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The New Zealand Men's Olympic Hockey team for the Paris 2024 Games has been announced, featuring Wellington Hockey's Dane Lett and Jake Smith in their second Olympic appearance, with Brad Read as a travelling reserve.

Hockey NZ

18 June 2024

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Registration has opened for the Adult Summer Hockey League. Grab your friends, work mates and family and enjoy hockey under the sun!

Open Grade Hockey

21 September 2023

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Registration has opened for the Masters Summer Hockey League.

Masters Hockey

21 September 2023

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On Friday 1st December 2023, WHA invited a number of guests, nominees and winners to the 2023 Wellington Hockey Awards. The evening was about celebrating the successs of our community and high level participants, volunteers, and supports. All the awards and the winners can be seen in the order they were presented below.


Acknowledgments

On behalf of WHA, we would like to acknowledge the Life Members, Board, and Volunteere who continue to support hockey in the region - we couldn't do it without you! We also want to take this moment to thank our sponsors and funding partners.


A huge thank you

The evening kicked off with a round of applause for our army of volunteers, our WHA support on-turf coaches/managers and members of the community who achieved national representative honours in 2023 in a host of roles.


We just want to say another huge, massive thank you to the volunteers across the region who are making hockey happen by supporting WHA in volunteer roles. You can see the list of volunteers who have supported programmes, events, and governance below - and we know there are hundreds more volunteers across the region but the list would be 40 pages long!!!


Congratulations

Wellington also had a number of players, coaches and umpires reach international honours throughout the year so there was a round of applause and appreciation for all the members of our WHA community and players who received call-ups and caps to represent New Zealand. These include:


New Zealand Indoor Hockey: Amy Robinson, Max Ruffell, Benedict Van Woerkom, and Matt Symonds

New Zealand Futures Programme: Matthew Crawford, Oliver Bowmar, Foy Kerkin, Cameron Neilson, Bjorn Dix (Coach), and Hemant Lala (Coach)

Junior Black Sticks: Katharine Kominik-Fraser, Katherine Winter, and Riana Pho

Black Sticks: Jacob Smith, Jordan Cohen, Dane Lett, Aniwaka Haumaha, and Riana Pho


and finally, not to be out done, our Masters Community had another stellar year with heaps of representative honours and call ups!


2023 Awards

Community Initiative Award

This can be awarded to a club individual in our community with a hockey initiative that aligns with WHA's values of a lifelong love of the sport by getting people out there experiencing hockey.

 

This year's winner takes hockey to kids who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to it. The programme is accessible and engaging taking hockey to many different groups of youth and offering coaching. There is also a focus on goal keeping skills and providing goalkeeping equipment to help players feel safe and support them to feel like they can perform at their best. This year's winner for the Community Initiative of the Year is the Youth Hockey Development Foundation.



Community Administrator Award

This is awarded to someone in our community who works to administer a great hockey experience. Behind every club or school are great administrators who work tirelessly in the background to get teams out on the turf. This could be a manager, secretary coordinator, committee member who goes above and beyond in our community. The nominees were Meena Vallabh (WISC), Bridget Lewis (Harbour City HC) and Alice Andersen (Karori Junior HC).


This winner is an amazing advocate for community involvement in junior hockey. As club convenor, she has been across the running of the club, tirelessly organising gear, arranging turfs to practice (in consideration of constraints for travel and availability of players from different schools) and arranging teams (in consideration of friendship groups, ranges of skills, experience, and car-pooling opportunities). She has been across the smallest detail to balance opportunities for players and maximise their experience of team sport. Nothing is ever a problem - she is helpful, knowledgeable and a massive cheerleader of anyone involved in hockey across our region. For someone who has not even had a child playing for the club for the last two years, she is the most tireless, relentlessly positive, and crucial person at the club. As this is her last year, she has created a structure for future committee members to easily pick up and run with. This year’s winner for the Community Administrator of the Year is Alice Andersen of Karori Junior Hockey Club.


Community Volunteer Award

This is awarded to someone in our community who gives back to make great hockey happen, someone who puts in the work in our local community that deserves recognition from either junior, secondary or club level. Our nominees are Sharon Marshall (Upper Hutt College), Arna Hannan (Heretaunga College), Nicky Colegate (Onslow College), Bridget Kerkin (WHA U18 Manager & Hutt United HC), Jane Hirst (Upper Hutt HC), Raph Coulon (Upper Hutt HC) and Geoff Coplon (YW Petone).


If it wasn’t for the enthusiasm and commitment to hockey from this winner, the sport would not exist at their college. She is at every training, drives the boys in the school van all over the Wellington region for games and will be there in the dugout every week in some adverse weather conditions encouraging the team regardless of the score. The college wanted to pass on their appreciation for the work that she does for their hockey boys and finished the nomination stating "People like her are the glue that keeps community sport together and functioning". This year’s winner for the Community Volunteer of the Year is Sharon Marshall, Upper Hutt College 1st XI Boys Team Manager.


