At risk of sounding a little cliché, 2011-12 was a break though year for ECHO. A year that saw two Winter Premierships and two Summer Grand Finals. A year that saw the addition of a second Women’s team, our first full field junior team, an extra summer team and the development of a new structured Minkey program.
ECHO continued its amazing growth that has blessed the Club over the past few years. This year over 150 people played a Summer or Winter game in the red and gold. This strength of numbers has played a significant role in the year’s success. For the first time ever all ECHO teams won more Summer games than lost and our senior teams won an incredible 54 games, scored 261 goals and even more remarkably only conceded 140 goals – the least number of goals conceded since 2005 (133) when we only had three teams and two of those made Grand Finals.
ECHO continues to attract new players and retain the old ones. This has been highlighted by the current Summer season where we have had a further 20 new players join ECHO. The Club’s influence and recognition continues and the result is a promising and exciting future for ECHO.
2012-13 promises to be no exception. The Club has already penciled in a new Men’s Masters team following the trial of a summer Masters team. But, this may not be the only additional team in 2013. We had a large number of Under 12 girls which could make use of the new Under 12s girls competition, a second half field under 10’s side would add to the sustainability of the Juniors, and if we can retain the number of new players we gained over Summer we may have to consider a forth men’s team. The graph below outlines the Clubs growth and what potential growth we could see if we continue to expand into new areas. (This is based on predicted team entries over the next three years.)
This growth, while really exciting, also poses a number of challenges. These include: larger workload for club management that is increasingly further from the on-field action, greater facility pressures on a club that already has limited facility access and ensuring we have the resources and skills to meet the player’s needs. These challenges increase in magnitude as ECHO grows. It has been proposed that a new executive committee structure and more targeting competition committees be established to help enable this growth going forward and help meet some of these challenges.
The Club continues to maintain a fantastic Christ centered atmosphere where teams play and carry on a witness to the Hockey Victoria community. Going forward I would love to see a continued strong focus on encouragement and for ECHO to be known for this. As I have said before, ECHO is a truly remarkable sporting Club.