By Dylan J. Stone
Donna-Lee Wynen is a hockey player on a mission. This week the Broken Hill-based player is in Cairns taking part in the Hockey Australia Masters 2022 Women’s National Championships, a competition for women 34 years and older, including teams made up of players who are often 65-plus years old.
“Every state is represented here,” Donna-Lee says, including a South Australia and Tasmania alliance team.
“Hockey SA favours regional players and takes into consideration the fact that regional people can play, and because they cannot always fill the teams, they established an alliance with Tasmania to ensure a full team can play at the Championships,” says Donna-Lee.
“I’ll be representing the over 60s team, even though I’m not 60 just yet,” she says.
“In our team, we have eight Adelaide-based players, three regional SA-based players, myself from Broken Hill, then two Mildura players, two from Tasmania, and a Darwin-based player, and our coach is from Wentworth.”
While this team has a collection of players from different regions, because there are more SA players than others, they play in the SA uniform.
Hockey has always been in Donna-Lee’s blood. She’s been playing the sport since she was 12.
“When I first moved to White Cliffs in 1988, I drove to Broken Hill regularly to play hockey. But when I hit a Roo on the way home from hockey one day, that ended my hockey driving until I moved to Broken Hill in 2013.”
With 45 years of hockey experience under her belt, Donna-Lee says she’s seen the game change a lot.
“It’s got much faster and the tactics are different now,” she says.
“Because of the changes in the game, I signed-up to the Hockey Performance Academy (HPA) in 2021 under former Olympian Lauren Penny, and this program covers players mindset, tactics, fitness, and skills.”
So good is the training, no less than nine players coming out of HPA Australia will be taking part in this fortnight’s Championships in Cairns.
Donna-Lee credits the HPA with her recent success in being picked for a spot at the National Championships.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I wasn’t on the program. HPA has given me direction and guidance.”
The program, she says, has ensured she can continue to travel the country for hockey, including to Dubbo in March for a three-day competition, and to Bordertown for the Tatiara Masters Games in April, and then for the SA
Alliance selection trials in Adelaide. This is on top of regular trips to Mildura to play hockey.
“I urge anyone who has a dream or goal to pursue it,” says Donna-Lee.
“Just because you live in the outback doesn’t mean your dream isn’t attainable. You can do anything if you want to, you can have a goal and make it come true, but you need to take those steps along the way.”