For Kurt Lovett, there was no greater idol growing up than Australian hockey superstar Eddie Ockenden.
And when the pair finally united on the field - with Ockenden serving as Lovett’s captain - it was largely a dream come true for the 24-year-old.
The Grays athlete joined Ockenden on the field just before COVID-19 struck in 2020, marking a journey that all begun back in Parkes, New South Wales.
“I first played hockey back in Parks in my home town. I started when I was about 10,” he told grayshockey.com.au.
My mum was very into the hockey side of things and I fell into it and just loved it. I played rep teams from Under 13s and up for NSW, played my first AHL in 2016 and from there junior squads and Junior World Cup in 2016 and then development squads.
“Eventually at the end of 2019 I was selected for the Kookaburras and then made my debut. I’ve always loved it, get around my mates.”
Ockenden was a player always on Lovett’s radar as he aspired to reach the top.
“I grew up as a young kid watching him play and aspire to make the Kookaburras like he was playing. So I was lucky enough to play with him and call him my captain,” he said.
“It was unreal (to debut for the Kookaburras), it has been a lifelong goal for a long time. I worked hard for a lot of years to achieve it and I was lucky and fortunate enough to run out in front of my family in Sydney. It was amazing.”
COVID-19 forced Lovett to head back home and refine his fitness and conditioning in order to press his case for Kookaburras selection.
“(My) short-term goal is to play in the Hockey One with the NSW Pride and again take that out. We took the first one out, but excited for that to go ahead.”
As for his most memorable moment, Lovett noted “it would have to be my debut for Australia against Great Britain. It was unreal, but it’s closely followed by my Junior World Cup Semi-Final in India, against India. Great crowd and the atmosphere was amazing.”
Lovett is currently using the KN 10 Jumbo Grays hockey stick and has been a #GraysAthlete for nearly four years.
“My favourite thing about this stick is its bow. It’s just below the probow and it gives me that lowboy for my 3D skills and any aerial skills and dragging. The touch is great,” he noted.
“The Grays family have always looked after me, but most importantly I just love the Grays products. No matter what you get you know it’s going to be top notch and they look after you when you’re on the pitch.”