Hockey: Ballymena make a special Purchase to replace de Bruin
Ballymena have acted swiftly to replace outgoing Hockey Development Officer/Head Coach Paulene de Bruin in preparation for the new season.
Englishman David Purchase has been appointed to the full-time post after de Bruin's return to her home in South Africa.
Purchase, 34, has a long list of qualifications in coaching in general and hockey in particular.
He's an International Hockey Federation (FIH) Level Three approved coach and also an FIH Level One Coach assessor.
Purchase has coached in a number of different English clubs based in the London area, most at standards at Ieast equivalent to our Vi-Sport Premier League.
Clearly though he will have a hard act to follow as de Bruin made a big contribution to the club at all levels.
"Paulene contributed so much to the club in terms of coaching and player development that there is no doubt she will be missed by all members of the club," enthused Ballymena chairman Jamie Aiken.
"She worked very hard to develop the club and to make it a successful place to play hockey and all her hard work was greatly appreciated."
Ballymena certainly can't be accused of not casting their net widely in the search for a successor as advertisements were placed in the local press and numerous hockey websites around the world, from Canada to Australia and from Argentina to China.
"We would like to express our thanks to all those hockey organisations that placed our job description on their club or country website," Jamie added.
"Without the help of these organisations it is unlikely that we would have had the number and depth of applications we received.
"We had over 20 applications from places as far away as Argentina, Australia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Africa, and number from within the UK and Ireland."
In the end, experience and qualifications are what made the difference and David Purchase, currently based in London was appointed to the post.
"David recognises the important investment in coaching from an early age and has very successfully run primary and post primary coaching sessions, before, during and after school hours," Jamie explained.
"It is hoped that schools in the Ballymena area will be willing to take part in these in the coming school year."
Last season saw the return of men's hockey to Ballymena with two teams being fielded and both performed well.
Both teams finished fifth in their leagues, with the 2nd XI also winning the Strabane Cup.
Purchase has hit the ground running since his arrival in the province in July and pre-season started shortly after he took up the job.
Obviously a man who means business!