Media and the game: How a national field hockey player handles her team’s media relations

When she isn’t practising with the national team, Ali Lee works to promote it

Ali Lee packs more than sticks in her stick bag. The national women's field hockey team defender handles media relations for the team

Ali Lee packs more than sticks in her stick bag. The national women's field hockey team defender handles media relations for the team

When she isn’t practising with the national team, Ali Lee works to promote it

When it’s game time, Ali Lee does everything she can on the field to help Canada win.

After the game, win or lose, it’s her job to post the result on the national women’s field hockey team’s website, as well as to Twitter and Facebook.

She also handles media inquiries.

Lee’s been doing it all this week, pulling double duty as a player with Team B.C. Blue while handling her media relations duties as the face of the national field hockey championships at the University of Victoria. Before the tourney started on Wednesday she had already run through Victoria’s media gauntlet to raise awareness about the event. Add in post-game responsibilities and it can make for a heavy workload on game day.

“If I personally have a really hard game, I’m not in the mind state to put together a game report,” Lee said.

“But fans, (media) and sponsors (across Canada) don’t know what’s going on and we owe it to them to share what happened, so I have to cool down, get a shower and get back to the hotel.

“They want to know the good and the bad.”

The former Vikes star and St. Margaret’s School grad now lives in Vancouver where she trains full time with the national team.

It’s all part of the 24-year-old defender’s potential career in sports media (post hockey), a significant detour from the biochemistry degree she just completed at UVic.

“It’s about promoting field hockey and that’s what we need to do in this country,” she said. “Just from my own experience I’ve become interested in it. Field Hockey Canada asked if I wanted to help with the national championships (in Victoria) last year and this year I’ve taken the torch.”

Lee’s brought FHC up to speed with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and makes regular postings to the team’s website, www.field4dreams.ca.

When her days as an international player eventually come to a close, she plans to look at continuing her education in broadcast journalism or communications.

Of course, the current challenges for Lee go beyond suffering a tough loss. For the second year in a row, the senior nationals are being played in Victoria, a plus for the many hometown players.

But there’s always a backlash from hockey’s other hotspots, namely Alberta and Ontario, who want just as badly to see the nation’s best.

“It happens with the nationals at all age levels. People aren’t paid, all the work is volunteer work.

“We have that strong group in Victoria and UVic’s water-based, field hockey-only turf, one of a few in Canada, which is a major criterion for hosting the event.”

Playoffs for the nationals go all day Saturday (July 2). Women’s and men’s gold medal games at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, respectively.

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