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Up Close with Chad Burke

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Chad Burke, brilliant hockey player and academic really inspired me so deeply in this interview. A young man with profound integrity, solid core values and passionate about his sport, his community, his SA Nation, his family and his friends.  A deep thinker and thought leader, he is grateful and powerful in what he does on and off the field. Proudly one of SA’s sons with rooted purpose and intent make a things better for the future.

He says  “The person I am today was really shaped by my father, who enforced strict discipline onto me from a very young age. Any top sportsman needs discipline and a clear set of values which distinguishes what is right and wrong”.  Furthermore ” I would like to be characterized in the future as someone who is passionate about what I do, someone who is hard-working, someone who is a role-model, and someone who leaves a positive impact in whatever I do’.

Senior Mens IPT 2015


Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Chad Burke
Nick Name The Chad
Date of birth 1994/01/21
Place of birth Uitenhage, Eastern Cape
Current City Johannesburg
Height 1.74m
Weight 68kg
Shoe Size 8-10
Club University of Johannesburg
Coach’s Name Garreth Ewing
Secondary Sport/ sports Football, Cricket
Favorite City Cape Town
Favorite Song/ type of music Deep tech house, hip hop
Favorite Movie Coach Carter
Tertiary Inst Name/ Year University of Johannesburg – Third year
Tertiary degree/ diploma B.Com Intrapreneurship (Corporate Entrepreneurship)
Sponsors Currently negotiating
Twitter and Instagram Twitter and Instagram: @chadshane/chadshane
Parents Names, siblings Nicole and Sean. No siblings
USSA 2015, representing the University of Johannesburg

USSA 2015, representing the University of Johannesburg


Q: You are passionate and doing so well in your ­­­­­­­­Hockey, tell me a little bit about how you started in Hockey, and your journey up to now?

I’ve always been passionate about sport, and this started from a very young age. I was already playing competitive club cricket at the age of 7 against 9 year olds, where there is quite a vast developmental difference at those ages. I was also playing football during that period and those were my two favourite sports at that stage. I started playing hockey in grade 4 (age 10) after I saw one of the grade 7 boys (Brynn Cleak) playing it. At that stage, I had never heard of hockey before, and had no idea how it was even played. I watched a bit of Brynn playing at our school’s senior interhouse competition on that same day, and decided to give it a go the following day in the junior interhouse competition. Funny enough, Brynn and I eventually ended up playing together at UJ for the last three years. I originally played as a forward because I played in that position in football, and managed to score 5 goals in my first ever game playing hockey. I enjoyed the technical skill, pace, and similarities between football and hockey, and decided to pursue hockey as my third sport at that point. By the following year, I had made the district team. And the year after that, I made a provincial team. I was also ranked 3rd in the school for tennis and was the 2nd quickest in athletics, and I think the fact that sport came so naturally to me made the progression into hockey a seamless process.

 Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in Hockey, and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?

The highest accolade I’ve achieved in hockey is being a part of the UJ side that won the first installment of Men’s Varsity Cup Hockey Competition in 2014. Although I had played in the Southern Gauteng U21A side for three years, my highest/greatest accomplishment was playing in my first Senior Men’s provincial tournament in 2015, while still carrying the hip injury which eventually had to be operated on.

Chad with the Men’s University of Johannesburg Hockey Team - Varsity Hockey Champions 2014

Chad with the Men’s University of Johannesburg Hockey Team – Varsity Hockey Champions 2014

Q: Who are you? Describe yourself as a person.

I would describe myself as a passive person who mostly expresses myself on the sports field, in an environment where I am able to be more assertive. I am someone who values friendship, which is why I think I have always enjoyed team sports, where everyone is driven towards a common goal. I am someone who enjoys being around people, but also enjoys being on my own. And in most facets of my life, I try and look for a balance. I am someone who is driven and motivated to be at the top, and would more than anything – love to give back to my parents one day. Although I know I could never repay them for all that they have done for me, my aim is to try and give back as much as I possibly can.

