THE WINDS of change continue to blow through Hawthorn with former Australian Super boss Ian Silk elected to the board at Tuesday night's annual general meeting.
Silk, who had the support of the slickly organised and thousands-strong Hawks 4 Change grassroots movement, is now in the frame to become the next president of the club, with incumbent Jeff Kennett agreeing to make way for a board-approved replacement sometime after June 30 next year.
"I am incredibly humbled and excited at the opportunity to serve the Hawthorn Football Club. I thank all of you who supported my candidacy and everyone who participated in our democratic process," Silk said in a statement.
"I have always said that I would engage on behalf of members, that we should pursue excellence in all we do in our quest for on and off-field success, and most importantly ensure that we live the 'family club' values. I am looking forward to continuing to work towards these commitments at board level."
Incumbent Tim Shearer was re-elected to the board, and will carry on heading up the fund-raising for the Kennedy Community Centre at Dingley, which opens in 2023. Lawyer Jennifer Holdstock didn’t succeed in her bid to join the board.
Kennett told the meeting that while it had been a difficult year for the club, he was excited about the future, with favourite son Sam Mitchell the new senior coach replacing Alastair Clarkson.
He reiterated what a tough call it had been to replace the four-time premiership coach, but in response to a question from a member, said it had been a unanimous decision. "We don’t vote; we have fairly robust discussions but we came to a consensual decision."
Kennett said that if business conditions returned to something close pre-COVID levels in 2022, then the club would be in a better position to progress its goal of getting out of the pokies business.
"We do have to think about the financial ramifications for the club and to find replacement income," he said.
"Poker machines have been a vexed issue for the club and we take it seriously. If we return to normality, we will be able to report good news in 12 months."
He also said the Tasmanian sponsorship deal would roll into next year, but the club had big decisions to make after that as Tasmania moved closer to having an AFL team of its own.
Mitchell knows the big shoes he has to fill to replace Clarkson.
"We all acknowledge and thank you I am very fortunate to take over your legacy at our fantastic football club," he said.
"There’s a lot of work to do. We are not where we want to be as a football club right now, but there are a lot of people working very hard to get us to where we want to be."
The Hawks announced on Tuesday night that three-time premiership skipper and 302-game player Don Scott had changed his mind and had now accepted the invitation to become a Legend of the club. The formal ceremony will take place at an event next year.
Club captain Ben McEvoy was awarded life membership.