Community Coach Award

This is awarded to someone in our community who lives the WHA value of lifelong love of our sport by passing on their knowledge and skills to continually growing the individualds, teams and the sport at the community level. Our nominees were Alex Ehlert, Angus Bowmar, Apera Akavi, Charlie Kerse, Deb Woolcott, Dylan Price, Greg Lee, Hieran Govind, Jordan Kramer, Leah Murphy , Levi Loudon, Max Ruffell, Samuel Davies and Scott Falconer


Our winner has a great coaching style and he has coached a very young team into the Open Grade competition. He has really helped them to play well as a team and to develop their game psychologically (and support each other) which has been important when playing teams with much older, more experienced players. Under his guidance his young team were not intimidated playing stronger sides and learnt to play to their strengths, he has never asked for anything back from the team other than hard work, dedication and a 'never give up' attitude. This year’s winner for the Community Coach of the Year is Hieran Govind of YW Petone.


Community Official Award

This is awarded to someone in our community who lives the WHA value of lifelong love of hockey by passing on their love for umpiring and growing officiating the sport at the community level. Our nominees were Tane Falconer, Stephen McLachlan and Kieran Wells


The winner of this award not only give up his time to umpire multiple games in a weekend but also attends games on Friday night to support our up-and-coming youth umpires. He has a supportive manner and works hard to bring out the best in other umpires. This year’s winner for the Community Official of the Year is Stephan McLachlan.


Governance Award

The WHA Governance Award is awarded annually to a person who has made a significant contribution to hockey in Wellington at the Governance level. This could be for WHA or for the wider Wellington Hockey community.

 

This year’s winner shows outstanding leadership around the Board table. He spends plenty of time with his fingers on the pulse of our association and the governance of it. He is solution focused and always available to provide guidance and support. Universally endorsed by the Board, the winner of the 2023 Wellington Hockey Governance Award is Kyle Pontifex.


Spirit of Masters Award

This annual award is given to a person who not only participates in Masters but gives back to the master's community, usually enjoying both the competitive side on field and equally the social side off-field.


This year our winner has spent several years on the Master Council and then the Masters Advisory group helping to organise the Wellington Masters teams that attend tournament. He is instrumental in ensuring that part of the Mens 60s team and has worked hard to encourage the growth in the local Masters community. This year’s winner for the Spirit of Masters award is Neville Parker.


Most Improved Youth Umpires

The next two awards are for the most improved Youth Umpires. The criteria being they are under the age of 20 at the start of the year and regularly officiate games on behalf of WHA.

 

The female winner this year is always willing to learn and get better and she has attended the Lower North Island Under 15 tournament for a second year running. This years most improved Female Youth Umpire is Ella Mullane.


The male winner always puts his hand up to help, he umpired his first P1 Open Grade game this year, attended the Under 16s tournament and umpired the P1 secondary school boys final here in Wellington. The most improved Male Youth Umpire is Gareth Locke.


Umpire of the Year

This award goes to our highest performing umpire in 2023.

 

This year’s winner has had a stellar year umpiring both the National U18 Girls Final in Auckland, and the NHC Tier 2 Women’s Final in Hamilton. She remains a member of the Hockey New Zealand Performance Panel and she was recently the winner of HNZ most promising female umpire of the year award. The 2023 Umpire of the Year is Lexie Etherington.


WHA Team of the Year

Our next two awards are for our highest performing Wellington Hockey representative team in 2023.

 

Representing the women this year, this hard-working winning team not only won goal that at their national tournament but defended their title earned in 2020.  This team also had 10 players and 2 team staff named in NZ teams for Trans-Tasman event held in May.  The Women's Team of the Year 2023 winner is the Over 35 Women’s Masters.


For the Male Team of the Year, this team also finished with a gold medal at National Tournament after winning the same title at the last tournament in 2020.  This team also have 8 Players and 2 team staff named in New Zealand. The Men's Team of the Year 2023 winner is the Over 60 Men’s Masters.


Coach of the Year

The WHA Coach of the Year is awarded to a person who is coaching a Wellington Hockey representative team and also deemed to have made a significant contribution. Whilst the teams success isn’t the determining factor, it is considered.

 

This worthy winner has a long coaching history across the Wellington region, she is dedicated, passionate and sets high standards for herself and her team.  This year she coached a Grade winning club team, a gold medal winning masters team and the New Masters 40 Women.  She has now committed to coaching not 1, but 2 Wellington Masters teams for tournament in February 2024. Finally, she has just been reappointed to coach the New Zealand 40s Women at the World Cup in South Africa. The Coach of the Year 2023 winner is Leah Murphy.


The Tom Fergusson Cup (Club of the Year)

The Tom Fergusson Cup, or Club of the Year award, is given to the Club who best embodies the spirit of community support and service to Wellington Hockey. They are well governed, have teams playing in multiple grades, engage positively with WHA staff, are solution focused and provide support to WHA programmes where needed. This years winner is the Upper Hutt Hockey Club.



Wellington Representive Player's Player of the Year Awards

These next four awards are selected by the players of their respective teams. The players themselves determine who was the best player in their campaign both on and off-field.

 

The Under 18 Girls Niniwa Roberts Medal is this year shared by Keira Noble-Shedlock and Nishka Parekh.


