Gold Service Award Winners Named

Gold Service Award recipients named

To continue the virtual recognition of our 2019 Hockey New Zealand Awards, today we are announcing the recipients of our Gold Service Awards.

The recipients of the Gold Service Award have contributed more than 25 years of service to hockey in a variety of ways and have been nominated by their respective associations.

We are pleased to announce that eleven individuals have become recipients of the Gold Service Award for the year 2019; Sylvia Breen (North Harbour), Gary Fraser (Hockey New Zealand / North Harbour), Neil McCorkindale (Auckland), Will McPhail (Manawatu), Kevin McPheat (North Harbour), Paul Morrison (North Harbour), Robyn Neil (Auckland), Danella Rennie (Wellington), Dave Wigmore (Auckland), Derek Wilshere (Wellington), Chris Leslie (Hockey New Zealand / Canterbury)

Below you will find an outline of what they have contributed to hockey over the past 25+ years, and we would like to thank them for all their hard work to make hockey happen around the country.

Sylvia Breen has dedicated her life to giving back to Hockey.

In 2016, Sylvia formed a stable, hockey-focussed committee at Takapuna Grammar School (TGS). This has a parent as Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and advisors/workers to help support the delivery and focus of hockey at TGS. This committee educates students about the pride they should take in being part of the hockey teams at the school and leading by example. It’s also allowed for the creation of a sustainable coaching system and understanding for students about the importance of giving back. In 2019/2020 they had 8 students coaching primary school teams and 5 umpiring primary matches. This is just one example of the kind of work that Sylvia has been involved in in the Harbour community.

Sylvia has a passion for learning and for creating safe environments that allow for exploration. She is kind and always one to show her gratitude towards those that support her. One of the most selfless individuals you could find, always putting others needs before hers, she never expects anything in return. Sylvia has gone about her work in the North Harbour hockey community quietly over the years and has enjoyed seeing individuals grow. She’s a quiet leader whose supportive nature and belief in players has seen her have a memorable impact on a number of our community members. She has created quite the legacy for herself.

Gary Fraser is someone that you will often see around the hockey turf during a Vantage Black Sticks test match or even the local Ford NHL tournament. He has liaised with several visiting teams over the years and is involved in all areas of trying to help Hockey New Zealand run its events and tournaments. Some may say he is a man of many talents and an all-round good guy. In our eyes, he is a Superstar Volunteer!

Hockey NZ Events Manager, Richard Palmer, has worked with Gary over the last 7 years at numerous Hockey NZ events and says “Gary is a people person who goes out of his way to assist others and make their hockey experience at all levels easy and enjoyable. Gary’s assistance to us manifests itself in many forms – Meeting International teams at airports at any time of the day or night, driving equipment to and from venues, picking up product and equipment, putting up signage, taking care of ice baths, manning posts such as parking or entry points when numbers are short – just to name a few of the areas he has helped out with in the past.”

He’s always smiling and ready to lend a hand. Nothing is too much trouble. No matter how menial the task it gets done quickly and efficiently.

All this in his own time, which is willingly and generously given with no thought or remuneration. His rapport with visiting teams is legendary and he quickly becomes their go-to person making their stay as simple and enjoyable as possible.

This rapport also extends to our staff and he has assisted most of us at some point. It is hard to imagine running an event without Gary being heavily involved.

Chris Leslie’s involvement with hockey started as a child playing in Timaru. He went on to play at representative level for New Zealand U21’s in 1980-82 and then was selected in the National Men’s Team from 1984-89. Chris did a bit of coaching as a player/coach but found his passion when he moved to Blenheim and started coaching for Marlborough in 1991. Chris has been heavily involved in hockey ever since, as a coach and in various other hockey roles at association and national level. He has coached club, representative age group and senior teams for Marlborough, Wellington and Canterbury. He has also coached Wellington, Central & Canterbury Women’s National Hockey League teams. Chris’ involvement at a national level for Hockey NZ includes:

  • His appointment as a Regional Development Manager between 1997-2004
  • Head Coach of the NZ University Women’s team in 1998
  • Assistant Coach for the NZ U21 men’s team in 1999
  • Head Coach for the NZ U18 Girls Camps from 2003-2005
  • Head Coach for the NZ U18 Boys Camp in 2006
  • Appointed as a Hockey NZ Regional High-Performance Coach for Central in 2005-06
  • Coach of the NZ Senior Academy team in 2003
  • Coach of the Junior Black Sticks Women’s team between 2004-2013
  • Assistant Coach for the Black Sticks women between 1998-2019
  • National Women’s Selector from 2001-2014 and in 2019

Neil McCorkindale has been an active umpire within the Auckland Hockey Association for 43 years. He began his umpiring career back in 1977 and worked his way through to the premier grade. McCorkindale was umpiring up until 2003 when he started utilising his experience to mentor new umpires coming through. He was also the Vice President of Auckland Hockey for over eight years and served on the umpires executive committee for 12 years. Neil is a selfless servant to the game, giving up his valuable time for many years through a variety of volunteer roles. He shines when dealing with difficult and sensitive issues and is awesome at defusing these problems before they arise.

