Three generations of playing hockey with Maryborough’s Brothers Hockey Club. Life member Brian Berry, his son Michael and grandson Alexander. They are one of many multi-generation families to have played for Brothers Hockey Club over its proud 50-year history.
Three generations of playing hockey with Maryborough’s Brothers Hockey Club. Life member Brian Berry, his son Michael and grandson Alexander. They are one of many multi-generation families to have played for Brothers Hockey Club over its proud 50-year history. Contributed

Brothers Hockey Club has 50 reasons to celebrate

A STUBBORN Christian Brother from Limerick, who refused to take no for an answer, can take the credit for the formation of one of country Queensland's most successful hockey clubs.

The Brothers Hockey Club of Maryborough celebrates its 50th anniversary, a feat that looked doubtful when it first began in 1966.

Not one parent, of boys at the Christian Brothers School wishing to play hockey, bothered to turn up to the first meeting called by Irish Christian Brother Jim Mullane that year.

Brother Mullane's response?

He simply summoned them to another meeting the following week.

One of those parents who felt guilty enough to attend that second meeting was Kev Riley, who only went along to tell Father Mullane that his son Neal, 10, would rather play football.

"I ended up walking away from that meeting as the founding club president and, needless to say, Neal and all of his brothers and sisters started playing hockey," Riley, a life member, said.

"Fifty years later I still have children and grandchildren playing for Brothers.

"Brother Mullane was the inaugural coach of the first primary team and his team selection was pure unbiased autocracy.

"He filled the card out as each boy arrived usually from goalkeeper to left wing and only the first 11 to arrive got to play. They didn't win many games but boy, were they punctual!"

In 1973, Brothers Hockey Club amalgamated with girls and women from the St Mary's Hockey Club and the rest is history, with the club growing rapidly in both junior and senior divisions.

By 1996, when Brothers celebrated the 30th anniversary, the club was the largest hockey club in country Queensland with 27 teams across all divisions, and more than 200 junior players.

Highlights of the club's history include the establishment of its own grounds and clubhouse in Albert St in 1979 and its first A1 men's premiership win in 1994.

In the past 50 years hundreds of Brothers players have received Wide Bay, Queensland and Australian representative honours, and the club has scores of premierships titles to its name.

Brothers has a reputation for its strong family focus, with three generations of families having played or been involved in some way with the club.

One such family is the Elmers, with all 13 children belonging to Dick and Denise Elmer playing hockey for Brothers and just as many of their great-grandchildren playing with the club.

Brothers has held firm to its early Irish roots, with the tradition of teams taking on Celtic names, such as the Shamrocks, Clares, Leprechauns, Emeralds, Shillelaghs and Kilkenny Kids, continuing today.

Another proud tradition that remains is the production of Brothers Hockey Club's annual magazine Shennanikins, which has chronicled the club's history and reported on its many players, teams, premierships and social events for almost half a century.

The magazine started as a newsletter. Instead of correctly spelling Shenanigans, the original editor mistakenly spelt it phonetically - Shennanikins - and the name has stuck ever since.



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