Eddie Ockenden is the current star of the men’s field hockey team. With an amazing 358 caps he has 158 caps more than the next experienced player, Matthew Swann. He has scored 78 goals from his midfield position.
The great Australian player Jamie Dwyer was so impressed by Ockenden he said in 2015:
“I think my record will be broken one day by Eddie Ockenden (231 games by age 27).
“But to hold it for a while will be a great honour.”
The 32 year old Tasmanian is now a triple Olympian with two World Cup, two World League, three Commonwealth Games and seven Champions Trophy triumphs. Eddie is humble about his great record. He said:
“It’s been a remarkable time and I’ve been very lucky to be in a very successful era in men’s hockey in Australia and on reflection I’d like to think I’d been some part of that. But you do ask yourself ‘would it be the same if I wasn’t there?’ They probably would have been just as successful but you just hope you can contribute.
When Eddie first gained recognition with the Australian team in 2008, he was a skillful striker. Before his selection in the 2008 Olympics squad, Ockenden had already caught the attention of the more established Kookaburras as a bright-eyed 21-year-old, with pace and scorching skills. ”What he can do on the field is what other players don’t do or can’t do. It’s a nightmare when you’re a defender,” teammate David Guest said in 2008.
His role changed as he approached his 30’s where he became a play maker midfield, maestro. These days he’s been pulled back into a play making defender.
His eyes are now firmly set on the Japan 2020 Olympics. Having captained his country to a Pro League victory over Germany in his home town in February 2019 his aspirations are improving on the OZ’s team’s last two Olympic team bronzes.
An Impressive Record at National Level has Cemented his star Status in Australia
Eddie was the youngest player in the Australian team when they picked up bronze at the 2008. Eddie scored two goals against the highly rated Dutch team. Then, In 2009, he won a gold medal at the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy competition. The following year he was part of the Kookaburra team that won gold at the Commonwealth games. His coach, Ric Charlesworth said his performance at the Games as “exceptional,” as they steamrollered India in front of a home crowd.
In 2010, Eddie won a gold medal at the World Cup, beating germany and scoring in a 2-1 victory. In 2011, he won a gold medal in the Champions Trophy, scoring a goal in the golden medal final.
With his and the Kokkaburra’s focus on Tokyo 2020 the maestro was motivated. He said recently:
“You win the Olympics in a certain year but really you win it in the 18 months leading up to that. Your preparation, learning, training and team building, you can’t do that in just a few months.”
For so many years he was Australia’s golden boy with a bright future. In 2008, he was honoured by being named the Young Player of the Year by the International Hockey Federation. However now, more than ever, he shapes as the man of the moment.
Will this be the year the maestro helps guide Australia to Gold success and even win international FIH player of the year. He has the armoury of skills and experience to do exactly that.