Hockey New Zealand Community Awards 2021 – Finalists

The 2021 Hockey New Zealand Community Award winners are soon to be announced, and North Harbour is in great contention to take out a number of categories! We would like to acknowledge these amazing individuals and the individuals that supported NHHA in 2021, to make hockey happen. Continue reading to find out the contenders! Good luck to all!

Sky Sport Young Person of the Year Finalists: Darroch George-Bodle

You may know Darroch as our Junior Umpire Coordinator. On Monday & Tuesday evenings Darroch can be found on the side of the hockey turf, coordinating the Umpire Coaches, and offering coaching and support for our youth umpires themselves. The position was also responsible for completing over 50 weekly umpire appointments, as well as designing and delivery of umpire workshops to inspire and educate our youth umpires.

After a successful winter season, Darroch continued his passion for coaching as an NHHA umpire coach AND a volunteer player-coach for his Takapuna team, in the NHHA Summer Youth Grade Competition.

Alongside his coaching, Darroch has also established his own umpiring career. In 2021 he was a regular Premier Secondary School Umpire and advanced to umpire in the Open Men’s Division 1 Club competition. If the lockdown hadn’t stopped numerous tournaments, Darroch would likely have been a U16 Cub’s & Hawks Northern Region Tournament umpire as well.

Among all these, Darroch played in the North Harbour 2021 U18 Boys team and in the premier teams at Takapuna Hockey Club.

To add even more, Darroch’s contribution to hockey was recognised earlier in 2021 when he was awarded the 2021 Alan Lints Scholarship, supported by the Hockey Foundation.

North Harbour is extremely proud of your achievements Darroch and is lucky that you call North Harbour home (Literally – we know when the turf becomes your second home when the function room is booked out for you to complete a quick university test in between training!).

Sky Sport Young Person of the Year Finalists  Paige Blake

For a young person, Paige’s values & achievements are of an outstanding level and truly reflective of the award criteria and the values of NHHA. She is an honest person with the special ability to develop relationships with anyone she connects with. Always with a positive attitude to support, she has a tremendous work ethic to do well in all areas of hockey.

Paige coached in almost all of the programme opportunities on offer at our association in 2021. She was also a volunteer player-coach of the Takapuna Hockey Club Youth Grade teams, as well as a coach of a Junior Westlake Girls team and coach mentor for the next tier of student coaches.

We would also like to thank Paige for her willingness to support NHHA throughout the lockdown last year. Paige volunteered as a Bio-security Officer, to help NHHA manage the gathering restrictions, as we returned to hockey. At the last minute and with no hesitation, she volunteered to assist NHHA with an urgent uniform stocktake and coached in several Outdoor Exercise Class sessions.

Among all that she does to give back to our sport, Paige also had great successes within her playing career in 2021. Paige captained the North Harbour Under 18’s Girl’s side to be National Champions, while also co-captaining the Westlake Girls first XI team to be North Harbour Competition Champions. Paige was also selected as part of the New Zealand Under 18 squad for 2021.

Community Umpire of the Year: Michael Marychurch

Michael has given countless hours of his time to support our Harbour umpires. For a number of years now, Mike has been found coaching on the side of the turf 4-5 days a week, including most of his weekends, and working behind the scenes on our Umpires & Officials Exec. Committee.

As if that wasn’t enough, throughout 2021 Mike took his support for umpire development to a new level, exercising his leadership qualities through the highlights below.

He led the Secondary School Grade 2 Umpiring pilot project (supported by the Hockey Foundation). Where parents, coaches, and umpires were dependent on him for weekly appointments and as the first point of call for queries, feedback, and guidance. His success contributed largely to the retainment of youth umpires along this transitional and crucial part of the umpire pathway.

Mike also played a pivotal role in the conversation about umpire welfare at North Harbour. Presenting to our Umpires & Officials Committee as well as our Council of Clubs, Mike identified key statistics on Team Orange’s high serviceability to the game and the impact this can have on mental and physical performance. Mike’s ability to understand and lead change resulted in a new policy for umpire welfare in 2021.

Michael is also hugely successful in his own umpiring career, as an identified Performance Network Umpire in 2021. His experience at the top level has enhanced his knowledge but it is his willingness to pass that knowledge on is also an invaluable skill and attribute Mike holds too.

Community Initiative of the Year: Outdoor Hockey Exercise Classes

This initiative was a response to the lockdown imposed on Auckland in the later part of 2021. We would like to take this moment to share with our community the process of making it happen and thank every coach, volunteer, and parent for supporting NHHA throughout this uncertain time.

Just before lockdown hit, we had several youth programmes running and were due to start our adult development range. Our staff quickly redesigned all programmes to become Outdoor Hockey Exercise Classes when Level 3 Step 1 allowed. We had groups of 8 participants and each participant and 1/8 of an area and their equipment necessary to train.

We delivered a mammoth 270 hours of hockey during the October school holidays. We had to shape all sessions to meet covid protocols and were thrilled that so many of our community members put their faith in us and enjoyed the session.

We knew that people would like to be back on the turf, and we were overwhelmed by the heartfelt messages we received from our community which confirmed we were helping our whanau throughout this period. We were pleased to aid in providing a sense of relief and offer connection for many who were stressed and/or feeling isolated.

The positive feedback we received from our members was truly appreciated to make all our staff feel like the effort, long hours, and testing conditions were worth it.

This initiative truly reflects the Harbour Hockey community. We thank every participant for supporting the programme and for the perseverance, patience, and enthusiasm of the individuals that made hockey happen again. This really would not have been achievable without the backing from our whanau.