The Under 18 Boys Umesh Parag Medal is awarded to Matthew Crawford.


The Suzie Muirhead Medal for the NHC Women’s Players Player of the year goes to Saasha Marsters.


The Jack Tynan Medal for the NHC Men’s Players Player of the year goes to Dane Lett.


Female Player of the Year

This award encompasses their performances at both the community and performance levels of the game. They are role models, and we are extremely proud to call them ours.

 

Our female player of the year debuted for the Black Sticks against Great Britain during the Pro League tournament in Christchurch aged 17 and has now played 10 international matches, she is currently in Chile at the Junior World Cup, she played for the NHC Women, she wanted to but couldn’t play for WHA Under 18’s as she was coming back from the Pro League European leg AND consistently helps out with local coaching programmes and umpires’ summer hockey. Our Female Player of the Year is Rianna Pho.


Male Player of the Year

Our male player of the year played his 100th test at the FIH World Cup vs Chile, he captained the Black Sticks in the Pro League series against Great Britain and Australia, he captained the NHC Men’s Tier 1 team while coaching the NHC Men’s Tier 2 team, he was a winner of the inaurgual InterCity comp as a player/coach and he wasn’t in charge of nominations this year. Somehow a first-time winner of our Male Player of the Year is Dane Lett.


MVP Award

The MVP Award is given to a person who has gone above and beyond for hockey in Wellington. This could be a one-off exceptional contribution or a contribution over several years.


This year’s recipient manages the Northern United P1 Men’s Team, he has been a management committee member at NUHC for a number of years, he managed the new NHC Tier 2 Men’s Team, he is a trustee of the Wellington Regional Hockey Stadium Trust, he has previously been part of the umpiring community, and outside of Hockey, he is an advocate for the rainbow community and youth and has recently been appointed the Chair of Nuku Ora. His service to hockey is exceptional, and for that reason Sam French is the Wellington Hockey MVP for 2023.


Service Awards

Our first service award is for Jayne Winfield. 

Harbour City Hockey Club and Jayne Winfield go hand in hand. Jayne first joined Harbour City in 2000 and has been involved in all aspects of the club ever since. Jayne’s leadership has seen the growth in the club over the past 23 years including playing for multiple teams across her years and sometimes multiple teams in one season.


She coached the nearly every woman’s team in the club spending all weekend and every Tuesday night at the turf in some capacity, umpires numerous games and is a regular supporter of all Club teams. Jayne’s leadership and level-headed decision making has navigated several challenges the club has faced over the past few years and done so with grace and integrity.


Jayne works hard to maintain effective working relationship with WHA and other clubs for the betterment of Hockey across the Wellington Region and Harbour City just wouldn’t be the club it is today without the many hours that Jayne puts in.


Our second service award is for Nicola Colegate.

Nicky has been involved with Onslow Hockey Community for the past 9 years where she has coached and managed every year since 2015 for either the 2nd XI or 1st XI girls’ hockey teams. Sometimes, Nicky has done both roles for both teams when there were no other volunteers for the teams. Nicky is also a very highly valued member of the Onslow Hockey Volunteer group. During this time on the committee over the past 9 years, Nicky has been a chair, secretary and fundraising organiser in her time on this group.


Nicky has worked every year involved in the highs and lows of team selections for both the boys and girls teams, ensuring that the trial bibs are ready, venues are booked and independent selectors are available to help support coaches. From this selection process, Nicky helped set up a Whānau Day where all rangatahi and their whānau are invited to come along and have a bbq and fun meeting everyone in the community.


Nicky has been instrumental in managing teams with low numbers, working with our feeder schools and Wellington Hockey to ensure that the female numbers are still looked after and nourished and her commitment to hockey at Onslow has led to a very sustainable programme where our school values are promoted, supported and it now shows on and off the field. Nicky instils team camaraderie, encouragement and inclusivity in her teams and the overall hockey community and this is why our wahine continue to play at Onslow and are steadily growing in strengths of numbers and skills. Nicky's legacy will be having the girls 1st XI team challenge for a spot in the Premier Division in 2024.


Our final service award is for Allan Saunders. 

Allan Saunders have been regular feature in coaching across youth, men’s and women’s hockey team in the Hutt valley and wider wellington region with a record that includes

- Hutt Valley Boys rep teams

- Naenae Hockey Head Coach from 1998-2016 (including taking a men’s team to P1)

- Wainuiomata Womens Coach in 2017 and 2018

- Naenae Hockey Coach in 2019 and 2020


Since 2020, Allan has coached the Karori Mens P2 team and the Wellington Mens 45s team at National Tournament. Allan has also served as a President of Naenae hockey club between 2005 and 2012, and he has since been Mens Club Captain at Karori Hockey Club.

Further to this, he was made a life member of Naenae Hockey Club in 2012.


Allan also have contributed by running the tuck shop based at Fraser Park, referring numerous games, and facilitating a summer hockey league in the Hutt Valley, also some how finding the time to fit more sport in, Allan is also just as committed and passionate about Softball!

Community

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2 December 2023

WHA Awards Night

Making Great Hockey Happen
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