New role just the job for Armidale hockey fanatic

BLAIR Chalmers is getting straight to work in his new job – what is a dream job at that.

He pretty much gets to talk about hockey all day.

The Armidale player and coach is the new regional coaching coordinator (RCC) for the Northern Inland.

He’s one of six who will be scattered across the state and working under the auspices of Hockey NSW.

As someone who loves hockey and is passionate about developing the game, he probably couldn’t find a more perfect job.

“I just love being out there on the field coaching,” Chalmers said.

He said it is “really exciting times for Hockey NSW” and welcomed the introduction of the RCCs.

“We definitely needed it,” Chalmers said.

“There’s a lot of great people running programs but this gives us some consistency across the state,” he said.

The Northern Inland area takes in the Tamworth, Armidale (Hockey New England), Inverell, Moree and Scone associations.

Chalmers officially started on Monday and met with representatives from the Tamworth and New England associations on Monday night.

“It’ll be pretty full-on until mid-April,” Chalmers said, with the various development camps and state trials and trainings.

He was down at the U15s girls’ camp on the weekend.

Chalmers said there were two main components to his role.

“One is recruitment and one is retention,” he said.

Ideally it’s about developing the game as well as the players.

The game development component will involve school visits and U9s and U12s clinics.

“The other main component is developing coaches and other officials,” he said.

From his involvement with Hockey New England, one of the major things Chalmers will be looking to do is accredit the existing coaches in that area.

There’s a lot of good coaches there.

He’s also keen to encourage indoor to be more of a focus.

“I see real benefit from indoor skills transferring to outdoor,” he said.

Another priority will be growing the game in Moree, Inverell and Scone.

Hockey doesn’t have the strong presence there it does in Tamworth and Armidale, and Chalmers believes there is untapped potential there.

“There’s not so much a blank canvas there but, compared to Hockey New England and Tamworth, there is,” he said.

In Inverell and Moree’s case he’s looking at possibly bringing the two together and running gala days.

As well as coaching senior and junior club and representative sides in Armidale, Chalmers has coached Country the past three years and the past two has coached the U15 girls’ Blues in their series against Queensland.

This year he’s taking on the NSW 18s girls’ Blue side with NSW being invited to field two sides at both the boys and girls at the 13s, 15s and 18s nationals this year.

It will be his first national campaign and, while the side is still to be decided from the talent in the squad, he feels a top four finish is realistic.

 Meanwhile the Tamworth men and New England women just missed out on masters indoor titles on the weekend.

 The Tamworth men were beaten 14-nil by Illawarra in the Division 1 final while the New England women went down to Macarthur 3-nil in the Division 3 final.

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