Will McPahail started his association with hockey in 1964 as a 10-year-old in Manawatu. He was selected to play hatch cup in his first-year od playing hockey and would then represent Manawatu every year until 1972. Will has been running all junior, schools, club and summer hockey competitions for Hockey Manawatu. Will started umpiring in 1969 as the first-ever junior umpire in the local junior competition. 50 years later and he is still umpiring in the Association. Will goes out of his way to help others, makes hockey enjoyable and achieves memorable results in everything he does.

Kevin McPheat can often be seen around hockey in Ice Hockey jerseys, leaving you wondering if he has entered the wrong address in google maps. Fortunately for Harbour Hockey, this is not the case. Kevin was a member of their Senior Men’s team between 1992-1999. He was a premier club player for close to 20 years and was in the North Harbour Masters 40+ winning Team in 2011. Kevin was heavily involved in the foundation of the Ariel club, and the subsequent merger with East Coast Bays (ECB). He is a key board member, continuously searching for ways to improve Harbour Hockey’s service. He has been involved with ECB for over 20 years as a player and coach, most recently as the Premier Men’s Coach, and is a Life Member of ECB.

Paul Morrison has been a familiar face around Harbour Hockey over the past 25 years in his suit (for committee meetings) and the famous orange umpiring shirts. He has been on the Board from 2008 to 2016. As a player, Paul has featured in the North Harbour Masters Teams at the 40+ and 45+ level. He was also a team official for three years including 2013 when the team won the title. Paul has chaired and been a regular member of the North Harbour Umpire Division across the years sitting as a regular member from 2013 to 2016. He has Umpired at National Under 21, NHL and Masters Level and received the prestigious Marbrack Umpire Award in 2010 and 2011. Paul has contributed as a Senior Umpire Mentor for a number of years at North Harbour.

In recent years Paul has been a technical official at multiple events including a Four Nations Tournament in 2011 and the Oceania Youth Games Qualifiers in 2014.

His passion for the game is evident through his tremendous contribution to North Harbour Hockey for over 25 years and his passion is still displayed to those he comes across each day at Harbour.

Robyn Neil has been involved in hockey for her entire life to date, starting on the sidelines with her Dad who was one of the founding members along with Grant Chester’s Dad of the Roskill Eden Hockey Club in the late 1950s. Robyn played at club level in Auckland up to 1986. She was a founding member of the Somerville Women’s team in 1981. Robyn has also served and represented Auckland Hockey and Hockey New Zealand in the following capacities since the 1980s:

  • Member of the Auckland Hockey Supporters club in the 1980s at Hobson park
  • Current Auckland Hockey Board member and member since 2016
  • Black Sticks Women’s Manager at U21, U18, U23, and Black Sticks level (2013-current)
  • Heading up the reinstituted Auckland Hockey Supporters club since 2017 raising and donating thousands to rep players.
  • Auckland Hockey NHL, U21, U15’s Manager 2000’s – current

Danella Rennie has been involved in hockey in Wellington for 30 years, and her commitment is incredible and so critical to ensuring the success of the sport. Danella has worn so many hats for hockey, from sitting on the Wellington Judicial Council, umpire mentor, coach and president for Upper Hutt Hockey Club. Danella was elected as a club representative on the Board in 2016. She is a long-time member of the Wellington hockey community having just completed 30 years of playing for her club, Upper Hutt. She has been involved in all aspects of hockey over this time spending many years umpiring and mentoring umpires, she is currently involved in coaching and is part of the Judicial Council.

Dave Wigmore has been involved in hockey for the last 43 years starting in 1976 at the Hutt Hockey Club in Wellington. He comes from a hockey family too so it’s only natural that he’s been in it for so long. Dave moved to Auckland for University in 1983 and has been heavily involved since then serving both Auckland Hockey and 3 of the clubs (Somerville, University and Past Masters) in a 36 year period. Alongside playing at a club and representative level between 1993 and 2019, a period of 26 seasons, Dave co-coached the U15 Boys Auckland Rep team in 1998 and has also served Auckland Hockey in the following capacities:

  • Coach of the Auckland Men’s Development Squad in 2008
  • Auckland Hockey Board member since 2012
  • Chair of the Greater Auckland Hockey facilities working group since 2012
  • Chair of the Auckland Hockey Board since 2014
  • Member of the steering group responsible for the Colin Maiden Park turf project since 2012
  • Manager of the Boys Hatch Cup team since 2018
  • Hockey New Zealand Hockey Foundation Board Member since 2016
  • Auckland Hockey Masters Rep

Derek Wilshere has been giving his all to hockey for over 50 years. He is currently the president of the Wellington Hockey Association as well as Patron. As such he attends every Board meeting catching public transport across the city. His contribution and dogged optimism have been really important to support the Board and get the outcomes that Wellington Hockey needs. Derek still coaches every Wednesday, as well as being involved in several other areas of the sport. He is an all-round incredibly hard-working and inspiring man.

Posted on Friday, 16 October, 2020 | Community