Flynn Ogilvie comes from a hockey-mad family. His sister Airlie represented the Australia national women’s team and his brothers, Kurt and Heath, both played for Australia in the 2015 Indoor Hockey World Cup. Flynn was part of the gold-medal winning Kookaburras team at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and will soon be heading to Bhubaneswar for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup.
While the challenge of defending their 2014 World Cup title is foremost in the minds of the Australian players, Ogilvie took a few moments to turn his attention to next year’s exciting inaugural FIH Pro League, which bursts into action in January 2019.
"We played the Dutch here earlier this year and we got some good crowds coming to watch that, so having eight matches against top opposition at home will be great.” Flynn Ogilvie, Australia
“Like a lot of guys in the squad, I was excited when I first heard about the FIH Pro League but that was tempered with a bit of scepticism about how it would work,” says the 25-year-old striker. “As we have learnt more about it, and how things are going to be managed, I am confident it is going to be a good experience. It will certainly be very interesting.”
Australia are sitting at the top of the FIH Hero World Rankings and are one of the most successful Australian men’s sports teams but hockey still has to fight for every bit of exposure in the sports mad country. This is an issue that Ogilvie feels will be helped by the advent of the regular Pro League match schedule.
“The FIH Pro League gives us and the game more exposure,” he says. “Everyone, particularly hockey people, will be able to watch high quality matches regularly for the first six months of the year, rather than there just being random events every so often.
“And it will be great to play more matches at home. There are a few Pro League games in Sydney so my friends and family will be able to come and watch. We played the Dutch here earlier this year and we got some good crowds coming to watch that, so having eight matches against top opposition at home will be great.”
Ogilvie acknowledges that the Pro League schedule may cause problems for athletes who also have jobs, but it is something he feels will be worked out as the league gets underway. He also says that financially there could be a strain on national associations, but again, these are issues that time and experience will resolve.
For the Kookaburra star, the prospect of travelling the world to play the sport he excels in is a dream come true. “It will be pretty cool to be travelling around to play the matches,’ he says with feigned nonchalance. "We normally just go to one spot and play a tournament. We will be jumping around, playing in a load of different countries, hopefully in front of big crowds, and that will make it really exciting.
“As a team, we always like a European tour but personally I am looking forward to going to Argentina as I haven’t been there before.” Australia’s first FIH Pro League match takes place on 2 February in Melbourne. It is the Netherlands who are rolling into town and it promises to be a hockey spectacular as both the men’s and women’s teams play on the same day, in the same venue.
For more information on the FIH Pro League, click here.