Gloucester’s Ollie Rinkin was a footy player.
As a young man rugby league was his sport of choice but when he was 16 years old Gloucester didn’t put up an under 18s team and he was without a winter activity.
It was 1955 and Ollie remembers how a few Gloucester High School teachers, who were former hockey players, took the opportunity to start up a team.
“They put an ad in the paper and a meeting was held,” Ollie recalls.
Ollie went along as he just wanted to play a winter sport.
“There was nothing else to play in Gloucester,” he said.
It started out as a social circuit, playing around the region for a bit of fun.
“I didn’t know anything about hockey,” he smiled.
But he was hooked.
“Best sport I’ve ever played,” Ollie said.
It wasn’t just about the way hockey was played, it was also about the social side of the sport.
Ollie really liked the connections he made, not only with his teammates, but with players on the opposing teams as well.
“I’m still friends with a lot of them,” he said. “We still keep in touch.”
In 1958, some of the male hockey players started a junior competition on Saturday morning in Gloucester and Ollie was one of them.
It’s the junior division where his passion lies.
Ollie lost his mother when he was five years old and his father was away a lot with the army, so the hockey club became like a second home; a place of belonging.
“It kept me off the streets,” Ollie said.
“When I was a kid, people looked after me.”
So he wanted to give it back; give the Gloucester youth what he was given.
His passion for the junior division spread to the local schools, where he teaches hockey skills for sport and coaches the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association (PSSA) teams.
Ollie’s personal achievements in hockey is impressive, both in Australia and overseas, both as a coach and a player. He has been made a life member of several clubs including the Gloucester Hockey Club in 1973 and Hockey NSW in 2000.
But he is far from hanging up his stick and is determined to continue to work with the junior players for as long as possible.
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