Ben Fitzpatrick is back for the Cooloola Heat this year, coaching the women’s team and playing for the men’ team.
Ben Fitzpatrick is back for the Cooloola Heat this year, coaching the women’s team and playing for the men’ team. Craig Warhurst

Hockey veteran back in action, turning up Heat

BEN Fitzpatrick seems to live, eat, sleep and drink hockey. He plays with the Heat, coaches the women's team and has time for the kids.

Q. FIRSTLY Ben, what got you started in the sport of hockey?

A. My mum and dad got me into hockey at the young age of six and I instantly fell in love with the sport. They both played and I guess they wanted me to follow the trend.

Q. Growing up in Gympie, did you play any other local sports?

A. Yeah I played touch footy, cricket and occasionally some social golf.

Q. What made you focus on hockey?

A. Most of my mates were in my team and after some hard training I started to excel in the sport.

Q. What history do you have with the Cooloola Heat?

A. I played with the heat for roughly six years before retiring last year. I am however playing this year and also coaching the women's team, so my affiliation with the Heat is far from over.

Q. How is it possible to coach the women's team and also play in the men's team?

A. All it really means is that I'm pretty full on during the week and weekends with training and coaching. The men's Heat play directly after the women, so I'm in a bit of a rush on game day.

Q. Wasn't the women's Heat team cancelled several years ago?

A. The women's competition died down around eight years ago and the Gympie side fell apart. Luckily the competition is back up and running and Gympie have talented players to field a team.

Q. Do you coach any other teams?

A. Right now I'm also helping to coach my daughter's under-nine team and the Gympie representative side. I will travel away with the rep side to the state titles at the end of this month.

Q. What do you enjoy about coaching?

A. The main thing would have to be the feeling of giving back to the community. When I was younger my coaches taught me a lot and proved to be strong influences in my life.

Q. You must be pretty busy throughout the week with all the training and coaching. How do you manage?

A. I really have a passion for the sport. I either play or coach hockey five times a week and I'm still not getting tired of it.

Q. Do you have any kids and if so what sports do they play?

A. I have two kids - Georgia who is eight and Cody who is nine - and they both play hockey.

Q. As an experienced coach do you give them tips and pointers?

A. Every now and then but I want them to learn as they go like every other kid.

Q.What is your greatest sporting moment?

A. The greatest moment in my hoc key career would have to be making the Australian Country side in 2006. Unfortunately I was unable to travel to Darwin for the competition because of plantar fasciitis, an injury on the heel of my foot.

Q. Who is your favourite player in Australian hockey?

A. Jamie Dwyer is my favourite. In my eyes he is the best player in the world and I even had the chance to play with him in high school.

Q. Obviously you have a true passion for the sport, how many more years do you see yourself coaching and playing?

A. I can't ever see myself leaving the sport. I still have so many friends in the sport and hopefully I can go further with my coaching. Only time will tell.

Q. Lastly how are the Heat looking for this year?

A. Both teams have quality players and I'm confident they can finish near the top.

Player profile

Name: Ben Fitzpatrick

Age: 36

Born: Gympie

Favourite food: Mexican

Favourite TV program: The Footy Show

Sport you would play if not hockey: Golf