JENNY Elz hopes her behind-the-scenes work can help Warrnambool District Hockey Association (WDHA) go from strength to strength.
WDHA officials have awarded Elz the Beardsley-Langdon award for off-field service to the association.
The Warrnambool hockey stalwart has been instrumental in restructuring the junior competition in a bid to ensure its sustainability.
Among changes she has helped implement is an integration of the junior teams with their senior counterparts.
The move will help ease the burden on WDHA officials to organise the junior program each year.
Instead, the onus will be on the individual clubs to recruit and coach the teenagers.
“Last year we started to get them into clubs but it was not so formal,” Elz said.
“We gave them club names but we (the association) still collected the fees and did everything centrally.
“This year the clubs have done it all. The association has said ‘here’s the fixture, here are the umpires, it’s up to you’.”
Elz said the WDHA needed its junior ranks to be strong. “Anything we can do to promote the juniors to come along continually and not fall away, we have to do,” she said.
“In my time the juniors have flourished, then fallen away. I’m hoping by doing it this way the clubs will always be trying to maintain these teams.
“The clubs will be seeking out players and getting people involved and then they will have the senior players help as opposed to the parents.”
Elz was a hockey player in her heyday and has watched her children Sarah, Emma, Rachel and Stewart take up the sport.
Sarah now lives in Melbourne, while Emma is in Canberra, but both continue to play on weekends.
Teenagers Rachel and Stewart are making names for themselves in the WDHA playing both juniors and seniors.
Elz was rapt her children had followed in her footsteps. But she would have been just as happy if they took up any team sport.
“My overall desire is to have as many children as possible play team sport,” she said.
“I believe there are benefits getting them involved in a team sport. If they don’t choose hockey, that doesn’t concern me.”