How hockey suited Nick

Blake Urbahn, Slick Sticks hockey player, helps his team to a 23-0 victory over the Maeroa Strikers in Hamilton on May 6.

“You can’t be serious,” says Nick Goodwin as The News suggests the whole town needs to know about the lengths he went to for his hockey team on Friday night.

Being a kind and generous man, he acquiesces.

Nick gives up many voluntary hours to coach school sports teams and this winter he took on his son Theo’s 13th grade hockey team, the Leamington Slick Sticks.

“At our first practice we were talking about our favourite memories from the last season and one of the boys said that he enjoyed playing against a team with a coach who he thought was funny for wearing a suit and then berating his players wildly when they lost the game,” he explained.

“So, I said if they could win by 20 clear points then I would wear a suit for the next game.”

Unfortunately, the incentive worked too well and the Slick Sticks thrashed the Maeroa Strikers 23-0 in their first game of the season on May 6.

“I was a little bit sorry for the other team…but the players seemed to not be too despondent, so that’s good, and I was also pleased that our team kept their intensity going and they wanted to play hard,” Nick said.  “I think that’s the best way to respect your opposition.”

A picture of sartorial elegance as he dashed around the turf umpiring in a fetching black suit and striped tie last Friday night, he said trading his usual shorts, thermals and sneakers for formal attire had not been enjoyable.

“I actually felt that I didn’t have as good a relationship with the other team as I usually would,” he said.  “I think they maybe thought I was a bit self-important.”

Did it earn him more respect from his players?

“No, definitely not.”

His team still performed well though, beating Matamata Kikorangi 16-0.

Nick said he had last worn the suit while working for the Ministry of Health in Wellington more than five years ago.

Now an associate pastor at Raleigh Street Christian Centre who works mainly with students and staff at the University of Waikato, he is pleased his job doesn’t require a suit.

“That would be horrifying,” he said.

Nick is now working on a new incentive to keep his team motivated for the rest of the season.

One parent’s suggestion that he could wear a clown suit next time appears to have been ignored.

Nick Goodwin brushed a layer of dust off his suit jacket to honour a deal with his hockey team.

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