MADISON >> As Hannah Leckey was growing up, her mother Sue, the Hand field hockey coach, was hopeful that her daughter would develop the same love she had for the sport.
Hannah started out playing youth soccer, but in middle school she started playing field hockey, and it wasn’t long before she realized what her mother discovered at her age.
Hannah loved field hockey.
“My mom played field hockey and I was exposed to field hockey growing up,” Hannah Leckey said. “I started playing soccer because it was different. But when I started playing field hockey in middle school I realized I liked it a lot more than soccer. When I actually played the game for the first time, when I saw how much fun it was and how good I was, I knew this was the sport for me.
“Since I was little I was always around it. But in middle school it was really exciting because I knew eventually I could have an opportunity to play for my mom.”
Speed is one of the strengths for Sue Leckey’s Tigers this season. Depth is another with only four starters lost from last season to graduation. For Leckey to have Hannah, a junior who plays both forward and midfield, be a part of that speed and depth for Hand – priceless.
“This is something I was hoping for as Hannah grew up, it means a lot to have her play for me,” her mom and coach said. “The thing about Hannah is she is a good athlete, works hard and would be successful no matter what sport she played. She also has success playing softball.
“But to be able to share the love I have for this game with my daughter is special. I’m also glad she plays for me because I’m able to expose her to some of the great people who have helped shape the sport in this state like Babby Nuhn (North Branford coach), Kitty Palmer (Guilford coach), Eileen Dunham (Cheshire coach) and Cathy McGuirk (Branford coach).”
Contributing to the team’s depth is forward Brenna Hobin, last season’s top scorer with 10 goals and nine assists, center-midifielder Erin Mammele, midfielder Brooke Barry and backs Lucy Edward and MacKenzie Hilton. One of the losses from last season was in goal, but Melanie Rennie saw some action as the backup and should make an impact.
Hannah Leckey had three goals and seven assists last season.
“Playing for my mom is a cool opportunity,” said Hannah, who never expects any special treatment and considers herself just one of the girls. “It’s fun because she’s such a great coach and knows so much about field hockey.
But there is a little pressure being the coach’s daughter. She wants me to be good and pushes me to perform and improve. Not many freshmen get to play varsity and I did. I had to work very hard to show I was good enough to compete at that level.”Hobin said Hannah Leckey doesn’t get any special treatment.
“Coach Leckey treats all of us equally,” Hobin said. “She pushes Hannah just as hard as anyone else and she gets the same opportunities as anyone else. Coach Leckey pushes all of us to do the best we can.”
Sue Leckey, now in her 10th season as coach, is still trying to find that special team chemistry. She expects to have a competitive team this season and challenge for the CIAC Class M title.
Hannah Leckey will certainly be one of the many key players for any Tigers’ success. But Sue Leckey admits she pushes her daughter a little harder than the other players.
“It’s challenging for her to play for me,” Sue Leckey said. “I expect a lot from her. I get on her more than the others whenever she shows a weakness. I expect her to be above the things that might frustrate others.
“It’s not easy being the coach’s daughter. While the other players get to go home after practice and get a break from me, Hannah is in the car going home with me hearing about field hockey. She’s with me at home, 24-7, hearing about field hockey. But I’m so proud of her. She’s a great daughter, we have a great relationship and we always try to be supportive of each other.”