BY BERNIE SYSTA, REDLANDS HOCKEY ASSOCIATION MEMBER
Redlands Hockey – fun for all the family!
I am often asked why I play hockey, and the answer is that I love the family atmosphere of hockey. It is one of the few sports open to everyone regardless of age, gender or ability and is such a fun and exciting sport. I didn’t have the opportunity to play hockey as a child, so I began playing as an adult to get fit and to set a positive example for my kids. I didn’t realise at the time that it would become such a huge part of my life and my family.
My husband and my son started playing hockey in 2011. The following year the rest of our kids and I joined, and all seven of us have played ever since. I love that I can play with my daughters, and my husband has been able to play with our sons. Even in the off-season, we play indoor hockey where we can all play together.
I find hockey players tend to be more passionate than other sports. Once you mention you play hockey or used to play hockey to someone, there is an instant connection, and our family have made many lifelong friends in the hockey community right across the state.
Our family is one of many families who play with Redlands Hockey Association, first established in 2008. Since that time, hockey has continued to grow and prosper in the Redlands community. It is a sport that teaches endurance, improved hand-eye coordination and the importance of teamwork.
A number of our members have achieved Hockey Queensland and Hockey Australia coaching and umpiring accreditation at various levels.
Redlands Hockey Association has a reputation for being a very friendly, family orientated and an inclusive community. Some people travel long distances to play with our association, and we have several whole family groups playing with us. One year my senior women’s team was made up of all mothers and daughters and sisters all playing together. This is what makes Redlands hockey unique and special.
Many of our players dual and play with other associations who have access to turf fields. Having a turf field in the Redlands area remains at the top of our wish list. With the success of our national mens’ and womens’ hockey teams and with the Olympics coming to Brisbane in 2032, we hope this may have some influence on providing new facilities throughout Brisbane and the Redlands area.
Redlands Hockey offers our members numerous opportunities to play at the representative level across junior, senior and masters levels. And my whole family have been able to represent Redlands at numerous tournaments across the state. I am 53-years-old this year and have played in many masters’ state championships which goes to show you are never too old to play hockey!
I love playing hockey and the opportunities it has provided our family and I would strongly encourage everyone to get involved with hockey, it may change your life!