The longevity of any hockey player has to be admired at all times – and when a player has featured in 400 international appearances it does speak volumes about his discipline and committment to the sport. Sailing in the same boat is Australian attacking-midfielder Eddie Ockenden, who became the seventh men’s hockey player to make 400 international appearances during the second Test match against Australia at the MATE Stadium in Adelaide.
Interestingly, Ockenden, is the first Kookaburras player to join the 400-cap club. The others in the illustrious 400-cap club are Netherlands’ Jeroen Delmee (401 caps), Pakistan’s Waseem Ahmed (410 caps), India’s Dilip Tirkey (412 caps), Great Britain’s Barry Middleton (432 caps), Belgium’s John-John Dohmen (435 caps), and Netherlands’ Teun de Nooijer (453 caps).
The 35-year-old Tasmanian started his playing career as a forward before transforming into a midfielder and made his senior international debut against Malaysia during the 2006 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh. The hockey talents of Ockenden came to the fore early in his career – he was recognised as the 2008 FIH Young Player of the Year.
The vastly experienced Kookaburras player, who turns out for Tassie Tigers in Hockey One (Australia’s domestic hockey league that replaced the earlier Australian Hockey League), has scaled several ‘highs’ as a member of the Australian men’s hockey team – he was part of the national team that won the 2010 World Cup and 2014 World Cup at New Delhi and The Hague respectively. The midfielder was also part of the bronze-winning Australian team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The midfielder also won four consecutive gold medal for the Kookaburras at the Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014, 2018, & 2022). That’s not all, he has made as many as nine Champions Trophy appearances for Australia and clinching the gold medal twice in 2009 and 2011. He represented Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League.
Ockenden not just helps out the midfielders and forwards in creating goal-scoring opportunities but also scored 72 international goals. The Tasmanian lad loves to dazzle on the big occasion – he scored two crucial goals to help Australia clinch the bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics drubbing Netherlands 6-2. Ockenden gave the Kookaburras an early lead in their 2-1 win over Spain in the 2010 World Cup final at New Delhi – at the 2011 Champions Trophy at Auckland, it was Ockenden’s late goal that gave them a solitary goal victory over Spain.