"My progression into the Kookaburras squad came quite unexpectedly."
Josh joined #teamritual back in 2018 and we are delighted he has just renewed his contract until 2024. Josh is a defender for the the Australian mens hockey team- the Kookaburras and is currently training for Tokyo 2021. We caught up with Josh to discuss his journey to the Kookaburras and what life looks like in Australia amidst the global pandemic.
My name is Joshua Beltz, #10, a defender, and the 411th member of the Australian Men’s Hockey team, the Kookaburras.
I come from Hobart, Tasmania.
‘Tassie’, as it’s known, is an Island off the south coast of the Australian mainland, with a population of roughly 500,000 people. I grew up there, playing my hockey for Diamondbacks HC (formerly Price of Wales Wellington HC).
My family are heavily involved within the Tasmanian hockey community, and from a young age my weekends were spent pretty much entirely at the hockey centre. I played hockey as soon as I could hold a stick, and my love of the game has only grown from there.
Joining the Kookaburras
Looking back now, my progression into the Kookaburras squad came quite unexpectedly. In 2014, I was lucky enough to be involved in some special moments, which contributed to where I am today. The start of that year involved my first ever national junior camp, where I got a feel for the speed and pace of the game, and how much I had to learn. I was coming off a long injury break, which sidelined me for most of the previous year, so my expectations were quite low. I was just happy to be involved.
Towards the end of 2014, I competed in the Australian Hockey League, where the best players from around Australia go up against each other in a two-week tournament, representing their home states. Tassie managed to win that tournament for the first time in the state’s history, and after some solid performances, a few weeks later I was offered a spot in the Australia-A camp. A lot has happened since then, but that tournament is one that I’m still so proud of. It was one of the big reasons I was able to represent Australia.
I’ve been living in Perth, on the west coast of Australia, since I first made the Kookaburras squad in 2015. I play for Hale in the club competition here. I’m incredibly lucky to have my girlfriend, Hilary, and my brother, Hayden, here in Perth. Along with the many great people I’ve met along the way , they make me feel comfortable here.
Impact of Covid-19
"I hope to experience tournament life again"
With everything that’s been going on in the world the last 18 months, I’ve cherished what I do even more. Of course I miss the tournaments and trips overseas, they’re the source of some of my fondest memories with great mates.
There will come a time where those things start back up, and I hope I’m able to experience tournament life again. But in the meantime, I’m grateful to still be able to do what I love. The lack of international matches has been unusual and different, and resulted in lots of training. But in a time where there so many uncertainties, the fact I’m able to wake up, train with the Kookaburras, and then enjoy a coffee afterwards with my best mates makes me feel extremely fortunate.
Josh Beltz, 2021