[img_assist|nid=3520|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=180|height=119]The world number one men’s hockey team Australia has secured its first major sponsor in two decades.
Leading iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group has backed the Kookaburras for the next two years, to ensure the team remains the benchmark of international competition.
Hockey Australia chief executive Mark Anderson announced today’s signing as a tremendous vote of confidence and a significant boost for the athletes and team.
“The Kookaburras are the world number one team and there is no doubt high expectations will follow them when they perform on the sporting world’s biggest stage. This announcement is a significant boost for the team in what is a huge year, culminating in the Champions Trophy, held in Melbourne in December 2012,” he said.
“The confidence Fortescue has shown in our players is greatly appreciated and we hope we can continue to reward them with on-field success, as we build a partnership over the coming years.”
Fortescue CEO Nev Power said he was delighted to welcome the Kookaburras into the “Fortescue Family” because they were two Australian organisations which shared a strong culture of success through teamwork.
“Fortescue’s most important value is that we are a family so it’s tremendous to bring the world’s best hockey team, the Kookaburras, into our family,” said Mr Power, who presented the players and coach Ric Charlesworth with their Fortescue Family caps today.
“This is about bringing together two iconic Australian brands with a shared focus on high performance, teamwork, well-being and resilience.
“Hockey has always been a very important part of the Australian sporting landscape and this partnership gives the Fortescue Family in Perth and the Pilbara the opportunity to cheer on the Kookaburras.”
While sponsors have backed the Kookaburras at individual major tournaments in the past, there has rarely been a sponsorship of the team itself.
Fortescue, the fourth largest iron ore producer in the world, also sponsors Hockey Australia’s National Indigenous program and has gone above and beyond in their support, which has greatly benefited indigenous youth, particularly in the Pilbara.
Indigenous athletes and Kookaburra’s champions, Des Abbott and Joel Carroll are the program’s ambassadors.
The Kookaburras are also excited to be closely involved in the Fortescue learning and development program this year.
Fortescue staff will also be actively involved in all aspects of the program, which ranges from participation in hockey clinics, to employment opportunities for national team members.