Hockey Coffs Coast jets to a new level
HOKCEY: A new era for Hockey Coffs Coast has commenced, one which will create a pathway for aspiring junior players well into the future.
Hockey Coffs Coast have entered a team in the 2019 Grafton men's first grade competition, with the 'Jetty Jets' combining the best players from local clubs with several representatives from Sailors Hockey Club.
The Jets currently sit third on the ladder after three rounds of the competition and are hungry to make a splash in their inaugural year.
Jetty Jets coach Rick Fischer said the new team has been a benefit for all parties and will hopefully put an end to a long-standing issue.
"The idea for a combined team has been around for some time,” Fischer said.
"We were constantly losing players to the Grafton-based clubs and there wasn't a lot we could do about that.
"We wanted to keep our local juniors playing for a Coffs-based team and give them the opportunity to play top-level hockey as a group... Sailors were kind of in the same boat.
"They were having problems keeping a first grade team together and were losing players to some of the other clubs. It's a natural fit for both groups.
"We're getting good crowds out at the hockey centre and the players are really enjoying it. It's a really positive thing for hockey in our area.”
Hockey Coffs Coast president Joel Matthews agreed with Fischer and said the local clubs are fully supportive of the Jets.
"We've been really happy with how the hockey community has embraced this team,” Matthews said.
"We're getting a lot of people out at the turf to watch them and it helps bring our local clubs closer together.
"We've now got a platform for our local talent to play in one of the premier competitions on the North Coast.”
The Jetty Jets have been the surprise packet of the season so far, with those involved in the league not expecting them to be as competitive as they have been.
In their first ever match the side had a 2-1 loss to City Bears, before also falling by the same score to the Barbarians Hockey Club the following round.
The Jets broke through with their first ever win last Sunday though, with a 5-3 victory over Royals at home.
Fischer paid special mention to Sam Ash, Josh Perry and Aidan Neaves who had standout performances in the game.
The Jets now travel to Grafton this weekend where they will play competition front-runners, City Bears.
"The players are really looking forward to playing up in Grafton”, Fischer said.
"We're the second match in a first grade double-header. It's a great opportunity for some of our younger players to play in front of a large crowd. We can't wait.”