Hockey champ backs calls for fa­cil­i­ties

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Therese Col­man

An in­ter­na­tional gold-medal win­ning hockey cham­pion is back­ing the Mar­garet River Hockey Club to get its own fa­cil­i­ties.

Kook­aburra’s mid­fielder and for­mer Mar­garet River res­i­dent Aran Zalewski played for the lo­cal club in his ju­nior years and said com­mu­nity sport drove him into his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer.

The Mar­garet River Hockey Club has roots back as far as the 1930s, but has no lo­cal clu­b­rooms or pitch.

Club president Colin Fox said play­ers trav­elled to Bus­sel­ton mul­ti­ple times a week for train­ing and games, but it was af­fect­ing the club’s de­vel­op­ment.

“We used to have a grass field in the past, which soc­cer and rugby now oc­cupy,” he said.

Hockey was re­cently flagged for in­clu­sion in the $1.1 mil­lion rede­vel­op­ment of Glouces­ter Park’s Lower Western oval.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we can­not share a grass pitch with these sports as their stud­ded footwear makes the sur­face too un­even for a hockey ball,” Mr Fox said.

Zalewski, who re­cently co-cap­tained the Aus­tralian team to win their 15th Hockey Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in the Nether­lands, said a lo­cal hockey pitch was es­sen­tial.

“I think it’s very im­por­tant for any sort of suc­cess mov­ing for­ward,” he said. “I grew up play­ing hockey in Mar­garet River as a ju­nior when the par­tic­i­pa­tion and com­pe­ti­tion was high.

“It def­i­nitely helped me en­joy my hockey more and hone my skills.

“The travel to Bus­sel­ton, Bun­bury or Perth to com­pete is dif­fi­cult for some peo­ple so hav­ing a fa­cil­ity close by would en­cour­age a lot more peo­ple to use this and get in­volved in hockey.”

The club is li­ais­ing with the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River to dis­cuss op­tions.

Visit mar­gare­triver­ au.

Pic­ture: Therese Col­man

Mar­garet River Hockey Club president Colin Fox and ju­nior co-or­di­na­tor Max­ine Wil­liams with Daisy the dog.

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