Oikawa and Ockenden claim MVP honours

A Japanese international and one of Kookaburras’ co-captains have been named the Sultana Bran Hockey One League 2019 Women’s and Men’s MVPs.

Canberra Chill defender Shihori Oikawa edged out Hockey Club Melbourne pair Amy Lawton and Madi Ratcliffe, and Brisbane Blaze’s Ashlea Fey to win the women’s top individual prize.

A member of Japan’s 2018 World Cup squad, Oikawa was a composed figure and a constant in the Chill defence in the team’s run to the semi finals, while she also chimed in with a goal in the penalty shootout loss to the Perth Thundersticks.

On the men’s side, Tassie Tigers captain Eddie Ockenden polled three votes ahead of Brisbane Blaze’s Matt Swann, who suffered a season ending hamstring injury in Round 5, with Swann’s Blaze team mate Jake Whetton coming in third.

The Kookaburras co-captain was inspirational and instrumental in the Tigers’ impressive run up to the finals, which included a purple patch of seven goals in two games.

The MVPs were decided by the umpires providing votes on a 3-2-1 basis after each match of the regular season.

The announcement of Oikawa and Ockenden as the MVPs was made during the Sultana Bran Hockey One Grand Final double header.