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Hockey devotee honoured with OAM

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Oxley Park’s Marina Gaye Laverty has scored one of the biggest field goals of her life being awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her service to hockey.

“When I first saw that someone had written in, I don’t think humble is the right word because I just thought ‘wow’,” she laughed.

Since becoming involved with hockey in 1973, Ms Laverty has given her time as a coach and player to Canterbury Women’s Hockey Association, Parramatta Women’s Hockey Association and Western Districts Hockey Association and Nepean Hockey Association.

Since playing the game when she was 11-years-old, Ms Laverty has seen the game grow and develop through time.

“There’s been a lot of changes with hockey, both growth and fall,” she said.

“I’m from a multicultural background so it wasn’t a norm at that time. It was a family thing, all the girls in the family played.

“I enjoy the game for what the game is, I don’t make it too complicated.”

Coming from a low socio-economic background, the game provided her with freedom to travel and meet new people.

“As low socio, you never really got a chance to go places or meet people with your parents, but the sport gave me opportunities to do that,” she said.

“Some of the players I played with when I was younger and travelling to tournaments, their kids are actually playing now. There are a number of generations that are actually involved.

“The game is about the people you see, the people and the kids that develop.

“I love seeing a kid’s face change and their parents reactions as they become able to do something and enjoy something.”

While spending countless hours sharing her love of hockey with her community, Ms Laverty was also a member of the Army Reserves for 20 years.

“While I did hockey, I was also in the Reserves,” she said.

“They assisted me a lot to be able to do what I did. My unit would allow me to have time off to be able to attend tournaments.”

She encourages anyone interested in taking up a sport to give hockey a go.

“It’s a non-pressure sport, I’ve seen and coached many players who don’t have necessarily the skill but they’re involved in something they enjoy,” she said.

“They might not be able to hit a ball, but each week they might improve, and that’s it, it’s just about going out and having a go.”