Hockey. In just over 20 years, Melissa “Bugsy” Dodd has clocked up 400 games with Tigers Hockey Club, a milestone she reached on Saturday.
A budding young player, Dodd’s early memories of the sport include playing on grass field against Grade 5 boys when she was in Kinder.
At just 11 years old, she followed in the footsteps of her mother and 700 club games veteran Vicki Smith in joining Tigers’ A Reserve (now Division Three) side in 1995.
Dodd’s first Grand Final premiership came in ’97, just prior to the grass field’s replacement with turf.
The following year she showed her true potential when she began filling in for the club’s A Grade (now Div Two) side before stepping up full time in ’99.
In 2006 Dodd played in Tigers’ A Grade premiership side and almost 10 years later in 2015 secured her third Grand Final victory with Div Two.
In 2010 Dodd moved for a change of pace, playing as goalie for A Reserve and field player for the A Grade side.
“I like playing goalie and in the higher division for the skill level, but I enjoy playing with the younger girls in Division Three, watching them improve,” she said.
In recent years she has continued to juggle these roles playing in the Div Two and Div Three competitions as goalie and field player respectively and Dodd even protected the goals during the 2015 Grand Final.
Having missed just one full season since her debut, Dodd said the club holds a special place in her heart.
“We’re not just a club, we’re more of a family,” she said, reminiscing about the Christmas dinners and games nights spent together. “I couldn’t imagine playing with any other club.”
Modest in her achievement, Dodd looks forward to one day sharing the field with her 10-year-old daughter Hannah and maybe even one day with four-year-old Peyton.