For those of you who were not at the Leeds City Sports Award dinner last night or have failed to pick up on the news via social media, the fantastic news is that Pam Hardaker was announced as the winner in the Participation Coach category, beating off stiff competition from rugby league coach, Adam Fletcher and trampolining coach, Dan May.
Leeds Adel HC were out in force, along with Pam’s husband Chris, a fellow hockey player, coach and umpire at Leeds HC and son Ashley who has represented both teams over the years in a playing, coaching and umpiring capacity.
This recognition should not be underestimated when you see the level of talent on display at awards evenings like this and it highlights how this region is the hotbed for sporting talent with many attendees likely to be participating in the Rio Olympics or at World Championships events this year. All of the headline winners will have started out their sporting journeys under the tuition of hard working and dedicated coaches like Pam and we have seen a number of talented hockey players develop from being shy under 10 players to go on to international recognition and representative hockey. I am sure there are several more in our current crop of talented juniors and last weekend we saw 5 of the ladies 1s be home grown players who represented our juniors, 6 in the ladies 2s and several more in the 3s and 4s. The good news is that we are also seeing this success start to be replicated in the boys section thanks to Simon Sutton and others who coach alongside Pam on a Friday evening and give up their Sunday mornings to organise Adel junior teams in the YYHL.
Pam was unavailable for comment last night but I am sure she will be preparing her acceptance speech for the club dinner in April.