Gary Collins ‘Skinny’ hangs up the boots
Recently Garry Collins (Skinny) announced his retirement from International Roller Hockey. For those who know Gary would agree with me, he has been a great servant to the game and his country for many years – we will miss his humour, positive attitude and everlasting passion for the sport. Gary has provided a summary of his hockey career below. We wish you all the best for the years to come. On behalf of the Australian Roller Hockey community thank-you!
I Started playing roller hockey when the Morley Rollerdrome opened in 1980. Played for the Morley Panthers as Goalkeeper helping them to winning second division Australian clubs in 1985 at Nudawading. Moved to Victoria 1987 to play with Chris Shah and the legendary Mordialloc 1 side, we won first division Australian clubs, second at AustraliaAsian clubs and first with Victoria at national championships with me winning the best keeper trophy. I stopped playing in 1988 and returned to Western Australia not putting skates back on until 2003. With forty approaching in 2003 I rounded up the old Morley Panthers Team and entered the West Australian league coming second to the much younger and fitter side from Bunbury. I was asked to try out for the national team in Brisbane in June 2004 and impressed the coach with some old school goalkeeping, gaining a spot in the national side. Played in Macau 2004 for Australia coming 4th overall and so close to that elusive 3rd spot. I again made the national side in 2006 and also sponsored the team to Uruguay were we placed 8th. In 2008 I played in the Intercontinential tournament in Macau, playing against Spain, a highlight of my playing career and also at the world championships in Pretoria South Africa were with a new breed of players coming thru we placed 9th. In 2010 I again made the national team bound for Austria were we pushed all the top teams and finishing in 8th spot. 2012 saw us attending the Asian games in Hefei China were I had the great honour of captaining my team. I also had the proudest moment in my sporting career carrying the Australian flag into the opening ceremony. We came 3rd in this tournament, I injured my left knee during a game requiring a trip to the hospital and MRI scans. Played my last tournament in Australia at the Australia day cup 2013 for the Skateabout side.
Through all my years in this sport I have made lifelong friends of all ages in many countries and have many many cherished memories, I have played with and against the greats in Australian history , Chris Shah, Shane Simpson, Peter Lupi, Chris Raggett, Stuart Mellon, Rene Munoz and so many more . I have also played with the greats of our modern era, Steve Hoey, Danny Falabella, Les Karayan, Glenn Cox, Jason Shah and Bevan Hurley, again there have been many more. I had the pleasure of playing with a team of teenagers from Dandenong at the clubs in Stafford 2006, man did that team rock the stage very nearly taking it from the top teams, I LOVED playing with these guys, Jamie Brockman, Paul Maruzak, Tim Edwards, Sam Dark and Travis.
I love Roller Hockey with all my heart and it was a hard decision to hang the boots up, but its time.