Exclusive: Hockey Australia’s New CEO, David Pryles
fter recently being announced as the new CEO of Hockey Australia, David Pryles spoke with Ministry of Sport about the challenges ahead for the organisation following the recent independent review.
Pryles most recently spent over three years as Softball Australia CEO, with an extensive background across major commercial leadership roles in the sporting industry.
His appointment comes after the departure of Matt Favier from the role following the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, after Favier led the organisation through an independent review which determined the organisation had a dysfunctional culture in its national women’s high performance program.
Speaking with Ministry of Sport, Pryles said the opportunity at Hockey Australia is great with the organisation preparing for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“I’m looking forward to building relationships with new stakeholders,” Pryles told Ministry of Sport.
“Hockey is a proud sport with a significant number of members.
“I’m keen to look at member benefits, ways to further commercialise the sport and also sink my teeth into the cultural review and build those relationships in high performance which will be exciting once we appoint a new high performance director.
“With a Commonwealth Games around the corner and Paris 2024 only two and a half years away it’s a great time to be involved in Australian hockey,” he said.
On the upcoming challenges and the hopes for the organisation going forward, Pryles said: “Ensuring we tick every box with regards to the cultural review because having gone through an independent review, we are going to be under the microscope to deliver.”
“To put it simply, [I hope] that we are a united group as a sport working hard for our members and ultimately winning gold medals at major tournaments.
“I’m a people person and I’m passionate about people.
“I want to grow hockey’s participation, develop our own people and be in a really good space where we win medals at the big events,” he said.
Discussing the appointment of Pryles, Hockey Australia president, Mel Woosnam, said: “Following a comprehensive and thorough recruitment process, we are extremely pleased to have someone of David’s calibre and expertise.”
“David has demonstrated success and leadership skills as a CEO for an Olympic sporting organisation and understands the landscape, the opportunities and challenges that come with it.
“He has a strong commercial background from previous sporting roles and previously in the business world.
“He also has a keen understanding of high performance and the critical importance of culture within a high performance environment, plus a real understanding of community sport and participation in developing the strength of hockey.
“He has operated in a federated model and already has existing contacts with many of Hockey Australia’s key national stakeholders such as the AIS, Sport Australia, and the AOC.
“David is an excellent acquisition to lead Hockey Australia,” Woosnam said.