 Q: You have just hit a difficult patch in their sports career, would you like to share a bit? What advice can you give other young athletes in this regard?

The last 12 months in my sporting career has certainly been the toughest up to date. It has been a period riddled by frustration, confusion, physical pain, as well as exercising a lot of patience. The fact that I visited various medical institutions without getting a very transparent answer about what was wrong, and instead – speculating on my injury, was very frustrating for me. The moment I discovered what my injury was, was bittersweet, as I finally had a definitive answer, but I was also worried because of the complexity of the operation, the cost of the operation, as well as the amount of time spent away from the astro turf. A bilateral FAI hip operation is a very complex operation in which I spent 4 and a half hours in theatre. It has been a very steep uphill journey, but one month into my recovery – I could finally see light at the end of the tunnel. The advice that I would give young sportsmen is to look after themselves in the best way possible, and to not take their time on the sports field for granted. Although some injuries aren’t avoidable (like mine) due to body composition, bone structure etc, there are potential injuries that can be avoided by proper stretching, managing your weight, correct exercising and breathing techniques, and understanding your limits. One never knows when it will be one’s last game, so my advice would be to not take one’s time on the sports field for granted, and realise how lucky one is to be doing the thing that one loves.

Q: In your opinion, how do you define success / greatness in life?

The topic of how success is defined is broad and can be interpreted in various ways by different people. Of course – to be the best in the world at something, or to break world records and win Olympic medals, or to own a business can be defined as success, but my definition of success/greatness is how someone is remembered and the long lasting impact that someone can have on people once he/she is no longer here. If people use/refer to your methods, characteristics, style, innovations etc in any facet of life, then you have left a lasting impact in the lives of others, and that is my definition of success.

USSA 2015, representing the University of Johannesburg

USSA 2015, representing the University of Johannesburg

Q: What do you do to relax?

Because of my club hockey, fitness sessions and compulsory gym sessions, provincial hockey, the various tournaments, coaching, as well as my studies, I often tend to experience burnout throughout the year. To relax, I mostly spend time with family and friends – those who I value the most, and can sit and talk to. My relaxation can be as simple as laying on the coach watching series, or downloading music, and can be best described as downtime. However, during the season there isn’t a lot of time available for relaxation or downtime, so I try and take advantage of it whenever I can.

Q: Tell me one thing about yourself that the world does not know 🙂?

Besides sports and studies, my goal is to travel and see as much of the world/ earth as I possibly can.

 Q: What was the best advice you were ever given?

The best advice I’ve been given was on the topic of self-discipline. Self-discipline is about putting in the extra hours by yourself and going that extra mile in order to perfect your skills and be better than your peers. It is about looking after yourself and your body, and putting in as much interest, research, additional skills and training, and effort into your field of work. The thing about self-discipline is that only you can control it and are responsible for it. Therefore, where you want to end up what you want to achieve is all in your own hands. Along with all the personal characteristics that can make someone successful, I think that self-discipline is by far the most important.

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

“A key to success is playing the hand you were dealt like it was the hand you wanted.”

 Q: What’s your WHY ?  

The reason I play hockey is because I love the sport, and sports in general. The thing that sets hockey apart from most sports is the speed at which it is played, and the speed at which the ball moves along with the intensity of the players – especially at the highest levels. My motivating factors are to play for my country one day, as well as play overseas professionally. I would like to see more focus and interest in hockey from those in power in South African sport. I would like South Africa to be a place where hockey can be pursued as a career, where players don’t have to pay for camps and travelling costs, and where a professional league is developed in order for SA players to thrive. My impact on the SA youth through my coaching and passion for the sport, is to encourage and ensure that as many of these youngsters pursue hockey after their completion of high school, and to not just quit or pursue other sports like most of these players do. I would also like to contribute to the development of hockey one day, whether it be a monetary contribution, my personal expertise, or in underprivileged communities where young kids aren’t exposed to hockey. There is a lot of undiscovered talent in South Africa, and not just in the suburbs or areas where astro turfs are available. I hope to discover these talents one day once I am done playing hockey, and hope to push these players to the highest possible level.

