Tasmanian hockey legend Peter Holmes notched up his 1000th senior game for the Diamondbacks last weekend but he was close to missing his own celebrations.
Holmes began his hockey journey, aged 10, in 1967 at St. Virgil’s Primary School where he was invited to join the school’s hockey team. Holmes was already playing in the school’s Australian Rules football team but had to choose between the two sports during an inter-school carnival.
It’s clear that this decision helped to define the 50 year hockey veteran’s path in life.
“There was a disagreement between the two coaches and they said ‘you’d better make a choice here.’ Well I thought we had a better chance of winning in the hockey and there’s a bit more of a challenge in the sport so I stuck with it and here we are, fifty years later and still playing” said Holmes.
Holmes went on to join the Diamondbacks Hockey Club under 16’s team in 1972, a club he would continue to be a part of 45 years later and counting.
The Diamondbacks is where Holmes has perfected his craft, going on to play in the seniors, the Masters and for a myriad of representative teams.
Nowadays at age 60, Holmes still plays at a high level and doesn’t look like slowing down.
“I play for the challenge. These days I’m playing against people in their early twenties. Last year in our grand final there was a guy who dropped back from Premier League to Division 3 just to play us and that was another challenge.”
But it’s not just the challenge of competition that keeps Holmes engaged in hockey, it’s something that runs much deeper than that.
“It’s the friendships that you make over the years, both with your teammates and the guys you play against. It’s is a community, everyone wants to be a part of something and if they can attach themselves to hockey, it’s great.”
The Diamondbacks Hockey Club only record one senior game per weekend for their players to ensure that everyone is playing for the entire game rather than just sitting on the bench across two or three games per weekend.
This means that in all of his time at the Diamondbacks, Holmes has barely missed a game, but in an interesting turn of events he almost missed his biggest milestone yet.
“We had people from the club calling up and asking if they could play in my 1,000th game, that was pretty special, but four weeks beforehand it looked like I might not even be playing.”
“A few weeks before the game my entire back had locked up but some acupuncture and a trip to physio meant that I wasn’t stuffing up the club’s celebrations! I was a bit worried there for a while but I ended up going out there and scoring the first goal before setting the second one up.”
Of his 1,000 games for the club, Holmes’ 1,000th was certainly a memorable one.
“It would have to be one of the major highlights of my career, mainly because of all the people who came out even though it was Mother’s Day. To see the smiles on everyone’s faces afterwards made it totally special.”
A highlight of the day for Holmes was being able to share his milestone with a teammate by the name of Bob Harris. Harris and Holmes have been brothers in arms for many years at the Diamondbacks. The iconic duo both played their 800thgames together and have now combined for 1930 games for the club.
What’s next for Holmes’ hockey career?
“I had a guy ask me ‘you’ve played to first 1,000 games right handed, can you play the next 1,000 with your left?’ It’ll depend on my family but I’ll look to keep going.”
Whatever number of games Holmes reaches will be a testament to his love of the game and the support of an amazing Tasmanian hockey community.