The Dwyer family. (l-r) Jamie, Julian, Taj and Leoni.
The Dwyer family. (l-r) Jamie, Julian, Taj and Leoni.
(Photo: sportsdads.com.au)

In most kids’ lives, their hero is usually a sports star. For a lucky few, however, their sporting heroes may also be their dad!

There are many outstanding sports dads around the world who deserve acknowledgement. Hockey has more than its fair share, and one of our sport’s greatest talents has been nominated for a very special award that recognises those who manage to balance sporting brilliance with being a father. 

Kookaburras legend Jamie Dwyer has made the ten-strong shortlist for the Philips Sports Dad of the Year Award, a prize that spotlights fathers from Australia’s sporting elite that have made a positive impression on their community. The winner earning a $5,000 (Australian Dollars) donation from Philips to his charity of choice. 

When he’s not tearing apart the world’s best hockey outfits, Jamie is a doting dad to Julian, 5, and Taj, 3. “I love going down to our local park and playing around and in summer going to the beach with the boys”, said the five times FIH Player of the Year, 2004 Olympic Gold medallist and double Hockey World Cup champion in an interview with sportsdads.com.au. “Also, our backyard hockey games are starting to get pretty intense and competitive, they are great fun! My family is my highest priority and all I want is for them to be happy.” 

“He is very hands on and doesn’t mind helping with anything”, said Jamie’s wife Leoni, who he met during his time playing in the Netherlands with H.C. Bloemendaal. “He is also very loving and caring and the boys always come first, which is very important. He is a fun dad and I think the boys see him as a cool dad too!”

Now in its sixth year, the Philips Sports Dad of the Year highlights athletes across a broad range of sporting fields, giving insights into how these Aussie icons juggle fatherhood with their sporting commitments. Other nominees include international cricketer Shane Watson, Ironman triathlon star Shannon Eckstein as well as Rugby League players Anthony and Mark Minichiello, Ryan Hoffman and Matt Ballin.

When asked how his kids inspire him, Dwyer responded by saying that Julian and Taj have a “huge influence” on his career.  “They are at the age that they understand what I’m doing now and they are proud of me. My eldest son loves the Kookaburras and he knows everyone’s name and their Australian number! My youngest son doesn’t understand why we lose sometimes. He thinks we should never lose! I have to explain to him that the other teams are also pretty good.”

To read the full interview with Jamie as well as see some more family photos of the Dwyers, click here. All of this year's nominated Sports Dad's are profiled on www.sportsdads.com.au . For those of you in Australia, you can vote for Jamie by clicking here. What are you waiting for? Get voting!!