Coaching the Northcliff High School U15A boy’s hockey team

Coaching the Northcliff High School U15A boy’s hockey team

Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!


Hockey Home Interviews Sports

Fresh & Hungry: Carli Pretorius

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Meet brilliant young hockey player, Carli Pretorius, a learner at Menlopark High School. As team captain she has a deep wisdom and understanding for the game and leads with a lot of fervor and passion.  Carli says “I love being outdoors and will spend every possible second on the hockey field.  Although I practice long hours, my family and friends stay my number one priority. I am a very enthusiastic person and my friends never know where all the energy comes from. I believe that passion is the key to success and strive to be so passionate that my dreams become a reality”.


Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name& Surname Carli Pretorius
Nick Name Calli
Date of birth 1998-01-05
Place of birth Pretoria
Current City Pretoria
Height 1.68m
Weight 63kg
Shoe Size 6
Club Die Hoerskool Menlopark and Old Albanians
Coach’s Name Warren Sangster and Martyn van Zyl
Secondary Sports Athletics
Favorite City Cape Town
Favorite Song/ type of music I like all sorts of music but mostly uplifting music. I’m a big music lover.
Favorite Movie The Other Women
School & Grade Die Hoerskool Menlopark Grade 12
Sponsors TK Hockey

Facebook name


Facebook= Carli Pretorius

Parents Names, siblings Andries Pretorius , Elna Pretorius and my sister Andrea Pretorius



Q: You are passionate and doing so well in your ­­­­­­­­Hockey,  tell me a little bit about how you started in Hockey , and your journey up to now?

I started playing Hockey when I was 7 years old and I loved it ever since.


Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in Hockey and what is your greatest personal accomplishment? 

Being part of the U/17 South-African Squad is my highest accolade.  My greatest personal accomplishment is being selected for the Northern-Gauteng A -team for the 8th year in a row.

Q: Why do you have so much respect for your coach/es?

I believe that being a coach is one of the most difficult jobs to do. To get 16 different personalities to have one common vision and strive for one goal is next to impossible. I admire the way my coaches always motivate the team, even in the most difficult situations.


Q: What do you do to relax?

I like to eat sushi with friends or spend time with my family.

Q: Tell me one thing about yourself that the world does not know J?  

I have a BIG phobia for worms

Q: What was the best advice you were ever given?

My father once told me that being able to play hockey is merely an honour and not a right. Ever since, I play with a different mindset. I play with more passion and enthusiasm that is needed to succeed.

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

“I will not be stopped.”

Q: Favourite bible Verse?

Proverbs 16 : “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.”


Q: How do you currently manage to balance all the things in your life?

Time management is the ultimate key to a balanced life. I always keep my priorities in mind when managing my time as it is not always possible to do everything.

Q: What is your leadership style, being captain?

 There is a famous quote that reads,” If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and achieve more, then you are a leader.”  I live by this! I believe that the best leaders of all time inspire others through their actions and not necessarily their words.

Q: What’s your WHY ?  

Firstly I love to play hockey for the love of the game. I also enjoy being part of a team and experiencing every challenge as a team. All the good achievements as well as the hard fitness sessions. There’s a quote I like – it says “ do it with passion or not at all ” . I strive to be so passionate about the game that other players will also be inspired to give their best.


Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!

Thank you !!

NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.

