It all started when a few players who had played through another sporting organisation, came together to compete in an overseas competitions. The first of these overseas competitions was in Holland in 1998, and then Minneapolis in 2001.
On returning to Sydney, these players and their families founded the NSW PowerHockey Association, playing under the rules of the game known as Powerhockey. The NSW PowerHockey Association was granted associate membership of the NSW Sports Council for the Disabled, then known as D Sport. This enabled our association to come under the D Sport umbrella for insurance purposes and gave us access to D Sport's considerable expertise and guidance.
In 2002 and 2003 our PowerHockey association went from strength to strength. The association started with five enthusiastic players at Kevin Betts Stadium, Mount Druitt, and has since built player numbers to 27. The association now has a total membership of 38, which includes family and friends.
The first few years of competition saw three teams but now the local competition has now grown to five teams. These teams are the Hawks, the Hurricanes, the Mounties, the Rebels and the Sabres.
The PowerHockey Association decided to implement another change, which was to play under the Committee International Federation of Electric Wheelchair Hockey (CIF) rules. This would give players the opportunity for competition on an International level with European countries, who are strongly striving for electric wheelchair hockey to be represented in future Paralympic games.
In early 2003, the Powerhockey Association selected a team for the 2004 World Cup Hockey Competition, in Helsinki. Families and carers of the players set about raising funds for the team. This was accomplished by numerous sausage sizzles, chocolate drives, perfume parties and a huge dinner dance. Support was kindly given via D Sport and many wonderful sponsors.
In May 2004, the Association under went a name change to the Australian Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association (NSW) Inc. (AEWHA)
In June 2004, the 22 member Australian squad headed to Helsinki. Only three of the eight players had any previous overseas experience but having banked on the Australian spirit the players gave it their best and brought home a ranking of fourth in the world. Since the World Cup, there have been some important changes as well as a marked improvement in player skills and team play.
In 2005 the organisation known as D-Sport ceased operation and the New South Wales Government offered the member associations of D Sport the opportunity to be members of the New South Wales Sports Federation, which was kindly accepted.
As all this was taking place, the local competition was being evenly fought out. The four teams proved they were worthy of being a part of the competition. The play-off for third place was decided by penalties and the Grand Final went down to the wire, with a goal deciding the match in the final minute. Two great games confirming the 2005-2006 season to be clearly the best the Australian Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association has ever seen.
Looking Towards the Future
The association encourages continued awareness of the sport. This is achieved by organising or supporting events organised by other associations such as the Allambie Heights Spastic Centre, Northcott Disability Day and school sports carnivals. The aim is to one day establish regions.
Expanding the local competition is a priority; however the World Cup in Italy in 2010 is highly anticipated. This is part of the movement towards the Paralympics, which will help in catering for the aspirations of our hockey athletes.