At the La Trobe University Hockey Club’s 2019 Presentation Night on 11th of October, President Tim Lonergan gave the following speech:
It’s a very special night tonight. For the first time since 2015 this brilliant club will award Life Membership on one of our favourite Gunners, and just the 19th in the 52 year history of the club.
Over our 50 odd years we have had many thousand players pull on the famous red, white and grey. Our club evokes loyalty, it evokes passion and most of all it evokes camaraderie, devotion and commitment. Tonight, we will stand and raise our glasses to a person who will become the youngest Life Member in the club’s history – but possibly apart from Ross Erickson – one of the truly most deserving.
Let’s now cover what this person has done since arriving at our club 12 years ago in 2007. Like most of us when we started, he was a young kid. We were on our knees. We were down to just three Men’s teams, and for the first time in our history our 1s were no longer top of State League 3/bottom of State League 2.
This person immediately got involved. He attended all the trainings, started to help organise all the functions, Albury Carnival, Cocktail nights, Keg Off, Presentation Night. He joined a new generation of passionate Gunners, creating partners in crime like Phil Nguyen and Robbie Diff.
As he stayed longer at the club he quickly matured and started to really embrace the history of the club. He was fascinated with the stories of old, the tales of people like Shacko, Craig Cameron, and others from the 80s and going back to the tales from Rossco in the 70s. More than any other person (apart from Rossco) he celebrated and embraced the rich history of the club.
He took on the role of President when we were in trouble. He was our longest ever President. He worked with Blackers and others to establish the Foundation Trust, locking in our financial future and our very existence. He worked with council on getting new fences built for the ground at the back. He is good with fake email accounts and even though he’s matured – he still has that twinkle in his eye when its needed.
He drove the professional revival of the club. He was instrumental in getting us our Good Sports Accreditation.
Even after his role as President, he did not fade like many of us have back into being another member – he stepped up even further. He established the Coterie raising many thousands of dollars for investing into the club. But the thing that has truly been his legacy is his tireless commitment to cherishing the history of the club.
This member has built a digital history of our club for us all to be proud. The meaning and history of every shield, every Honour Board mention, every part of who we have been for 50 years. This year he has been archiving the club’s archive, Dribbles and memorabilia.
At Presentation Night, we present the prestigious George Grouios Shield – the leading goal scoring shield that honours and celebrates the life of George. Zac has never met George, but he has done as much as anybody to protect and celebrate George’s legacy. He set up and monitors the George Grouios spreadsheet each year. It’s what he does.
He encapsulates everything that Life Membership of this club is about. He does what he does for the club without looking for or wanting thanks or credit. He never seeks his name in the spotlight or talks himself up. He is what our club is about – he may as well have been born an Erickson.
Congratulations to the 19th Life Member of the La Trobe University Hockey Club – Mr Zac Martin.