A lasting tribute for Ewan

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A Queenstown sports stalwart who died last year in a tragic accident is to be honoured with a new hockey trophy.
The Maxwell Cup is named after Ewan Maxwell and his wife Jan – who have devoted years to Queenstown sports clubs. 

Ewan, 55, was killed after falling down a cliff while hunting in South Westland more than 12 months ago. 

The father-of-five was famous for his gregarious nature and bringing Queenstowners together through sport. 

A popular coach, player and manager at Queenstown Hockey Club and Millbrook Cricket Club, he was also an active member in Rotary. 

The new annual social summer hockey tournament starts next Thursday evening, with teams battling for the Maxwell Cup. 

Jan says: “It’s a really nice gesture. 

“Ewan would have loved it, although he probably would have said ‘No’. 

“He played for Otago and Southland in his younger days and the university, so hockey has always been a big part of both our lives. 

“That’s how we met. He was my hockey coach, would you believe, while I was at teachers’ college. 

“Over the years, he was really involved in coaching, playing himself and organising. We met a lot of great people.” 

The five-a-side tournament in their name will be held at Frankton’s tennis courts over eight weeks, with players randomly assigned to new teams. Next year it will run both sides of Christmas. 

Tournament organiser James Denniston says: “It’s appropriate it’s a social competition as Ewan was known for being very social. 

“I’d known him for years. He got me into both cricket and hockey, like lots of others. It was all very sad last year. 

“The cup is named after the Maxwell family, because both Ewan and Jan have given so much to local sport over the years.” 

Denniston hopes the competition will grow in stature in the coming years – parti­cularly if a permanent Queenstown hockey ground is built. Queenstown Hockey Club currently plays its league games in Cromwell. 

“There’s land currently occupied by [Frankton] golf course and we’re gunning for that,” Denniston says. 

“A Queenstown turf will cost about $1.5 million but it would triple our membership and we’re happy to fundraise. 

“The tournament is open to everybody from current players to past players, partners, to anyone who wants to give it a go.” 

The day after Ewan’s funeral last year, members of the Millbrook Cricket Club and Queenstown Central Pelicans played each other in a celebration match. 

The Pelicans were presented with the Ewan Maxwell Good Bugger’s Trophy.