Hockey is for everyone

Sale and District Specialist School students Vanessa, Chelsea, Casey, Hayley, Charlie and Marcus at the all-abilities hockey day hosted by Wellington Hockey Club.
Sale and District Specialist School students Vanessa, Chelsea, Casey, Hayley, Charlie and Marcus at the all-abilities hockey day hosted by Wellington Hockey Club.

INTERNATIONAL Day of People with Disability was celebrated at Wellington Hockey Club last week with a fun-filled session which included clinics, drills and an all-inclusive game.

Close to 100 people from Sale and District Specialist School and George Gray Centre attended the event at Gippsland Regional Sports Complex, Sale, as participants enjoyed the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some time running around.

Wellington Hockey Club has been a pioneer in bringing the sport to all-abilities, with this year being the fifth running of the annual event. The club also works in conjunction with Sale Specialist School in transporting students to and from Melbourne for competition matches.

Club president Craig Holmes said giving people with disability the chance to play sport was an important initiative.

"We just thought there was a good opportunity for us to go out in the community, run programs so they can have a bit of fun, get some exercise, eat healthy all that sort of stuff," he said.

"Our club runs programs every week all year round across Gippsland, just to get them involved in sport, involved in the community.

"It's all about inclusiveness, we're doing it because we can and they're loving it so we just kept building it." Holmes said the players in the team from Sale Specialist School that travelled to Melbourne to play matches had thoroughly enjoyed their time.

"It's the highlight of their week," he said.

"Hockey Victoria run a specialist school competition, and we're the only regional team that go and play down there.

"The guys go down and play against all the city teams and actually ran third in the A grade this year."

Wellington's hockey program for all abilities has continued to grow.

"At the beginning we started with eight kids and were told we wouldn't get many people interested but because they've enjoyed it so much, words got out and now everyone wants to come and play," Holmes said.

"It's been a lot of hard work but from there we've got 50 kids and we've built it up to whoever wants to come and play can play.

"We're not strict on them, we're just here to try and teach them how to play hockey."

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