Westside Wolves Hockey Club was formed in 1987 with the merger of the Grads Womens Hockey Club, Cricketers Hockey Club, Old Scotch Collegians Hockey Club and the Christ Church Hockey Club.
The club is one of the largest in Perth and is based at Cresswell Park in Swanbourne, Western Australia. The club fields senior teams in both mens and women's competitions from First Grade to Veterans. The club has an extensive junior program (with a total of 33 Junior teams in 1998 plus Minkey) for boys and girls.
The emergence of the Wolves was the product of a casual conversation between Graeme Walter, then President of Cricketers, and Neil McKerracher, President of Claremont Collegians. Those two clubs were quite different in nature.
Cricketers was easily the strongest men's hockey club in Australia at its time, boasting a number of Australian captains and many State and Australian players. Some of them appear on this page and many obvious examples spring to mind including Ric Charlesworth and Craig Davies as captains of Australia and
innumerable Australian players including Bob Andrew, Graham Walter and Peter Haselhurst in more recent times.
Claremont Collegians, on the other hand, was then only three years old but was an amalgamation formed of two very old Western Australian hockey clubs, the Old Scotch Collegians Hockey Club and Christ Church Hockey Club (as well as the Mosman Park Hockey Club). The forte of Claremont Collegians was in organisation and administration as well as a secure financial basis.
While both Cricketers and Claremont Collegians had women's team, they did not have strong women's teams. The logical choice was to look for the strongest women's club, which inevitably lead to an approach being made to Grads. The power base behind Grads was then Moya Weston but Grads also had boasted many very proficient players including Australian representatives.
Discussions took place in late 1986 and almost immediately the committees of the respective clubs started taking the matter seriously. In the heady days of the 80's corporate mergers, there was an optimistic view about the whole prospective exercise even though a total history of well in excess of one hundred and fifty years was to be lost.
In very early 1987, a mass outdoor meeting attended by members of all of the clubs was held at Creswell Park, Swanbourne - now home of the Wolves. At this meeting the pros and cons were squarely put to the members for their consideration.
Perhaps surprisingly in hindsight, given all the history that had accumulated with the clubs, the vote to proceed with a merger and formation of a new club was carried unanimously and with acclaim.
An initial committee was put together with Neil McKerracher being appointed President of the new body. The first exercise was to work out the name and colours of the club. Rather than endeavour to do this on an amateur basis, professionals were appointed and without any input from the other clubs other than to indicate the style of club (a winning one!), the name and the colours were recommended by the experts and adopted by the club.
In its first year of operation, Westside Wolves boasted fifty-five teams plus hundreds of Minkey players. Since that time in 1987, it has won numerous premierships, including premierships in the Classic League and First Division for men and women respectively - in a competition which is and has been the best club competition in the world.
It has even achieved the remarkable feat of winning both the Byrne and Judge Trophy and the Kyle Rutter Trophy in the one year - for the greatest success overall in both senior and junior male ranks. Forty-eight teams are now fielded each weekend under a sound and sophisticated structure.
Importantly, Wolves have developed a profound juniors base which in turn is fed by a Minkey competition in which literally thousands of juniors have participated and have been fed both into Westside Wolves clubs and other clubs within the Western Suburbs region of Western Australia. Every Saturday morning, numbers in excess of six hundred young Minkey players have been common in the club's first twelve years of operation.
The current generation of juniors knows only of Wolves. Cricketers, Grads and the Old Boys clubs are something only occasionally mentioned in nostalgic reminiscing by parents and seniors. Every hockey club in Western Australia will have its ups and downs from time to time, but one of the true strengths and style of Wolves is the belief in the development of the home grown product from the juniors onwards. Although players from other clubs have been attracted to play with Wolves, the belief is that the ongoing success of the club can only be guaranteed by developing from within.