President’s Report 2013/14

It is with a great sense of pride in our club and in the many wonderful people that make up our club that I present the President’s Report for 2013/14.

It has been another wonderful year on and off the field for Bentstix Hockey Club. The current executive committee was fortunate enough to take over the reigns at a time when the energy in the club was buzzing with the excitement of last year’s achievements.

Bentstix’s increased profile from the success of the teams last year presented a wonderful opportunity to grow as a club and welcome many new players to the club. This has been both exciting and challenging, but ultimately rewarding. It’s quite surreal to reflect on the new friendships and bonds made through playing hockey this year. No doubt there will be more bonding this evening as we celebrate the year that has been at our annual presentation dinner.

But before we get to the celebrations there’s a few people we need to thank. Our coaches Luke, Chris, Troy and Pete, and occasionally Lindsay and Dale. Our umpires – Lindsay and Leah. Our welcoming committee for new players – Luke and Gemma. The fund-raising committee members Brian, Matt and Sally, as well as the countless people who sold raffle tickets to colleagues, friends, casual acquaintances, complete strangers and family members, including pets. Together over the hockey season we raised through the raffle, the fund-raiser night and the team bus campaign an amazing $9,000 to position the club for the future and help cover the costs of pitch fees and equipment.

Thank you to everyone who pitched in. Every little bit makes a difference.

I would like to say a particular thanks to Kara, Lindsay, Brian, Sally and Brodie for their contribution to Bentstix this year. We’ve been very fortunate this year to have a very active executive with a diverse range of views and ideas. It’s been my absolute pleasure working Kara, Lindsay, Brian and Sally over the hockey season as a somewhat accidental club president (thanks Brodie). We’re really proud as a team of what the club has achieved over the past year and we hope that sentiment is shared within the club.

This year Bentstix experienced success both on and off the field. We lifted our social media presence and increased the profile of the club through Facebook, Twitter and through building on relationships with key media outlets such as SX, the Gay News Network, LOTL and the Star Observer.

We also announced a fee assistance fund to enable financially disadvantaged members to play hockey and we hope that this fund will continue many years into the future.

The executive has also drafted a new constitution, a member protection policy, codes of behaviour and administration policies for member consideration.

On the field we’ve also celebrated the success of the STIX Down Under boys who took London by storm with their gorgeous smiles and came away with Bronze at Pink Hockey, continuing our proud international traditions.

In their first season in division 3 the women took out the minor premiership and the major premiership. Natalie Stewart was judged best on ground in the grand final and Gemma Hartmann was awarded Eastern District’s best and fairest for division 3, as well as the Phoenix Medal for best and fairest for all grades of the competition.

Many new girls joined the division 4 team this year and embodied the stix spirit with their go-get-it attitude. In a de ja vu moment from the inaugural women’s season the Division 4 team missed out on finals by just one goal in a heart-breaking, nail-biting match. But what a transformation from the team that lined up on that rain-soaked pitch back in April still learning each other’s names!

Over in the SHA competition the boy lept up to division 5 and held their own in a tough competition, climbing their way up the ladder to just fall shy of the finals series. The boys should feel extremely proud of their performance on the field and we can see them gel-ing as a team further as we head into the 2015 season.

The division 8 team gave it a cracking shot this year and made it all the way to a grand final shoot out with their loved ones, family, friends, fellow club members and cheerleaders screaming their support from the sidelines. We’re very proud of the Bentstix boys and their achievement this year.

The crowds and support at the games this year have been amazing. I can still picture the crowds at the grand finals. We’re very fortunate to have many wonderful supporters for both our men’s and women’s teams. Our success as a club comes not only from hard work and camaraderie on the pitch, but from the wonderful support we receive from our loved ones, friends, family and fellow club members.

One of my favourite photos from this past year is of the Bentstix Men’s 8 boys standing arm in arm after winning their first final, showing off their rainbow socks with Don laughing in the middle. To me it embodies what our club is about. Not only were the boys on the pitch, drenched and laughing, but they’re standing there wearing the girls’ rainbow socks which we as a club collectively made happen in mere days.

I’d like to finish this reflection on the year that has been with the words of our Vice President Sally Whitney who captured the Stix spirit so well:

“Playing our hardest and being a part of the team on and off the field is what Bentstix Hockey Club is all about. Our ethos is to be welcoming no matter who you are, be supportive and encouraging no matter what your skill level, to work hard as a team no matter what the score, to be committed to the team no matter how hungover or tired you are, to be competitive no matter who we play, and no matter what, have fun and NEVER GIVE UP.

In our club, the measure of success is not in the trophies we win (although it feels soooo good), but in the fun we have, the skills we learn, the constant improvement as players, the positive support we give each other, the friends we make and in the competitive, fair nature in which we play hockey. We play not as individuals or for ourselves, but as a team and for each other.”

I look forward to seeing Bentstix Hockey Club continue to thrive over the coming year and wish the incoming executive committee members every success.

Emma Rogers

President, Bentstix Hockey Club