Phil Gillanders has invested a massive amount of his time into helping grow the game of hockey at the Tauranga Hockey Association. So much so that in May of 2019 Phil was rewarded with the 2019 Volunteer of the Year award at the Hockey New Zealand Annual Awards Dinner.
In recent years Tauranga Hockey has seen an increased number of players at the junior hockey level which Phil has played a large part in. Last year he coached three different teams at primary and intermediate level as well as coaching the Tauranga Under 13 development team. Phil is down at the turf every Saturday morning setting up the turfs and supporting the junior umpires. Needless to say he is a valued member of our hockey community and a volunteer who has made an impact on the game.
We recently spoke with Phil about his motivations and involvement in hockey through volunteering.
Q – How long have you been involved with hockey?
Phil – I have been involved with hockey for 35 years. I have umpired at all levels for around 10 years (including Intercity Prems and National Masters). As my children have become involved in hockey, I have had a greater involvement in youth hockey including being the Golden Sands School Hockey Coordinator, Coach and Umpire for the last 7 Years.
Q – What do you most enjoy about the sport?
Phil – I love seeing the passion and enthusiasm of young players and umpires. It is a great reminder of why I Iove hockey.
Q – What challenges do you often face in your roles?
Phil – I think the major challenge for hockey is cost, I see a lot of players drop off from primary to intermediate and then another large drop off from intermediate to high school grades. It would be great if hockey could get significant funding like other sporting codes in New Zealand to make it more accessible to more players.
Q – What have been some of the most rewarding things from your time involved in the sport?
Phil – I have found coaching over the past two years to be the most rewarding, seeing the Under 13 Development Boys develop and having fun has been amazing.
Q – What support do you get from the local community?
Phil – The support from our local Papamoa community is amazing. I have been fortunate to have had many supportive and encouraging parents throughout my coaching roles who share belief that kids should be allowed to play and enjoy hockey without too much input from the sidelines. I am also very fortunate that my employer (Findatruckload) are very understanding and flexible around my hours of work. Without their support I would not be able to have such a large involvement in hockey. I am also very fortunate to have worked with many other fantastic volunteers in the Tauranga Hockey Community.
Q – What did it mean to win the Volunteer of the Year award
Phil – Surprised and very humbling, as a kid my parents volunteered for so many areas in Hamilton and I guess their ideals rubbed off on me. This award wasn’t for me but for my family, my hockey widow wide Lynley and my kids that at times don’t really see me much unless being coached by me.
Q – What do you enjoy about coaching?
Phil – Making sure all players have fun while continuing to grow as players. It is a fantastic moment when they click as a team with everyone working together to their full potential.
Q – When did you start playing hockey?
Phil – I have played hockey since I was 12, I stopped playing three years ago due to a knee injury. My highlight was playing for all three Fraser High School teams in one weekend. I also as a goalie won a penalty shot competition at the end of a drawn competition in a men’s reserve competition in Hamilton.
The 2019 National Volunteer Week runs from June 16-22 to celebrate the collective contribution of the 1.2 million volunteers who enrich New Zealand every year. We have hundreds of volunteers throughout the hockey community from those that help out at events to the many volunteer umpires, coaches, managers, administrators and board members. We appreciate everything that they do to make Hockey the sport that it is in New Zealand.
Check out our National Volunteer Week competition: WIN a $500 Kookaburra voucher for a deserving volunteer!