Bitzers Hockey Team.

Wednesday 9 November

by Georgia Schampers

ONE of the marvellous aspects of this years’ Pan Pacific Masters Games is the effort teams and players are putting in to show their true colours.

But the Bitzers hockey team’s millinery efforts are next level.

Since 2010, Julie-Ann Bourke, 50, has made over 75 unique hats for her Gold Coast team mates, each year featuring their team colours and a quirky design.

The creations take six months to make and are kept a closely guarded secret until game day.

“There was no real idea behind the hats, but we just wanted something a bit stupid and funny for the girls,” Julie-Ann said.  

“The ideas come to me through the year and I take inspiration from many things, but I add my own twist.”

Bitzer, Lisa Boulton, 40, says the women look forward to the headpieces each year which have become a very special part of the games for them. 

“The hats really make us feel like a team. I love the hats and it’s what I look forward to every games,” Lisa said.

However this year’s reveal of the Mad Hatter-inspired range was slightly problematic.

“This time I told the girls they had to meet in the carpark because the hats were too big for any bag, and they were so excited!,” Julie-Ann said. 

If there any mishaps during the games the women are experienced in repairing their accessories.

They just fire up the hairdryer and melt the glue to fix them up again.

Over the years the Bitzer hats have featured fairytale designs, joker-bells and even pig trotters, but most importantly, the hats attract people to the ladies. 

“Each Pan Pacs we raise money for a different charity and the hats are a talking point for people, so we do get a lot of donations; this year’s charity raises awareness of domestic violence,” Julie-Ann shared.

The team name ‘Bitzers’ came about as the ladies are, according to Lisa, all from “a bit of that team and a bit of that club.”

And while the Bitzer ladies aren’t in it to win it, they share a love of hockey and socialising.

“It doesn’t really bother us if we win or lose, we just come to have fun, have a laugh all together and enjoy some entertainment,” Lisa said.

While it’s Julie who makes the final call on hat designs, the team have already got some ideas for next year.

“We want a hat with drink holders and a long straw, so there will be no player substituting required during matches, but we won’t be saying what beverage will be going in there!” Lisa said.

 The women have assured their fans that they will see them in 2020.

In the meantime, they can catch them at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre on Saturday for the finals.

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