Hockey Home Interviews Proudly South African Sports

Up-Close with Kurt Hensberg

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Kurt Hensberg, proudly SA and world class hockey player, and brilliant striker talks openly and with such deep passion and wisdom. He is such a wonderful inspiration and motivation for our SA Nation, our youth, and hockey lovers all around the globe. Kurt is a true game changer and has been nominated as the most influential goal scorer internationally and top goal scorer in SA at the men’s interprovincial champs. Kurt it is all about staying hungry for the game, having played in SA, Ireland and Australia. He is deeply purposeful, a rare quality that I would like to see in many more of our athletes. What I admire most about him is his drive and his passion to make his mark and leave a legacy of goodness, this is the heart of a true athlete “… to be recognized, not only for myself, but I want to be a reason why the sport grows, I want to be a hero to youngsters, the reason they pick up a hockey stick and want to be the best, I want to inspire people to believe and to hope”.


Photo Credits:  Sean Burke

Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Kurt Hensberg
Nick Name “H”
Date of birth 22 June 1990
Place of birth East London
Club Kovsies, YMCA Dublin, Canturbury HC (Aus)
Favorite City Dublin
Favorite Song/ type of music Anything soulful or to dance to
Favorite Movie Psychological thrillers
Tertiary Inst Name/ Year University of the Free State
Tertiary degree/ diploma Honors in Sport Science
Sponsors Help from Osaka
Twitter and Instagram, Facebook name @KurtAJHensberg – Twitter,

AlfredJohnHensberg – IG

Kurt Alfred John Hensberg – FB

Parents Names, siblings Parents: Mark and Jeanette, Brother: Brad



Q: You are passionate and doing so well in your Hockey tell me a little bit about how you started in Hockey and your journey in the Hockey arena up to now?

I was born into a hockey family, with my dad having played at various levels and going on to coach the national side at a stage. It was easy for me to get into the game with my dad putting a lot of time into the sport. School hockey started off as fun with friends, but I began wanting more form the sport, to become elite. These dreams fueled my high school career and I was fortunate to make various national schools teams. University hockey started off terribly during the first year, and after that we had a bunch of guys that stuck together for 4-5 years, inspiring a complete revolution at Kovsies. Personally, and on behalf of some of the guys in the team, we believed we were hard done by, not being selected for national squads more regularly despite consistently good performances. This disappointment possibly fueled our determination which helped us do so well. That team environment we were in was absolutely incredible and I have yet to see it in any other team. My personal game lifted immensely when I decided to play striker, where I made a name for myself as a goal scorer, instead of my usual defensive position. It was lifted to another in 2015 when I was fortunate enough to play for clubs in Dublin, Ireland, and Hobart, Australia, being named as an influential goal scorer at both clubs. The way you evolve as a player by adjusting to the different styles does wonders for your game. 2015 culminated in being awarded the top goal scorer at the men’s interprovincial tournament.

Q: Who are you?

As a person I believe I am loyal and honest, perhaps too honest. I like to give everything I have to what I want, being completely passionate about my interests, which results in debilitating disappointment or unrivaled elation. I would like to see myself as a more patient person in the future.

Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in Hockey and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?

My highest accolade would be, being awarded the top goal scorer of the 2015 men’s interprovincial tournament. As for my greatest personal accomplishment, it would definitely be the entire 2015 year, where I established myself as a goal scorer in 3 countries in one year. I am very proud of that.


Q: You have travelled outside SA before, what are you highlights of these travels, and what does travelling do for your mindset/ perspective on things?

Travelling overseas has been a real privilege. The highlights being the people I met and lifelong friends I made. Travelling to do beer and wine tastings, live shows, the many different pubs, and of course taking selfies with kangaroos. I did a lot of growing up while travelling, having to do a lot of things myself, with mom helping out here and there. My biggest realization is how big the world is, how many interesting people there are out there, and I was saddened by how many people won’t get to experience it all, and also how I was scraping the barrel to get to and from places. There is so much out there to experience and being stuck in one place seems a sad situation to me.

Q: Have you lived overseas for a season/ time period? Living away from home / travelling extensively is a sacrifice, in this situation, what does it feel like? 

