With a win under their belts, the Brisbane Goannas are turning more than a few heads in Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League circles and Tracy Hocutt is a large part of the reason why. Craig Tonks goes 1 on 1 with the Goannas’ forward.
Craig Tonks:: When did you start playing ice hockey?
Tracy Hocutt:: I started playing a few years after I finished university. I was living in California and I went with my friend to watch her boyfriend’s team play. After the game we were walking out and I said to her “That looks like so much fun. I’d love to do that.” The hockey director was walking behind us and he heard me and he signed me up right then and there. I had no gear so I went out and bought all the stuff I needed for $300 all up. I got everything used except my skates – $60 Nike Ignite 6’s (Terrible but hey they were only $60). I rocked up to my first game and started playing ice hockey within the week. I was so bad, but I was right… it was a LOT of fun.
CT:: What do you love about the sport
TH:: The thing I love most is the people. Most of the people I’ve met in the sport are just super fun, kind of quirky, smart, interesting and generally awesome people. I love my team mates and all the shenanigans they get themselves into.
Another beautiful thing about the sport is the infinite learning curve and the jumps you make as a developing player – It’s a tough sport and it feels really good when you get to another stage and realise you’ve improved in a noticeable way. When players that once intimidated you don’t look so great anymore, you are improving.
CT:: What was your journey through the junior ranks
TH:: I didn’t even play my first hockey game until my mid-twenties.
CT:: Is there anyone who has been a major influence on your career
TH: I’d have to say Tamra Jones has been a big part of my hockey development in Australia. She’s the only hockey coach I’ve ever played for and has helped me improve tremendously with trainings and camps and making suggestions about how I approach the games. Playing for the Goannas this year has been a giant step in development for me as the games are so fast compared to general recreational hockey. Now I have to work on my hands a bit as she says I am not blessed with soft hands, so I have to prove her wrong.
CT:: What has been your own career highlight
TH:: I scored my first AWIHL goal this year. It was a hack-a-thon goal against Melbourne and it took me three whacks to get the puck in the net, but it finally went in. I would have celebrated it a bit more but I was tired by then.
CT:: Is it important to put back into the sport.
TH:: I think in Australia especially it is important to put back into the sport. I know I am not shocking anybody by saying there isn’t a massive Ice Hockey following in Australia. It’s going, but I wouldn’t say it is thriving, especially not in Brisbane. It is going to be up to the people who are involved with ice hockey in Australia today to shape what the sport landscape looks like in 10 years. Will there be more rinks and players? Will there be improvement in the quality of Australian Ice Hockey Internationally? Ultimately it is up to us to plan what we want it to be like and work to make it happen.
CT:: Who is your favourite hockey player or team to watch play (here or overseas)
TH:: My favourite team is the Chicago Blackhawks. And have you seen them this year? They are tearing it up! Patrick Kane is currently my favourite player on a team full of my favourite players.
CT:: What are your goals for this season
TH:: Well the big goal for this season was Win a Game. There has been a pretty big W drought for the Goannas and so it was important for the team to get a good old-fashioned win. That has been achieved this weekend. Personally, I also wanted to score a goal. I played in the AWIHL a couple of seasons a few years ago and didn’t score so I wanted to at least get a goal. That’s been done too. The goal now is to go to finals and win the competition. I’m sure everyone has that goal, but that’s the bottom line for me.
CT:: Any advice for young girls out there striving to make it to the AWIHL
TH:: Play as much hockey as you can and have fun! If it’s not fun for you, you won’t want to keep doing it – so make sure you take time to enjoy yourself and have fun with your team mates.
by Craig Tonks
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