Lee’s way to 700 games

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - WADE GLEESON

AF­TER al­most 40 years and 700 games, one of New Nor­folk Old Schol­ars Hockey Club’s most re­spected play­ers has hung up the gear.

Lee Smith, 58, called it a day af­ter play­ing her fi­nal game last Sun­day against Univer­sity at the Hockey Cen­tre in Ho­bart.

And although the team went down 3-0, Lee — or Leeroy, as the goalie is bet­ter known — played at her usual best, sav­ing many goals as she has done on so many oc­ca­sions.

Lee fin­ished off her hockey ca­reer along­side her daugh­ter Sally Smith (430 games) and grand­daugh­ter 16-year-old Natahlia Smith, who played her first game with the team.

And to prove that the vet­eran hasn’t lost it, Lee took out the club best and fairest this sea­son, an award she has won quite a few times be­fore.

And when asked about grand fi­nals, Lee couldn’t re­mem­ber ex­actly how many she had played in.

She re­called los­ing five in a row — but then the team re­versed the tide and won five in a row.

Lee’s most mem­o­rable mo­ment came when play­ing in a premier­ship with Sally.

“Yes it’s been great to win grand fi­nals, but be­ing in the same side as Sally has been pretty spe­cial for me,” Lee said.

The pair are the long­est serv­ing mother-daugh­ter com­bi­na­tion in the club’s 50year his­tory with 23 years in the same team.

What’s more, Lee even played up un­til she was five months preg­nant with Sally — no won­der the pair share a spe­cial bond.

And Sally, who joined the team at the age of just 13, is quite the proud daugh­ter.

“Mum would be up with the best of them in our grade and she’s 58!” Sally said.

“She hasn’t al­ways been goalie. She was a field player and put her hand up when we lost our goalie.

“I’ve never known a player to go to goals and be just as good if not bet­ter — old Leeroy was a star in both!”

Lee was hon­oured with a pre­sen­ta­tion on her mile­stone at the club’s 50th an­niver­sary re­union at the New Nor­folk District Foot­ball Club rooms on Satur­day night.

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