NEW SPONSOR: Area manager of McDonalds Grafton David Atheron with president of Avros John Neilson at the Grafton Hockey complex.
NEW SPONSOR: Area manager of McDonalds Grafton David Atheron with president of Avros John Neilson at the Grafton Hockey complex. Adam Hourigan Photography

Revival on the cards for Avros Hockey Club

HOCKEY: Thirty years ago Avros were the team to beat in Grafton hockey.

With a prolific A-Grade championship winning side and a burgeoning junior talent program, the boys in red had it all.

But in recent years the Avros ranks have dwindled and the junior numbers have been non-existent. And a shafting to B-Grade after the introduction of Premier League hockey has seen the numbers suffer further.

But new president John Neilson and his executive want to change that - and they have started that change immediately.

"I love the Avros Hockey Club," Neilson said "That is the reason why I want to do something about our current situation.

"I want to see the club grow and I want to see the junior ranks grow but I don't want to lose the values that Avros have built the club on so far - and that is family and fun."

With the registration of an Under 7s side for the first time in years Avros have taken that step toward a new future and club secretary Peter McPhillips, who has been a part of Avros for three decades, is not willing to stop taking forward steps.

"Sometimes things don't always go the way you planned and that is what happened," he said. "But time passes and you can either move on and make the most of the situation or sit back in the 1970 and 80s and think about the glory days.

"This is us making those steps to move on - we have a junior side, we have five new sponsors. We are rebuilding the Avros club but maintaining the idea of family.

"Losing our juniors was hard, and not getting into Premier League was hard. We have had a few knocks and goals have had to change. But we can't hold onto the past.

"We are saying here we are. We have cash, we have strong sides, we have juniors starting. We are back to give the competition a bit of a shake up."

Avros will be welcoming McDonalds on as major sponsors this year in a partnership that Neilson expects to allow the club to grow further.

"To have a third side in seniors and a big junior network is probably the ultimate goal for our club," Neilson said. "This is just the start of it all - a reinvigoration of the Avros Hockey Club."



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