|Following the disrupted finish to the 2021 season, which saw the Wimmera Hockey Association’s finals abandoned and the usual season-ending presentation function not held, the opportunity was taken during the first round of this season to acknowledge the award winners from last season.
With no grand finals played, the leading teams when the season was cancelled have been acknowledged as the minor premiers, with Yanac earning this honour in all three competitions. This feat extends this club’s winning run after they won grand finals in all three grades in 2018 and 2019, the last two seasons premiers were crowned, after the entire 2020 season was abandoned.
The Warrack Hoops were runners-up in the Open competition.
Kaniva Women finished second on their ladder, which, had a season-decider been played, would have been their first-ever grand final, and Horsham Bombers were on track for their first grand final appearance since 2000 when they finished second in the Under 16 competition.
Kaniva Cobras’ Clint Beattie won the Open division Best and Fairest after polling 46 votes out of a possible maximum of 60 from the ten rounds played, and there were joint winners for the Women’s Best and Fairest, with Ellie Murden (Nhill Thunderbirds) and Querida Pearse (Kaniva Women) both earning 26 votes.
Charlie White of the Kaniva Raiders was voted the Boys Best and Fairest in the Under 16 competition, and Leah Eilola (pictured) became the first player from Warracknbeal to win the Girl’s Best and Fairest award since its inception in the 1980s, although several players from her club had previously won the Boy’s award.
Each year, the opportunity is taken to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the Association with the presentation of Encouragement Awards. Recipients do not have to play to be eligible, as although on-field conduct is taken into account, the individual’s contribution to many aspects of the life of the Association off the field. Up to four can be presented each year; two to seniors members and two to juniors.
The juniors honoured for their contribution last season were Kendra Clark (Nhill) and Rourkey Croot (Yanac), and the Senior recipients were Michelle Honeyman (Yanac) and Adam Wallis (Kaniva).
Two participants in the Under 12 Development Program have also been acknowledged for their contribution beyond playing, and they are Jayda Mills and Justin Schwarz, both from the Horsham Hockey Club.
The Umpire’s Encouragement Award went to Adam Wallis (Kaniva).
The Annual General Meeting of the Wimmera Hockey Association was also held on Saturday, with Helen Cannell (Nhill) again taking on the role of President and Colin Williams (Horsham) stepping up to the position of Secretary for the first time, taking over from Kim Magrath (Yanac) who had filled that role seven times in the last eleven seasons.
Another first-time member of the Executive team is Bradley Alexander (Yanac), who has taken on the role of Umpires’ Convenor.
The following team will be overseeing the running the Association this year.
2022 Wimmera Hockey Association Executive
President - Helen Cannell (Nhill)
Vice President - simon king (Warracknabeal)
Secretary - Colin Williams (Horsham)
Treasurer - Donna Krelle (Kaniva)
Umpires Convenor - Brad Alexander (Yanac)
Seconded Member - Ellie Woods (Dimboola)
Historian - Rachel Clark (Nhill)
Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre Delegate - Simon King (Warracknabeal)
Records Secretary - Rachel Clark (Nhill)
Media - Simon King (Warracknabeal)
2021 WHA Awards
Under 12 Development Program - Encouragement Awards
Girls U12 - Jayda Mills (Horsham Hockey Club)
Boys U12 - Justin Schwarz (Horsham Hockey Club)
Under 16 Competition
Minor Premiers - Yanac Warriors
Runners-up - Horsham Bombers
U16 Boys - Best and Fairest - Charlie White (Kaniva Raiders)
U16 Boys - Runner Up Best and Fairest - Hayden Pedie (Yanac Warriors)
U16 Girls - Best and Fairest - Leah Eilola (Warracknabeal Revengers)
U16 Girls - Runner Up Best and Fairest - Kendra Clark (Nhill Leopards)
U16 Boys - Highest Goal Scorer - Rourkey Croot - 18 Goals (Yanac Warriors)
U16 Girls - Highest Goal Scorer - Susan Rowe - 3 Goals (Nhill Leopards)
Goalkeeper of the Year Award - Caitlyn Rowe (Nhill Leopards)
Girls U16 Encouragement Award - Kendra Clark (Nhill & District Sporting Club)
Boys U16 Encouragement Award - Rourkey Croot (Yanac Hockey Club)
Minor Premiers - Yanac Warriors
Runners-up - Kaniva
Noreen Wheaton Award Equal Best & Fairest - Ellie Murden (Nhill Thunderbirds) and Querida Pearse (Kaniva Women)
Runner Up Best & Fairest - Ellie Morrow (Horsham Jets)
Equal Highest Goal Scorer - Ellie Murden - 7 Goals (Nhill Thunderbirds) and Mikayla Farmers - 7 Goals (Yanac Women)
Goalkeeper of the Year Award - Isabella Gulline (Horsham Jets)
Senior Encouragement Award - Michelle Honeyman (Yanac Hockey Club)
Minor Premiers - Yanac Tigers
Runners-up - Warrack Hoops
Aitken/Findlay Award Open Best & Fairest - Clint Beattie (Kaniva Cobras)
Runner Up Best & Fairest - Cameron Bardell (Warracknabeal Hoops)
Highest Goal Scorer - Fraser Cullen - 7 Goals (Dimboola Burras)
Goalkeeper of the Year Award Open - Kayden Rowe (Nhill Rangers)
Senior Encouragement Award - Adam Wallis (Kaniva Hockey Club)
WHA Umpire Encouragement Award - Adam Wallis (Kaniva Hockey Club)