Friday, April 19, 2024

Maddie Hinch retires from international hockey as GB goalkeeper great

Maddie Hinch, who played a significant hand in Team GB women’s Rio Olympic gold, retired from international hockey on Tuesday after a rollercoaster 15-year career.

The 34-year-old, Britain’s most recognisable hockey player, finishes with 186 caps for England and GB, alongside Olympic, European and Commonwealth gold medals as she changed the landscape of hockey goalkeeping across the globe.

“I have always represented my country with the utmost pride, passion and respect and always, always given my all,” said Hinch, a three-time world goalkeeper of the year.

“But unfortunately the 15-year commitment to full-time international hockey, physically, mentally and emotionally has taken its toll, the tank is empty.

“I have always believed that to be the best and to succeed you have to be “all in”.

“I know I can no longer continue to give 100 per cent to the No 1 shirt and I have decided to retire.”

Hinch debuted in 2008 and became England and GB No 1 in 2013 after Beth Storry’s retirement. She rose to fame seven years later when England beat the Netherlands in the 2015 EuroHockey final on a shoot-out. A year later, she produced more heroics to stop the Dutch as GB won a first ever women’s hockey Olympic gold.

Maddie Hinch
Maddie Hinch has changed the perceptions of hockey goalkeeping PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS FRANK UIJLENBROEK

However, the pressure of delivering more success after those Rio highs had an impact on her mental health as she ‘pressed pause’ on her career following England’s exit from the 2018 World Cup and 15 tournaments in a row.

Hinch took several months out of the game during a 2018 sabbatical while she admitted to mental health concerns during GB’s trip down under in 2020, revealing that she felt like isolating away from the team.

In 2020, Hinch was diagnosed with depression, having admitted that she dreaded” putting on her pads in the aftermath of Olympic gold. The “harsh reality of elite sport” had contributed to her being diagnosed, she said in 2021.

“From my debut in 2008 until this moment I have encountered so many different experiences,” she added in her retirement statement. “Savoured golden victories, suffered humilating defeats, witnessed dramatic comebacks, endured penalty shoot-outs and played through heart-wrenching last-second losses. I have lived and felt it all and I am grateful for every single moment.

“I have lived my childhood dream and given all that I can give to the badge so this feels like the perfect symmetry to start the next chapter of my life.”

Her last hurrahs between the posts came at the Tokyo Olympics when Team GB won bronze before England won a first ever Commonwealth title in Birmingham last summer.

Hinch currently plays for Tilburg in the Dutch top league and runs a highly successful and growing hockey goalkeeping company.

She leaves the international game as a player who created multiple storylines for her athleticsm, dynamic and at times breathtaking goalkeeping, while changing the perceptions and profile of hockey in the UK.

Total Hockey

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1 COMMENT

  1. Maddie Hinch…You are the Queen of Stop, your achievements aren’t even the stuff of dreams, you couldn’t write it!! Goalkeeper…You are the G-R-E-A-T-E-S-T and probably always will be. Well done to coach John Hurst too, for his immeasurable contribution to your skill set.

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