I spent 5 months in the UK, followed by 2 weeks back home, and then 6 months is Australia. Living away from home for me was fairly easy, having left home for university. Of course missing Mom and Dad a little more than usual. It is a sacrifice, it’s a lot of time and energy, but when you feel passionately about something, you’re happy to do it. The sacrifices I made were completely overshadowed by the experience I gained, and what I learned about myself, and how I grew up. There is nothing that can compare to that.

Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education for our youth?

I could ramble on about my opinion on education, but to summarize it: educating yourself is the best thing you can do with your life, but the way we are educated is not adequate enough. There is no replacement for experience.


Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?

I have a complicated spiritual life. I follow no set religion, but take advice from my many friends of different religions and cultures. The conversations we would have as open minded people really kept us evolving our individual spirituality. Being in a positive frame of mind, thinking the right way and acting the right way does absolute wonders for your life and sport.

Q: What do you do to relax?

I am part of the gaming generation, so Xbox is high up on the list. Braaing with mates, working out in the gym, trying new foods, and playing putt-putt. I’m really good at putt-putt.

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

An Afrikaans friend of mine stumbled upon this quote while trying to say something else, he said: “We don’t sleep enough to live the dream”. We made jokes then, but it soon evolved. I love how it symbolizes that success doesn’t come easy, and once you are successful you have to keep at it to remain there.

Q: When you hit a “hard / difficult” patch in their sports career, what goes through your mind at that time? What advice can you give other young athletes in this regard?

At first there is a panic and sadness. As cliché as it sounds, the key is to remain in a positive frame of mind and focus on the processes to get back to where you should or want to be. For example, injury recovery should not be about moping about the injury, but focusing on the strengthening and rehabilitating of it. Ask what do I need to do? How do I do it? Have your end goal and place smaller goals to help you reach it, for example 10 pushups this week, 15 next week.


Q: In your opinion, how do you define success in life / how do you define a successful person?

I believe someone who is truly happy is successful. If you are doing what you love, and you smile at the end of the day and each morning when you wake up, then you are successful.

Q: What’s your WHY ?  Why do you do what you do? Also, looking into the future, what type of influence do you see yourself having on SA’s and our continent’s youth? What example would you like to set for the one’s coming after you?

There  are 2 sides to my why, firstly to be recognized, not only for myself, but I want to be a reason why the sport grows, I want to be a hero to youngsters, the reason they pick up a hockey stick and want to be the best, I want to inspire people to believe and to hope. Secondly, on a more personal note, there is a feeling I get when I’m on the field, a lot of athletes will tell you the same thing, it’s this kind of calm, quiet chaos, where I am completely focused on one thing, the game being played, there is no outside world, there is no outside problems, it is the definition of living in the moment, and time does not exist. That feeling is incredible.

Q: What is your message of encouragement to South African/ African  youth and our nation?

If you have a dream, do what you can to achieve it. Rather ‘struggle’ in life doing something you love, than be comfortable doing something you hate. You will find out a lot about who you are when chasing a dream, and experience more, and if you aren’t experiencing life, what are you living for.

Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!



Photo Credits:  Sean Burke

NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.

Hockey Home Proudly South African Sports

Meet the Coaches – Fabian Gregory

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Up-Close with Fabian Gregory today, proudly the Head Coach of the SA Men’s Hockey Team. He descends from a long and rich history of coaching and teaching, working with SA’s precious youth in sports and also through education. If you want to see the deep and inner spirit of a game, watch its players along with its coach. The coach bravely lays down his life for the players and the game, and he stands right up front in the line of fire to defend his team. He will rejoice and celebrate even a distance from the field, but his heart will be made clear by his actions in the booth. Fabian’s courage and commitment to putting the team first has earned him many accolades in the sports arena. No wonder his nick name is SuperFaya! A shout out to go and watch and support our SA National Hockey Team on 23 October as participate in the African Cup, which doubles as an Olympic qualifier – all the best boys!!! It will take place 23 October to 1 November. Lets go Team SA!

Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Fabian Gregory
Nick Name SuperFaya
Date of birth 02/08/73
Place of birth East London
Current City Durban
Favorite City Boston and Amsterdam too difficult to choose
Favorite Song/ type of music Anything upbeat and catchy. I love Maroon 5 and Coldplay
Favorite Movie Facing the Giants and Maya the Bee (enjoyed it with my son) both movies showing what the human spirit is capable of
Qualifications (Hockey/ other sports) I am also an accomplished Level 3 Cricket Coach



Q: You are proudly the head coach for the SA’s Men’s Hockey Team. You have a long and rich history of coaching and working with SA’s youth also through your vast experience in the Education field. Congrats! Tell me a little bit about your own / personal hockey / sports career / journey up to this point?

I am a teacher and taught for 13 years and I see coaching as an extension of teaching as I am still teaching/coaching players/youth. I achieved quite a lot in my own sports career but I feel my greatest achievements have been as a coach, simply because of the growth I have seen in players as well as the sense of accomplishment on player’s faces when they master skills or achieving individually and as a team. I will probably stay in coaching for a very long time but would like to invest more time at junior levels as I believe that this is the area that the biggest improvement can be made in technical skills.

Q: What was the last “big / important match” that the team played? What are your observations about these matches? Lessons learned?

We played in the world league 2 event in Cape Town in March and we finished a disappointing 4th. This was very hard to accept as we were the highest ranked team at the event. Major lesson learnt for me and the team was that we had to take more responsibility and be accountable for our actions on and off the field. Current mantra for me and the team is “the man in the mirror”

Q: What is your next big / important match / tournament coming up?

We have the African Cup coming up next month in Johannesburg which is also our Olympic qualifier.

Q: What is your motto as a leader of the Team and in general?

We all have a specific role and it is important that people/players are given room to grow and develop in this specific sphere. With this comes responsibility and accountability. Players enjoy the freedom to express themselves but shy away from accepting responsibility for their actions.

Q: What is your favorite part about coaching?

Seeing players grow not only in hockey but as people. Sport has the ability to grow people in a number of spheres. The interaction between coach and player is also a special relationship. As coach because of this interaction I also learn a lot about myself as a coach and the players I work with.

Q: Are you all work and no play with your hockey squad?

The players will say yes I am but I think there must be a balance with regard to rest and being able to recharge the batteries.

Q: If you could change a rule in Hockey, what would it be?

For me the penalty corner attack has too big an influence in matches.

Q: Besides your professional work as a coach – what do you have a passion for?

I am a sports fanatic and am very competitive. I am a true and proudly South African supporter. Myself I enjoy running and gym. For relaxation its golf but even there it’s a battle to win and get my handicap to a single figure.


Q: Tell me about what you like to do to relax?

Spending time with my son as he shows ability for sport at a very young age, golf and reading which I don’t do enough of.

Q: What word of motivation / tips do you have for young athletes?

Watch as much international hockey as possible and learn from it. Good international players are able to execute basic skills at speed and make good decisions in pressured situations. There are no short cuts so work hard all the time as it is about choices.

Q: When an athlete / team hits some “hard / difficult patch in their sports career, what advice can you give them in this regard?

Focus on the basic skills. In life things will go wrong but it’s important to focus on the small things that make big impact. The difference in sport is about doing the small things well and quicker than everybody else. Basic skills are the starting point and remain in focus when things are not going well. Hard or tough patches are just there to test your mental strength and your character. Your true strength will push you through this period.

Q: What are you reading at the moment?

Rereading a book called the winner within, the coach and raising talent.


Thank you so much Coach for taking this interview and for all that you do for our Precious Youth. We would like to wish you all the best for the future and for your plans ahead. Blessings!

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