Having played hockey at an elite level, Jason Gaudoin CPA is now helping a new generation of talented youngsters to fulfil their potential.
From an early age, Jason Gaudoin remembers the epic hockey battles that took place in the backyard of his Perth home, with a father and two younger brothers who were just as competitive and obsessed with the sport as he was.
His dad grew up playing the game in hockey-mad India; his brother Paul went on to represent Australia at Olympic and Commonwealth Games level and is now senior assistant coach for the Australian men’s team, the Kookaburras; and his other brother Brad played alongside him in a national competition during their teens.
Gaudoin was on the roster of the WA Thundersticks in the Australian Hockey League before retiring from official competition in 2004. Now, up-and-coming players are enjoying the benefit of his expertise through his volunteer role with Hockey WA, where he assists with coaching, selecting state junior teams, developing special talent squads and mentoring rising stars.
“I like to explain the rationale for selection in a calm, professional way.”
“After 18 years playing hockey, I wanted to give back to the game and pass on my experience and knowledge,” explains Gaudoin. “It is always something we’ve done together as a family; playing and coaching is at the forefront of our sporting and social life. At the age of 65, my dad is still coaching club hockey!”
The skills that Gaudoin brings to his volunteer work at Hockey WA relate not only to his sporting abilities but also to his career in tax and accounting.
“I believe I can use some of my skills from the corporate world, such as organisation, managing conflict resolution and talent spotting,” says Gaudoin, an associate principal in the tax advisory business at Crowe Horwath. “Attitude in young players is so important – not just on the field but in learning how to balance hockey with the rest of their lives and study commitments.”
Gaudoin says he also enjoys managing the expectations of players and their parents. “I’ve tried to bring a level of professionalism to it,” he adds. “Sometimes, parents believe their son or daughter is better than they actually are. I like to explain the rationale for selection in a calm, professional way; dealing with the reality but not demotivating the player.”
He hopes to increase his involvement with Hockey WA’s administration and encourage more people to volunteer. “Hockey is really dominated by white-collar workers,” he says, “so we need to get these professional parents to lend their skills and take pleasure in motivating young people.
“My own kids are only five and 10 years old, and the 10-year-old is already playing some hockey. We’ll wait and see how she goes – no pressure!”
Hockey WA: Growth and success
Hockey in Western Australia traces its roots to 1903, with newspapers at the time reporting on the first hockey matches played in the capital, Perth.
By 1909, six teams formed the Western Australian Hockey Association, and in 1916 the WA Women’s Hockey Association was established.
In the mid-1920s, a Western Australian team travelled by ocean liner to compete in the first interstate championship in Adelaide.
Today, there are more than 460 clubs across the state and the men’s and women’s associations are amalgamated under the umbrella of Hockey WA.
Like so many other state sporting associations, Hockey WA relies on a steady stream of dedicated volunteers, their efforts propelling countless state athletes onto the national and global stage.
In the Australian Hockey League, the WA Thundersticks have won the championship nine times in the past 25 years, most recently in 2011, and they’ve been runners-up seven times.
This article is from the February issue of INTHEBLACK.