Sport

Award honours Leesa

By Georgia Smith

Hockey holds a special place in the hearts of the Purcell family.

As does the Leesa Purcell Memorial Trophy — a tribute donated to the Goulburn Valley Hockey Association on behalf of the Purcell family, as a tribute to their beloved daughter and sister.

Leesa, who sadly passed away in 2016, was well known within the Benalla community as a talented hockey player.

With her mother Maureen, grandmother Bernice, sisters and aunties all playing hockey for Benalla, there is little wonder where her love of the game stemmed from.

Leesa was a skillful defender who represented the GVHA in junior and senior tournaments, playing for SYC, Mooroopna and Strikers, as well as representing the Victorian State Hockey team.

This year the trophy was awarded to Mooroopna player Gabby Cardemone, who demonstrated throughout the season many of the qualities set out in Leesa’s criteria.

Each year the Leesa Purcell Memorial Trophy will be awarded to an up and coming under-18 female player who demonstrates club commitment, fairness, determination and persistence on and off the field, as well as high leadership qualities to support other players and the team.

Leesa’s sister Christine said Leesa was also highly recognised within Hockey Australia and the Australian Defence Force, representing the ADF in many tournaments and playing in the winning team at the Australian Country Championship.

‘‘On behalf of the Purcell family we wish to thank the GVHA for supporting Leesa’s memory and recognising the qualities that young girls display, just as Leesa did,’’ Christine said.

The Purcell family hopes the Leesa Purcell Memorial Trophy will be awarded to young rising hockey stars for many years to come.