Dragflick Neswdesk : Veteran Hockeyroos Edwina Bone, Emily Chalker and Ashlee Wells have announced their retirements from international hockey.
The trio, who amassed 588 international matches between them, each reached the decision to draw the curtain on their Hockeyroos career over the summer break.
Edwina Bone competed at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics and made her Hockeyroos debut in 2013 at the age of 24. The uncompromising defender went on to become a mainstay in the squad, making 212 appearances.
The identical twin credits Canberra’s hockey program for helping her get noticed for the national squad. She ended up in the Hockeyroos’ leadership group in the months leading up to and during the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m grateful for every game I’ve played. I didn’t think I was going to play one game for Australia let alone over 200,” said Bone.
“Unfortunately I don’t have another three years in me to be in contention for Paris in 2024. Even though I feel like I could keep playing, it’s time for other girls to get some more experience, find their feet and win a medal in Paris. It’s hard because you never want it to finish but it’s time.”
“I’m really proud of playing for so long and grateful for all of the coaches I’ve had along the way and the players that I’ve played with.”
Emily Chalker finishes as a triple Olympian with 88 goals from 255 internationals and medals at major tournaments including gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Heralding from Crookwell in country New South Wales, Chalker captained the Hockeyroos for a period of her tenure.
A livewire striker, the Tokyo Olympics proved Chalker’s swansong as she retires after 11 years in the national program.
“The Olympics finished over six months ago and I only just came to the conclusion that it was time to finish up,” said Chalker.
“When everyone started to go back to training and I wasn’t ready to go back it was a clear indication it was the right time. I didn’t want to say the word retire because I didn’t want to leave something that has been such a huge part of my life.
“As an elite athlete there is that self doubt wondering whether you are good enough, but I kept getting selected more to my shock than anything else. I was never the most talented hockey player but I think I got the best out of myself, I tried hard, I absolutely love the game and I think that showed in the way I played.”
For Ashlee Wells, being a goalkeeper meant opportunities to play were often few and far between.
Wells’ patience, resilience and resolve was regularly tested as she was the reserve goalkeeper at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
Regarded by many among the Hockeyroos as the ultimate team player, Wells played 123 internationals since her debut in October 2011.
Wells recently returned to her hometown of Morwell in Victoria after her mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, something she says has put everything into perspective.
“I think what meant the most to me was being around the group and doing something I love,” said Wells.
“I have been grateful for the opportunity to be able to go to training every day, be around some of my best friends, travel around the world and represent my country.
“Despite everything going on with my family at the moment, I feel like this is the right time to retire. I have been in the program for ten years, I’m proud of what I have done and achieved for the group. As you get a bit older you start to carry some injuries and begin to acknowledge your time is up.”
Hockeyroos Head Coach Katrina Powell lauded the trio’s contribution and impact, identifying the unique strengths each bought to the squad.
“Eddie ended up in our leadership group which says a lot about her character and the regard she is held in.
“She had to work really hard to be selected for the Hockeyroos. She is an absolute beast in terms of fitness, speed, performance and relentless commitment to the Hockeyroos every time she steps on the pitch.”
“Emily was a great leader for the group. She played some of her best hockey in Tokyo so she is going out on a high and should be really proud of that,” said Powell.
“She bought such great joy to the group. She has the capacity to make people laugh when we need it.”
“Ash has been the ultimate team person. She has put the Hockeyroos first, shown exceptional resilience and become the best hockey player she could be.
“She will walk away knowing she gave everything to the Hockeyroos and given an outstanding contribution to the team over a long period of time.”
“While we lose some experience and some great people, it gives opportunities for others firstly within our group step into that space, but affords others from outside the squad the opportunity to start their journey.”
Hockey Australia President Ross Sudano congratulated Bone, Chalker and Wells on their international hockey careers and thanked them for their outstanding service to the Hockeyroos.
“Representing Australia is an honour and a privilege. For Edwina, Emily and Ashlee to have been such significant contributors to the Hockeyroos program for as long as they have is a reflection of their commitment, resilience, talent and ability to keep improving,” said Sudano.
“They should be proud of the impact they have had and the mark they have left on the national women’s high performance program, not just as hockey players but as valuable members of the Hockeyroos squad.”
“On behalf of everyone involved in hockey in Australia, I congratulate them on their hockey careers and wish them every success in their future endeavours.”
Due to the ongoing national COVID situation, the 2022 Hockeyroos squad has yet to be selected.
State based selection opportunities will be held in four capital cities over the coming weeks, with the final squad expected to be announced by 20 February 2022.