Hockey: Victoria Park Xavier champ notches 300th game

Jason Gabriel (right) played his 300th
Premier League game over the weekend.
Jason Gabriel (right) played his 300th Premier League game over the weekend.

ALMOST 15 years after he turned his back on soccer, Jason Gabriel has made hockey history.

The Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club striker on the weekend joined the ranks of a select few that have taken to the field to play 300 games in the state’s Premier League.

Considered one of the most competitive domestic competitions in the world, WA’s top-flight division sees members of the Australian national teams incorporated into the league along with a host of other hockey stars from across the world.

However, what makes the 30-year-old Kensington resident’s journey even more impressive is that it could have all turned out quite differently had he not shifted his sporting allegiances as a teenager.

“Dad always played hockey but when I was a kid I never played properly as a junior,” Gabriel said.

“I played soccer until I was 14 and when I was 15 I started to play hockey and it all moved quite quickly.

“After that, I was picked in the U15 state team and everything else went from there.

“I didn’t have a game-style base coming through, so I was quite lucky I had some great people around me to help me out.

“It took a while for me to get to grips with things skill-wise but I suppose I had some natural ability from playing with my dad in the back garden as a kid.”

Shortly after joining Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club as a 16-year-old, Gabriel was handed his Premier League debut.

Career highlights include two premierships in 2008 and 2012, and representing his state with the WA Thundersticks.

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