Labradors, Kookaburras share skills at hockey clinic
Being coached by some of the country's best, including an Olympian, was a dream come true for some of the top young Northern Rivers hockey players on the weekend.
Even better, the majority of the visiting coaches play for Labrador, Brisbane's first grade back-to-back champions. and they recalled how they got their start playing in the region.
On March 13 and 14, 2021, the Ballina Hockey Club hosted hockey clinics at the Ballina Turf for kids from U11 to U13 and U15 to U18.
In the Labrador team were Olympic Kookaburra, Brent Livermore (originally from Grafton) and Commonwealth Games athlete Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah) along with top players Tyler Arundel formerly of Ballina, Luca Brown and Ethan White who played for Coraki, Cooper Stahl at East Lismore, Brad Hughes for Northern Star and Reece Gaddes at Grafton.
Ballina Hockey Club president Tony Meldrum said there were around 80 youngsters who attended.
"The first day was for the 11 to 13 years and the second day for to 15 to 18 years," he said.
"We had a really good coaching session too so we also benefited as a club."
Labrador Hockey Club team manager Dave Reardon said it was a very successful weekend for all concerned.
"We couldn't have asked for a better bunch of junior aspiring athletes who were well mannered, polite, motivated and who listened intently," he said.
"Some of the fantastic ability across the age ranges indicates why so many good athletes come from the North Coast and Far North coast region."
Reardon said the exemplary manners and enthusiasm of the participants were extremely encouraging and the friendship and cordiality extended to us by the Ballina Hockey Club was worthy of high praise.
"Well done to the Ballina Hocket Club's Shaun Arundel and Tony Meldrum and all the club members in the canteen and the barbecue and generally assisted us in anyway to feel welcome," he said.
"Just to add to the list of locals players who participated in the weekend include Joe Reardon who started his Minkey Hockey in Ballina and Blake and Dylan Wotherspoon from Murwillumbah and Brent Livermore and yours truly originally from Grafton.
"A special thanks also to Luke Tyne of our club who is an original Labrador junior who also came down to assist with the coaching for the weekend," Reardon said.
"We look forward to making this an annual event/