Family sticks together
WHEN it comes to family connections, hockey is one of Ipswich's leading sports.
You don't have to look far to see a network of brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins, parents, uncles and aunts playing and coaching.
But how many clubs in any regional sport have a mum, two identical twins and a niece lining up in one side?
Collegians Hockey Club does.
Dedicated club supporter Michelle O'Connor is part of Collegians' R2 side, which includes her 17-year-old daughters Kate and Laura, and Michelle's niece Teleah McPeake.
"It's very family-orientated," Michelle said of Ipswich competition club Collegians.
"We do a lot of fundraising to try and keep our junior fees down so that most families can afford to play."
O'Connor recently won an Ipswich Hockey Association merit award for 15 years service in coaching, playing, umpiring, administration and voluntary work.
However, the Collegians' life member is most satisfied sharing matches each week with her twins and other family members at the club.
A few seasons ago, her sister Carol and another niece Kimberley were involved with the team.
"We try to make each game as funny as we can, keep the enjoyment in it," Michelle said.
In the R2 team, Michelle is fullback, Kate is goalkeeper and Laura is a winger.
The identical twins were born five minutes apart.
"They've very similar," the mum said of her daughters who turn 18 in June.
Michelle has coached the twins from minkey through to C-grade and into R2.
"We have our moments," she smiled.
"Kate yells at me a fair bit being a fullback and we both yell at Laura."
But as she laughs about the fun they have, Michelle is planning to step aside as a regular R2 player this season to let younger girls play. She'll sit on the bench and spend more time in A2.
"I've always played hockey since I was six year old so it's just natural," said Michelle, who originally came from Maryborough.
Collegians beat Thistles 2-1 in last Saturday's R2 game.