It has been a big week for the Nuriootpa Hockey Club with three senior players reaching their 300 game milestone.
A graders, Renee Bishop and Greg Schulz achieved the milestone on Sunday while Craig Schulz celebrated last night under lights at Stockwell.
All playing hockey from the junior ranks, camaraderie and friendship are big factors in their weekly drive to don the green and gold for the Nuriootpa Hockey Club.
For Renee, the oldest of the three, reaching the 300 game milestone is one she says makes her feel old.
But age aside, the striker says she never thought she would make it this far.
“I just love the sport and my kids, Travis and Wilbur play it,” said Renee.
“It is a great honour to reach my milestone with Craig and Greg.”
It’s the friendships too that Renee treasures and celebrated the milestone with fellow senior players after the game on Sunday.
Her aim is to continue to play the season and work her way towards a premiership.
These sentiments are echoed by Craig, who plays in the A men side.
He and twin brother, Greg have played side by side since the junior division and this season have the mighty task of marking the lines on the field before the weekend games.
A knee injury meant the brothers weren’t to share the 300 game milestone in the same game.
“I have been lucky with injury… nothing serious,” said Craig.
“I get to play with my mates each week which is big thing. The blokes I play with I call my best mates which is pretty special.”
Craig’s wife, Amy supports him in the continued quest to play the game with three year old son, Chase his biggest fan.
While there will be rivalry on the field this Friday night when Nuriootpa play Tanunda, Craig said with mates in the Tanunda team too, there will be a few beers to enjoy afterwards.
“Nuriootpa Hockey Club has made me a better person on and off the field as well,” said Craig.
“I am one of the most competitive persons you will ever meet but I also know at the end of the day it is just a game.
“The culture here with Greg and I growing up… the older blokes always had time for us and I hope now the young lads feel that same way.
“It’s about having fun, you maybe playing with a kid that’s 10 years younger but you class them as a good mate and that’s what it was like when I was growing up.”
For Greg, he too didn’t think he’d make it to the 300 game milestone and said it is an honour to get this far.
“It makes you feel old,” he says with a laugh.
But when he looks back on the years, Greg said the premierships, 11 at an A grade level, are a huge highlight and far outweigh any other accolade.
“Craig and I are very competitive and want to keep proving ourselves,” said Greg.
“I just enjoy the mateship, whether we win or lose, we sit in the changeroom at the end of the game and have a beer with mates.”
Greg has missed five games in the last 15 years due to injury and at 32 he says he’s fortunate to be able to play.
He concedes the season is a big commitment and acknowledges the support from wife, Amanda and their two children, Indi and Mav.
While Indi and Mav are still young, Greg sees a future hockey player in Indi.