Family moment marks Gulin's milestone

PROUD FAMILY MOMENT: It was a proud day for Leith Gulin, right, marking 400 games on Saturday and playing his first game alongside son, Darcy.
PROUD FAMILY MOMENT: It was a proud day for Leith Gulin, right, marking 400 games on Saturday and playing his first game alongside son, Darcy.

A proud family moment helped Crystal Brook Hockey Club's Leith Gulin mark 400 games in the sport on Saturday.

Gulin, who is also president of the Port Pirie and District Hockey Association, celebrated the occasion alongside his son, Darcy, 11, with the father-son duo playing their first game together on the turf as Darcy made his senior hockey debut.

It was a memorable moment that will now feature as the highlight of an extensive hockey career.

"The biggest highlight now is that first game with Darcy," Gulin said, as he recalled his playing history and grand final wins with The Recorder.

As luck would have it, a move from Adelaide to Crystal Brook in the 1980s saw Gulin connect with a family involved with the sport. This is where his love for the sport took off.

While living in Adelaide, he played football but realised it wasn't for him.

"I was very poor at it," he said.

The catalyst came in 1986 as his football team played in a grand final and Gulin was stuck on the bench for the match.

Then came the move to the country and the start of Gulin's love affair with hockey.

It's a change he's never regretted as he became deeply involved with the hockey community, with his passion for the sport now being passed on to his children.

Gulin plays in the Division Three men's competition while wife, Ali, and children Daisy, Darcy and Bella also compete. He is also an umpire and a coach.

"It's a great family sport. There are not many sports where you can keep going [in age]," he said.

"That's the great thing about hockey in Port Pirie - you've got players from four-and-a-half years old to 70 years old."

Most of Gulin's playing career has been spent with Crystal Brook.

He started playing senior hockey in 1989 and played Division One in the early to mid 1990s.

One of the biggest changes he saw for Crystal Brook, and the association, was the introduction of turf at the hockey complex.

Unfortunately, this meant the end for games being played at the Brook, but Gulin said this change made a big impact on hockey in the district.

He made the leap from being involved at a club level to the association when he took up the role of president, a position he said had opened his eyes.

Gulin is currently serving in his third year in that role.

"It's been eye-opening to be part of the board," he said.

"It's a big job for us," he said, of running the association.

One of the great things about his work at a board level, he said had been honouring the sport's greats.

Last year, he had the honour of bestowing life memberships on Jo-anne Ferme and Ben Ramsay.

This story Family moment marks Gulin's milestone first appeared on The Recorder.