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Family teams up for the love of hockey

Ioane family
Sport has always been a team effort for the Ioane family (left to right): Jo, Maree, Amy, and Nico.

24 Jan 2018

What has the Ioane family from Mudgee NSW and school children on the Polynesian island of Samoa got in common? A love of hockey and getting it recognised as the “sport of the week” on Samoan sports television!

The Ioane family’s love of hockey led them and their team 4,400 km away from Mudgee to the island nation and after one week of coaching Samoan school children to play hockey, the family then helped the local hockey federation organise its first ever school hockey carnival. Nico umpired, Jo coached, and their daughters Marie and Amy played in a team.

So successful were their efforts to promote the game and increase participation rates that hockey was declared “sport of the week” on Samoan sports television – a big achievement considering the island hosted its first rugby league test match and a local boxer, Joseph Parker – won a bout, in the very same week!

“Playing sport was a way for us to return to Samoa and do something positive to help the people there, which is something we always wanted to do,” Jo Ioane said.

Sport has always been a team effort for the Ioane family.

“Sport has always been a great way for our family to spend time together and create some really great family memories,” Jo said. “It’s an easy way for us to achieve our physical activity targets each week – we train a few times a week and then play hockey together.”

“Nico and I coach our children’s teams which means we have a chance to get to know their peers and friends. How people behave on the sporting field is often a good indication of their character.”

Both Jo and Nico were heavily involved in sports as children playing a variety of different sports, including: rugby, volleyball, softball, gymnastics, netball, cricket and hockey!

“My parents always encouraged my brother and I to play team sports, because of the life lessons they teach you,” Jo said. “Being part of a team teaches children how to relate to other people, how to handle winning and losing graciously, and develops character traits like perseverance and resilience.”

Maree (13 years) and Amy (9 years) have followed in their parents’ footsteps, also playing a variety of sports but it’s the family’s collective love of hockey that has kept them going.

"When you get onto the field, you can show people what you can do, and prove them wrong if they think you ‘can’t do’ it,” Amy said.

“You feel determined because you want to make your parents proud and help your team win by playing your role to the best of your ability.

“Teammates become like family. It’s a great way to make friends and feel good about yourself.”

The Ioane family's top three tips for families playing sport:

  1. Focus on participating and having fun. If children are enjoyed sport, they will keep playing and improving.
  2. Make sure you get involved in your children's sport. You'll have more fun and get some exercise instead of sitting and watching. Every sports club needs volunteers!
  3. Set an example. If we want our children to be active and play sport, then we should be playing sport ourselves. Participate and have fun!

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Did you know?

Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.
650 thousand Australians either coach, teach or instruct sport.