Anthony • 15 mins

Olympic hockey dad happy to watch his kids enjoy the game

posted on 5 December, 2017

Edward and Phoebe York are both talented hockey players like their father, Michael York, who played for Australia at four Olympic Games, but their progress will always be centred around having fun above anything else.

The pair are representing ACT at the 2017 Pacific School Games in Adelaide from December 3 – 9 as they continue to develop their skills while playing for their school and receiving some guidance from dad.

York senior played 281 times for his country and was captain of the Kookaburras at the Sydney 2000 Olympics where the team won a bronze medal, adding to his silver and bronze medals won in Barcelona and Atlanta.

“Even though I had stopped playing hockey by the time my kids were born, they were introduced to hockey through junior clinics and competitions I supported,” York said.

“I guess they liked what they saw.

“I hope playing hockey will always be more about having fun than anything else, but I can see they are both keen to do well and are working hard to get better.

“Often having fun can lead to getting better and getting better can be fun.”

Over 4000 students from 10 countries will participate in the 10th edition of the Games that has hosted former participants including basketball player Patty Mills, swimmers Kyle Chalmers, Emma McKeon and Ian Thorpe along with track stars Cathy Freeman and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor.

York, a former star defender, is originally from Tamworth and in 2015 was inducted into the Hockey Australia Hall of Fame for his playing career that also included a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1998.

“I think they (Edward and Phoebe) can appreciate my achievements, they have seen my Olympic medals,” York explained.

“Although there is not much footage of me available on YouTube for them to watch me in action – my playing days were pre-digital.

“They are very interested in the Australian teams in general and keep track of current competitions the teams are involved in.”

Both children attend Daramalan College in Canberra and play hockey for their school with Edward just starting to also play senior hockey for the Wests Hockey Club.

He will play in the under 16s today against Victoria at 11:00am (ACDT), while Phoebe against South Australia this morning. The hockey competition runs through the week and finishes on Saturday, 9 December.

“Both kids have begun their hockey career as defenders, however, my son has now moved to playing as a forward,” York said.

“I have taken on coaching teams that my kids are involved in and I also talk to them about things I see from the sideline as a parent spectator.

“I differ from both of them, as I did not make a state team until I was a 16-year-old, but I see many similarities in where they are as players now and myself at that age especially wanting to always be hitting a ball around.”

The 10th Pacific School Games are proudly supported by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.