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Hockey star the toast of Tassie

Eddie OckendenTHE hockey player with the Midas touch capped off a perfect campaign last night as Eddie Ockenden was named Tasmanian athlete of the year.
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A perennial finalist in the annual award, the 27-year-old Kookaburra gratefully accept the accolade in his home town of Hobart before jetting off to India for the latest date in his globe-trotting schedule.

Ockenden, who triumphed from a top-class group of sports champions, will be hoping to add next week’s Champions Trophy to his 2014 list of triumphs, which already includes Australia’s successful World Cup, Azlan Shah and Commonwealth Games defences before Tasmania’s historic maiden Australian Hockey League crown.

The skillful midfielder was pivotal to each of those successes, scoring in three of the four finals, being named player of the tournament at the World Cup and AHL and captaining his state to its breakthrough first national title.

Ockenden said the award was a wonderful end to a ‘‘remarkable’’ year.

‘‘This is a great award and I’m really glad that they’ve been making a big deal of it because it’s great for Tasmanian sport and it’s great to win it,’’ he said.

‘‘I think this year’s award is very high quality and it’s fantastic to see so many Tasmanians going so well around the world.

‘‘I get a lot of support from Tasmania and I’m a very proud Tasmanian. You never forget where you come from and it’s great to be able to get home, even if it’s only for 24 hours.’’

Watched by his parents, Ockenden was presented with the award by Premier Will Hodgman at the New Town Bay Rowing Club, joining cyclists Richie Porte and Matt Goss and boxer Daniel Geale on an illustrious honour role.

The strength of this year’s award was demonstrated by the finalists — Ockenden’s fellow Kookaburra Tim Deavin, 30, who also shared the World Cup and AHL successes; state and national cricket captain George Bailey, 32; Hawthorn’s triple-premiership-winning defender Grant Birchall, 26; track world cycling champ Amy Cure, 21; and Commonwealth Games bronze medal-winning javelin thrower Hamish Peacock, 24.

Mr Hodgman said the finalists had dominated their chosen fields.

‘‘It has been a stellar year for many Tasmanian athletes on the national and international stage, proving we can produce world-class athletes capable of being the world’s best,’’ he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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