Former Kookaburras midfielder Kiel Brown was welcomed to Canberra by a thick layer of smoke, a hailstorm and a dented car.
The 36-year-old Olympian and his family moved to the capital from Western Australia in January, finding themselves in the middle of Canberra's first state of emergency in 17 years.
And just when the wild couple of months seemed over, the coronavirus struck.
"It didn't start too well for us and the coronavirus has made a huge impact on everyone really. But it's been a tough one for sure," Brown said.
It may have been a rough start to Brown's life in Canberra but now he has the return of Hockey ACT's Capital League to look forward to.
It's one of the first senior competitions to resume after the coronavirus-forced shutdown, with round one set to kick off on Friday night.
Brown, a 173-capped Kookaburra, has been back training with his new club United for the past four weeks and is excited to finally make his Capital League debut.
United will launch their 2020 campaign against St Patrick's at Lyneham on Saturday afternoon, while Old Canberrans meet Goulburn on the adjacent field.
"For me, I'm really excited to start and looking forward to rejoining the hockey community," Brown said.
"I think sport is such a great thing for people at the moment. I don't pretend I haven't had the roughest start to the year, I know there's families who have had worse experiences with the bushfires and now coronavirus.
"Having sport and places where people can come together and not only enjoy the sport but the company of others, that's such an exciting thing. For our sport to get back up and running this weekend is just awesome.
"I'm looking forward to playing the full season but I'm getting older now so no guarantee I won't get injured. Getting back out there and playing regularly is nice as well."
The men's division will launch with a grand final rematch between Central and Wests on Friday night, with the former club also boasting a new international recruit.
Like Brown, former Kookaburra Ben Craig moved to the capital for work earlier this year and is excited for the Capital League's return.
Craig, capped 21 times by Australia, hails from Sydney but has spent the past 18 months playing hockey in the Netherlands.
He missed playing hockey during the coronavirus-forced shutdown and took a ball home from training to practice, making sure he's ready to step up for his new team's grudge match in round one.
"Since I arrived in Canberra, I've heard a lot about this Central-Wests rivalry. So although we don't know about how [round one] is going to feel or look like, we definitely know once the game gets going it will be another classic Central-Wests game," Craig said.
"I think it's going to be a little bit different because there might be more motivation and excitement considering what we've been through the last few months. It will be a unique chapter in that rivalry but I'm keen to see it and lucky to be a part of it."
ANU are scheduled to play Albury in round one, but the latter club could be forced to withdraw from the season due to the closure of NSW and Victoria's border.
The women's side has already pulled out of the Capital League competition and Hockey ACT boss Rob Sheekey says the men's team could follow in light of Victoria's spike in coronavirus cases.
"We've got to look after the health of the broader public and we had some concerns with people from Albury coming up here," Sheekey said.
"It was going to create a greater risk and we don't want to create a risk for the community.
"The NSW government's decision [on Wednesday] took it out of our hands and we've ultimately got to make sure everyone is healthy.
"Starting the season is one thing, but finishing is another. It's probably, in the greater scheme of things, not a bad decision for our overall competitions."
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
The return of Hockey ACT's competitions have not been delayed by the government's pause on the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Canberra had been preparing to enter stage three of restrictions on Friday, but the emergence of four new cases in the territory this week has forced the government to delay those plans by at least two weeks.
It means this weekend's hockey fixtures will be played with no crowds and current protocols will continue to be applied. Players will have to enter and exit the facility at certain areas, nor allowed to stay and watch other matches.
"We've been through a hard time and we're relieved to get the game underway," Sheekey said.
"People are keen to get back to normality in their everyday lives and that's what community sport offers.
"Capital League teams are certainly looking for wins, but for the majority of our members it's that social interaction, getting out and staying fit and healthy.
"We're relieved to offer them to play the sport they love in 2020, for most of the year it looked like it wouldn't be possible."
Junior competitions and participation programs will commence on July 23, in line with the resumption of school term three.
CAPITAL LEAGUE ROUND ONE
- Friday: Wests v Central at 6pm
- Saturday: ANU v Albury* at 2pm, Old Canberrans v Goulburn at 3.30pm, United v St Patrick's at 1.45pm
- Friday: UC v United at 7.30pm
- Saturday: Central v ANU at 12.30pm, Old Canberrans v St Patrick's at 2pm
- Sunday: North Canberra v Tuggeranong at 2pm