Cooloola Heat state representatives Drew Wenzel, Joey Collins and Nathan Stephens jump for joy after hearing the news Gympie Hockey has received a $285,000 grant from the state government for a new artificial hockey field.
Cooloola Heat state representatives Drew Wenzel, Joey Collins and Nathan Stephens jump for joy after hearing the news Gympie Hockey has received a $285,000 grant from the state government for a new artificial hockey field. Craig Warhurst

Hockey dream comes true for Gympie

YEARS of hard work has finally paid off for Gympie hockey officials after receiving confirmation yesterday of a $285,000 state grant to build a new artificial hockey field.

Gympie Hockey president Ian Wenzel was over the moon with the announcement, saying the $285,000 Queensland Government Sport and Recreation Minor Infrastructure Grant would enable the hockey club to be one of the best facilities in the state.

“It is very exciting news for everyone concerned,” he said.

“It is fantastic, it means we will definitely have a new artificial surface in place for the 2011 season.”

The Gympie Hockey Club was the first in Queensland to have an artificial surface, but 25 years of use had seen the old sand based surface become worn and outdated.

The new state of the art hybrid surface will restore Gympie’s place as a premier hockey centre.

Hard work by Gympie hockey officials has seen the club raise over $100,000 toward the new field. A launch of a special sponsorship and donation package attracted over $25,000 in pledges on its first night.

Gympie Regional Council had come on board to be loan guarantor for the new field, but now the loan won’t be needed.

Wenzel received confirmation from the Sports Minister Phil Reeves yesterday and said the members of the club were euphoric after the announcement.

“We have been working tirelessly over the three years to achieve this goal, it is the best news,” he said.

But Wenzel said it was very important to maintain momentum with the club’s fundraising effort.

“We still need to raise more money to make sure our facility is as good as it can be,” he said.

“This field could be the catalyst to make hockey explode in the region.”

Wenzel said the grant would be great for the economy of Gympie and the new field would allow the club to host state and national carnivals again.

Gympie just had to give up the national under 13 boys’ carnival because of the lack of a quality field.

“It will give us the opportunity to host state and national championships and even the possibility of holding Australian Hockey League games with interstate teams and international standard players,” he said.

The good news follows five Gympie based players being selected in state teams recently and Wenzel says the new field will allow Gympie players to compete on an even footing with other centres.

“It will allow our juniors to learn skills that can only be learnt on a top quality surface,” he said.

Wenzel thanked everyone involved for their hard work and the state government for the money.

“Their support gives our club certainty and a great future,” he said.

Sports minister Phil Reeves said the Bligh Government, through the 2010-11 Budget, had yet again delivered for the people of Gympie.

“This new funding comes on top of more than $33,000 in Active Inclusion grants, recently announced which went to eight clubs in Gympie to help increase access to sport and recreation,” he said.

“Our local sporting clubs are the lifeblood of the community, and this infrastructure funding will provide a major boost to the area by creating jobs and giving people what they want and need.

“It will help increase their membership numbers and provide more opportunities for people to get involved and get active.

“The Bligh Government loves its sport, and we will continue to invest in the health and well-being of Queenslanders.”

Gympie Times


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