Reece Gaddes is in Sydney this week to compete in the NSW Men’s Under 21 Hockey team at the National Championships. Image: Contributed

Rising hockey star

A local Grafton lad, Reece Gaddes heads to Sydney to compete in the NSW Men’s Under 21 Hockey team at the National Championships this week. During any normal week, 18-year-old Reece Gaddes is an apprentice electrician at the Harwood Sugar Mill and Refinery. Come the weekend, Reece travels between Grafton and Ipswich in Queensland playing competitive hockey for both the Grafton Barbarians and Brisbane Western Suburbs clubs. Reece joined Sunshine Sugar at the start of 2018 on a four-year electrical apprenticeship. Having completed his HSC at Grafton High School last year, Reece is now enjoying the challenge of working in an industrial facility, which he says; “gives me the opportunity to do different things all the time and I am learning so much.” Whether installing massive fugal motors, testing compressors or fitting electrical cable – every day presents a new and varied challenge and learning opportunity. Having played hockey since he was a young boy, Reece’s love for the sport has led him to achieve representative success, including selection in the NSW Under 18 squad earlier this year. His success at this level has gained him entry into the Athlete Acceleration Program (AAP), a highly sophisticated program developed through extensive collaboration with NSW Institute of Sport and Hockey Australia. The AAP establishes a means for athletes from any area to advance their skills to an elite level. Reece’s on-field skills as a defender have gone from strength to strength and he is now off to represent the state again in the Under 21 squad, which is competing in the National Championships to be held in Sydney during the first week in July.