Hi fellow club members.
It is a great privilege for me to send you this note in the role of Avoca Club President. Avoca has been a core part of my formative years and my more recent return to hockey has been a fantastic and rewarding experience. I joined Avoca as an ambitious teenager keen to build on my short schoolboy international experience and immerse myself within a club to learn and grow. I happened to join a team growing in talent and with a pedigree that went on to be exceptional. Those glory days included 3 European championships, multiple cup and league successes as well and a bond with friends that has far outlived the on pitch achievements. The running of the club was not on any radar – it ‘just happened’ and I enjoyed it fully!
Fast forward a ‘few years’ and my two daughters started playing hockey. I ended up on the side lines and it didn’t take long before ‘crossing the white line’ again. I’ve been playing with the Men’s thirds for the past few years and have loved being back in the heart of the club. It’s a club that has gone through significant change and over the past 2 years I have been getting involved in every side of the club as Vice-President alongside the exceptionally talented Caroline Daly who recently passed over the chain of office. Recently Caroline was awarded Leinster Volunteer of the month – richly deserved recognition for the endless support and help which she generously shared across the club – high standards to follow.
I wanted to share these points to introduce myself and commit to you and all club members that I will do my best within this role and beyond. Hockey is growing and Avoca is part of this however we need to do this in a way that brings benefit to all members and their families. Success on the pitch is important yet success within your own club and attachment to it is critical. We all want Avoca HC to be something we are part of and proud of.
On the pitch
This weekend many teams returned to competitive matches and I’m sure like myself, many are feeling aches and pains after an over-enthusiastic return. Training was always a means to an end for me – important yet a warm up for match day which I have always loved! Fortunes in the Men’s and Women’s groups were successful ahead of a breath of Junior matches across so many junior teams on Sunday. It’s been brilliant to see and hear about the smiles and passion on show over the weekend. I am sure everyone loved it as much as I did.
At the end of May we held a wide ranging AGM which included an extensive update from our Committee representatives, noticeable award winners (congrats all) and took steps towards changes in our future operations. Despite missing out on so many games and training sessions, your committee has been working harder than ever to plan, adjust and plan again (and again!) to navigate through what has been an exceptional period for all our members. This time has also highlighted the importance of sport and community for all of us and the challenges have brought us closer together. The final piece of the AGM – a proposed change to our Club structure and formation brought healthy debate and an adjournment to incorporate feedback before a second meeting last week. While there was positive support for many of the proposed changes this was short of the 75% of members support required. The Board and Committee are now looking at how best we can provide information and guidance for club members so they can fully support these changes in the future. It’s been a great exercise and will only lead to a better future outcome for us and our club.
Avoca is run by an exceptional group of volunteers. Today’s committee and board would be the envy of many board room and the parents and club members who generously give of their time to support hockey and it’s development in our club are exceptional. I will not call out anyone (for fear of leaving anyone out!) but do want to say a big thank you for your contribution to our fellow members, our community and our club. Over the past years we have attempted to broaden this group so as to share the workload and continue to raise our standards. We have also invested in exceptional talent to run critical parts of our club – which I am sure you will agree is paying dividends across the club. In the coming weeks we will be running sessions to share more about your club and encourage you to join in.
Over the coming weeks we will continue to support our club members with a breath of ways to get involved and back to the game we all love. Summer hockey continues with some fantastic competitive matches to look forward to, juniors will wrap up before the summer break and volunteers will renew their energy and passion before the season ahead. We have a broad and diverse membership with a love for the game of hockey and together we will achieve exceptional results. We also have ambitious plans for the future of our club – outlined in our club member’s developed 5 year plan – and are working to exceed these both on and off the pitch. Exciting times ahead and I’m delighted to have so many on this adventure together.
Finally, I would love to hear from you on any topic – about your thoughts and ambitions for the future, areas you would like to help / contribute, ideas and suggestions as well as the things you love about your club. Today we are specifically looking to bring in a new Women’s Club Captain following Kate’s brilliant work – shout if you are interested in contributing here. As a husband, parent and busy with work commitments etc, volunteering at Avoca is rewarding yet there is never enough time in the day but as above, I commit to do my best.
Yours in sport,
Club President, Avoca HC