Celebrating National Volunteer Week with Hockey's Brent Brown

Published Fri 24 May 2024

Volunteers are the heart and soul of grassroots sport in Queensland and beyond, and this National Volunteer Week, Qsport is celebrating all those who give their time, energy and effort to make a difference in our communities.

Winner of the 2023 Brisbane City Council Queensland Sport Volunteer of the Year Award, Brent Brown is a steadfast volunteer well known for his selfless and continuous contributions to hockey on both a local and national level.

For Brent, whose family was involved in the sport for generations, picking up a hockey stick at a young age was almost inevitable.

“Hockey for me has always been a great family sport. My parents both played, they were coaches, managers and umpires, so some of my earliest memories are being the tag along to lots of different hockey trips,” he said.

“I started playing from a young age and was inspired to start volunteering after seeing the example that my family set. I think I realised quite early on that we could get out there and play because of the volunteers, and so I wanted to do my part for the sport that my family all loved.”

His love for the sport and urge to give back only grew as he did.

“I was really excited when I picked up my first whistle to umpire at 11 years old. I enjoyed doing my part to help other people play and get involved in the sport, and I suppose that’s where my love for volunteering began,” said Brown.

“Over the years I’ve been a team manager, have umpired at various local fixtures each week and held various other technical positions. I’ve been lucky enough to be appointed to some national boards and really immerse myself in the hockey world.

“I now volunteer in the technical officiating space, and it’s been fantastic to gain some really great life experiences and meet people from all over the world. It’s also allowed me to shift into more of a mentoring space which I’m very excited about.

“Sport is such an important aspect of my life and it’s so integral to the culture in Queensland. As I’ve grown older and wiser it really has become more and more about providing opportunities for people to enjoy the sport and help the sport grow,” he said.

Having worked in a wide variety of roles since he picked up his first whistle, Brent believes volunteering is made more special by the community you meet and work with.

“It’s the people that really keep me coming back for sure. I’ve had opportunities to work with people from all around Australia as well as from other countries and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to learn more about them and hear their stories. The people are definitely the best part,” he said.

For Brent, volunteering has always been more special due to his family's involvement.

"My family is very much still involved in the sport which makes it even more special. We recently went to the Women's Masters State Championships in April and both myself and my Mum were team managers, my dad was a coach, my youngest brother and his wife were volunteer umpires and their six month old essentially became our very cute team mascot.

There’s a Sunshine Coast service award which is part of that Masters community in Queensland and while the award has only been given out nine times, there are five Brown’s who have received it. For us it’s a real family affair and volunteering all together really has brought us some of our great family moments and happiest memories."

Brent could not be a bigger advocate for volunteering, noting there’s a role out there for everyone.

“For me, it’s about finding what ignites that fire in your belly. There’s so many different ways you can volunteer, whether it’s working with people through coaching or managing teams, or baking for the canteen at your local sporting association.

“There’s so many different ways to be involved and give back, just make sure you find a way that is rewarding for you so you get the enjoyment out of it too.”