Men’s Heat in dire straits

Cooloola Heat coach Peter Chatman said Queensland Masters player Neil McKean (pictured) is keen to return to the Heat but others won’t be back for 2013.
Cooloola Heat coach Peter Chatman said Queensland Masters player Neil McKean (pictured) is keen to return to the Heat but others won’t be back for 2013. Craig Warhurst

GYMPIE'S premier men's hockey team may have made the grand final last year but this season to stay afloat, they are desperate for players.

With a host of the team's 2012 star players unavailable, acting coach Peter Chatman has concerns about the side's feasibility.

"It may be a struggle unless we can get the numbers," Chatman said.

With young guns including last season's TSR Cooloola Heat medal winner Drew Wenzel moving out of town for study, plans for the 2013 side are looking a little shaky.

The experienced ranks have also taken a blow with stalwart player Dean Walker having called time on his Heat career.

"We've lost a good eight players," Chatman said.

Of prime concern is finding a goal keeper, especially seeing successful keeper Patrick Barnes is playing at the Sunshine Coast.

While there is possibility of key players like Wenzel and Codey Warhurst travelling from Brisbane to Gympie and the Fraser Coast for the Heat's weekend fixtures, there would be no guarantee the boys would be available consistently throughout the Wide Bay Premiership and the Maryborough Hockey Association Premiership seasons.

Because of this, Chatman said he was looking for about 20 plays on board.

The side is hoping to snare players including Queensland Masters competitor Neil McKean.

Last night's training acted as an indicator of player interest in the team and Chatman said he would see what unfolded.

He said if worse comes to worst, there would not be a Heat Men's team this year.

"The worst case scenario, we won't have a men's Heat team," Chatman said.

"But we will still have a men's competition."

The team concerns come just as the women's Heat team gets back on its feet after a seven-year break.

Chatman said with no men's Heat team, focus would be placed upon this year's state championships and the weekly Gympie Hockey Association Thursday night men's fixtures.

Chatman said with or without the men's Heat team, there would still be pathways for young players to make their way up the competition ladder, including Wide Bay and state rep teams.

Gympie Times


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