MORAY'S Quasar club has achieve the gold standard in the Scottish Hockey Union's club accreditation programme – one of only four in the country to do so.
A pilot scheme designed to support the work of Scottish clubs aiming to be the best they can be was introduced last year by the sport's governing body.
Quasar weren't one of the trial clubs but head coach and founder member Pete Bavidge and his committee jumped the gun by ensuring they met all the criteria before the scheme was opened nationwide.
The Moray club immediately gained silver status, then gold a couple of months later, supported by regional development officer Kevin McNab – who advised them on each step they needed to make as part of the programme.
Greenock Morton, Uddingston and Western Wildcats, who were involved in the programme's trials, are the only other clubs in Scotland to get gold.
Quasar, who train every Wednesday evening at Elgin Academy, had to reach the standard required in areas such as child protection, first aid, coaching, training and match arrangements to gain each award.
Bavidge, who helped form the club in 1995, said: "When the SHU brought this out a number of clubs were trialing it and when I saw everything that was needed to meet the standard I knew we already had most of it in place sSo myself and a number of people in the club just had to pull together and put in place all the right policies and procedures.
"What gold status means is we can put it on our website and advertising stuff and it gives people who want to join the club a comfort feeling that we are doing all the right things as a club."
Quasar is a registered charity and enters male and female teams in the north district league at under-12, 14, 16 and 18 levels. They also have a women's team, with plans to reintroduce a men's team next season incorporating a mix of adults and youth players.
The club has attracted several members from Keith and Huntly, who travel to Elgin every week for training and even take the train through if they cannot get a lift from parents.
One area where the club has been unsuccessful is in securing sponsorship to help meet training hire costs and travel to the Aberdeen area, where all of their away matches are played.
Training nights cost are more than £100 a night so over 36 weeks that's £3600 they have to find.