Men’s Health Week at La Trobe!

This week La Trobe University Hockey Club and Hockey Victoria have been celebrating Men’s Health Round. Our club is trying to raise awareness of the challenges faced by men’s physical and mental health. This year we have focused on mateship, what it means to play in a team sport environment such as hockey and how can support each other. A core value of mateship and our club is looking out for each other.

Research shows that close friendships and social connections promote better social, physical, and mental health. Hockey and other team sports are a great environment to keep ourselves healthy, physically through sports and mentally through the social aspect. Dealing with mental health issues can be extremely isolating. Studies show that quality social connections decrease the chances of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and developing addictions.

Mateship is a massive reason why we all play hockey at La Trobe and it has helped build great long lasting friendships along the way. Just look at the Men’s Vets and their long lasting friendships made over the journey of the hockey club, some going well beyond 30-40 years. Whether it is training together on a cold night, a camping trip to Pyalong, winning or losing on the pitch, having a beer together post game, or having a multiple beers post game with a fire next to the field, these are all great ways to build the bond between ourselves at hockey.

Here are a few of great examples from some of our players of the mateship at La Trobe:

Robert James – My time with the mighty La Trobe University Hockey Club started in late 2005 when I moved to Melbourne from Darwin. My eldest brother was playing summer hockey for La Trobe and I was keen to get involved. I fronted up to my first game not knowing anyone, but from the moment I arrived, I was made to feel welcome and a part of the club, which I will be forever grateful for. It was also the reason I chose to continue playing for La Trobe when the winter season came around (I’m now well into my 18th season).
Hockey has provided me with a valuable outlet from the daily stresses of life. Being able to play hockey with my mates has been fantastic for both my mental and physical health. I’ve also enjoyed the mental health benefits of socialising with the broader club at social functions regularly hosted by the club.
I continue to play hockey to this day because l love being part of the community and I deeply value the friendships I have formed through the club.

Tim Holdsworth – Being a part of the La Trobe University Hockey Club has been a rich and rewarding experience right from my first game. The camaraderie and mateship among the team have been truly invaluable to me personally. We support each other on and off the field, fostering a sense of belonging and friendship that goes beyond just playing the sport. Through shared victories we’ve built a tight-knit group and the bond we share enhances our gameplay, creating a positive atmosphere where everyone strives to improve. Mateship at our club isn’t just a concept; it’s at the very heart of each player wearing the ‘Gunners’ uniform.

Ben Mawby – I love playing hockey at La Trobe Uni Hockey Club because of the attitude that every bloke at the club brings to their game. When I started at the club I was cheerfully informed that the club has a no “idiots” policy. I wasn’t sure what it meant at the time but I’ve come to realise that it means we don’t tolerate behaviours that I see in other teams regularly (bullying, back biting, violence etc). At LTUHC, no one will criticise you for playing a bad game of hockey (I should know cause I’ve had plenty) instead they will pat you on the back when something goes right. That applies not only on the field but off it as well.

Over the years I have met some of my best friends at this club but, more than that, everyone who sticks around playing hockey at LTUHC is genuinely great. As I’ve gotten older and had kids, hockey has become an opportunity for me to not only get active but also to get social interaction I’d otherwise miss. If I wasn’t playing hockey at LTUHC I am certain that my mental and physical health would be much worse!

Oli Ingham – To me, The Handsomes boys serve as a microcosm of the true essence of mateship: unity (blame it on Trav), mutual support (never to each other’s faces), shared goals (shoot first, always), mentorship (riskies), and resilience in the face of adversity (umpire’s fault). The camaraderie among the team transcends the mere pursuit of victory (having the best risky), illustrating the profound impact that genuine human connections can have in fostering excellence (our short corner battery) and personal growth (Burley trapped one). Playing hockey, and being part of sports clubs generally, build connections and mateship with strange people who you would otherwise never come across in your everyday life. And that is what it’s all about.

Whether it is mateship at the hockey club or hanging out with mates outside of hockey (yes some of us have a life outside of hockey), reach out to them and find some quality time to spend with your mates.

For more information on Men’s Health Week, visit or

If you need further help beyond your mates, here are some contacts that can help:

  • Your GP
  • A mental health specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, counsellor or social worker
  • Lifeline– 13 11 14
  • GriefLine – 1300 845 745
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
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