Hockey Australia loses a 'much loved son'
AFTER Kookaburras' captain, Mark Knowles' announcement of his retirement yesterday afternoon, many are speaking out to thank the Rockhampton-raised star for his 15 years of dedication to the team.
Kookaburras' head coach, Colin Batch, was an assistant coach when Knowles first debuted for the team in 2004.
Since that day, Batch has seen Knowles bloom into one of the world's best players and says he feels "very privileged to have coached him at the start and at the end of his career”.
"Mark has been a great player for Australia, he's given us great service and he's been one of the outstanding players in world hockey over that period,” Batch said.
"We've seen his leadership grow from a lead-by-example style to now as a very inspirational leader with not only what he does, but what he says.
"Mark felt the timing was right for him to retire upon the conclusion of our Commonwealth Games campaign. We support that.
"I'm very pleased that he stayed on after the Rio Olympics which has been good for me as coach to have his support as captain.
"We thank his family, his mum and dad who support him in a lot of places and, of course, his wife Kelly and children Flynn, Luca and Frankie. We wish them all the best for the future.”
Hockey Australia president Melanie Woosnam said the retirement of one of Australia hockey's "much loved sons” is a "huge loss for hockey in Australia”.
"We are sad to lose someone of Mark's calibre,” she said.
"He has had an outstanding and distinguished career in the sport over an extended period of time and we congratulate him on all of his achievements.
"Mark has been a fantastic leader and role model for our sport during his time in the Australian team. He is not only well respected by his team mates but also his coaches and opponents across the world.
"We thank Mark for the wonderful contribution he has made to our sport and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life with his wife Kelly and their beautiful young family.”
Woosnam said Hockey Australia hopes to keep Knowles involved in the sport, so he can "continue to impart his knowledge and expertise on future generations of hockey athletes”.