Taranaki hockey representative Lloyd McLoughlin is heading off to Europe for a stint playing and coaching.
The job, in the Netherlands, is a golden opportunity to not only hone his own hockey skills, but also make a decent living from the sport he enjoys.
McLoughlin, 24, is expected in the Netherlands to start a four-month contract working as a player-coach for third division club MHC Bommelerwaard next week.
MHC Bommelerwaard is based in Amsterdam and has 570 registered members.
"I've got to be over there by the 15th of February," McLoughlin said. "It's a four-month contract and runs until mid-June.
"I'll be playing in the club's top team and also coaching three junior sides and helping run a primary schools sports project in the city."
McLoughlin played a full season of hockey in Ireland last year for the Corinthians Hockey Club in Dublin and enjoyed the experience. He said it whetted his appetite for more travel so he posted his CV on a hockey forum on the web, which led to his latest job offer.
It would be hard to find a better place in the world to play hockey for someone like McLoughlin, wanting to further hone his skills as a player and coach.
The Netherlands women's XI is No 1 in the world, while the men are third.
"I'll learn a load over there," McLoughlin said. "Even when I went to Ireland, I learned to play a different style of hockey so this is going up to another level."
McLoughlin said the club that had employed him had promised to introduce him to two first division sides during his stint in Holland. He is hoping that could lead to a job next year with a first division club.
McLoughlin played hockey last season for his old school, New Plymouth Boys' High School, and was also co-coach with David Stones of the 1st XI.
"It was a good opportunity to get some coaching experience under the belt and I've also been working for David as a barman at the Good Home restaurant and bar."
McLoughlin represented his province against Manawatu in the Central League competition in the latter part of last season, but it was a less than memorable experience.
"We got beaten 12-1 and I'm a striker, so didn't get a lot of ball to shine," McLoughlin recalled.
His goal is to one day make the Central NHL side to play in the national competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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