from Sports Australia’s Local Sporting Champions grant. Without it, most of our juniors couldn’t afford to attend the competition,” said Ruth Harris, junior team manager and parent of two of the players.
Last year in the 2021 national championship, two talented SA players - Martin Quinn and Mike Harris - played for Queensland as there was no South Australian team. This year, the lads are Captain and Vice-Captain respectively of the SA U19 team. Both gave up the opportunity to play in a top interstate team to support their state.
Quoting his 2021 coach Sean Hartley (from the Cairns Crays) about the obscurity of the sport that has become his absolute passion, 16-year-old Mike Harris said:
“Underwater hockey is the greatest sport no-one's ever heard of.”
Media contact: Ruth Harris M: 0419 833 281 E: [email protected]
Interviews, photos, and video are available.
- Mark Mooney, Junior Program Manager and U15 coach;
- Elena Mooney U15 and U19 player and U15 team captain;
- Ruth Harris, Junior Team Manager.
SA U15 team (in water, L to R) – Espen Quinn, Megan Ningelgen, Lilka Pszczolinski, Katherine Davey, Elena Mooney, Nina Harris, Mark Mooney (coach), Jack Smit, Peter Ningelgen, Haakon Quinn
- SA U19 team (out of water) – Espen Quinn, Elena Mooney, Madison Rowe, Mike Harris, James Gulley, Isaak Campbell, Jack Smit, Martin Quinn
- SA underwater hockey players
- SA U19 players Martin Quinn vs James Gulley
- SA U15 players Elena Mooney and Jack Smit vs Catalina Perez
- SA U15 team vs. Masters team - clips from training camp (51 secs) - https://youtu.be/t9AM6ZWEDig
- SA U19 team vs. Masters Team – clips from training camp (48 secs) - https://youtu.be/Paudc-j7Wu0
- SA U15 team – play resulting in a goal being scored (42 secs) - https://youtu.be/aT8WdunnRNY
SA UWH is the representative body for players and clubs playing underwater hockey in South Australia.