Errol Bill's legacy of hockey lives on in family

International hockey player Errol Bill with stepson Andrew, grandchildren Dylan and Cameron Brick - and brother Allan at the Festival of Hockey on Friday.
International hockey player Errol Bill with stepson Andrew, grandchildren Dylan and Cameron Brick - and brother Allan at the Festival of Hockey on Friday.

Former local Errol Bill has a lot to smile about.

The Festival of Indoor Hockey, which is hosting the country’s most talented hockey players in the Veolia Arena, is not just about sports – but about family.

At 21, Mr Bill was selected to represent Australia for the Olympics in Rome as one of the youngest players.

He played for the Australian and NSW Colts, NSW and ACT seniors and returned to coach for numerous teams. In 1997 he won his last game for the 1997 Australian Men Masters and captained the senior team twice.

Now it is his family who is on the field, continuing his legacy.

The competition welcomed Mr Bill’s niece, Allison Pace from Western Australia, with her two sons Ryan and Mitchell, who are bother competing. Stepson Andrew Brick, manager of the ACT U13 team, and sons Dylan and Cameron representing the U13s for the ACT side are also playing. 

The family regularly travel between NSW, ACT and Perth to follow their hockey accomplishments. 

Mr Bill told the Goulburn Post hockey was a popular sport at the time and was supported by the community.

His wife Pat had also grown up playing the sport before moving from England and joked there was more than one lifetime of hockey in the family. The two met at the Central Hockey Club in Canberra - she as a player, he as a coach.

“I was never a good player but he was brilliant,” she said. “It was a family affair.” 

Mrs Bill became an umpire and later took on administrative work for the club.

“We did expect hockey was going to play a big part of the family’s life,” she said. 

Niece Mrs Pace, who also manages the U18 Western Australian side, said she had grown up with hockey all her life.

“I grew up with hockey - my brother payed, my kids played – I’ve been around hockey forever,” she said. 

On Friday, the whole family, including Mr Bill’s brother, Allan who lives in Goulburn, were rounded up by Hockey NSW for a photo. 

To many, it was just another family photo at a hockey game, but for Mr Bill it was a moment not easily forgotten. 

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