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Maddie Hinch grateful to have played in ‘golden generation’ of women’s hockey

Retired hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch has said she felt lucky to have been part of a “golden generation” of women’s hockey as she was made an OBE.

The 35-year-old received the royal honour from the Princess Royal for her services to the sport, after announcing her retirement last year.

She won Olympic gold with Team GB in 2016 and was champion at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham two years ago, as well as a series of individual awards.

Speaking at Windsor Castle, Hinch said she was “immensely proud” looking back at her career, which included 97 appearances for England and 60 for Great Britain.

She told the PA news agency: “The whole thing feels a bit like a dream – I’ve probably never really sat back and tried to take it all in, it’s just been such a whirlwind.

“But I know when I finally do get a chance to reflect I’ve lived through a golden generation in our sport, so I feel so lucky to have done what I’ve done.”

Maddie Hinch
Great Britain’s goalkeeper Maddie Hinch saves a penalty from the Netherlands’ Maartje Paumen during the gold medal match at the Olympic Hockey Centre on the 14th day of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil (David Davies/PA)

Hinch said being made an OBE at Windsor Castle was “very surreal” and represented an end to her career “which has been beyond anything I could have imagined”, adding: “It doesn’t get much better.”

She was also awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list for her services to the sport, but said her latest ceremony was “much more intimate”.

“I live in Maidenhead so it’s literally popping down the road, which makes it even better.

“I think in some ways I preferred the experience here just because of the beauty of the castle and everything just being a little bit smaller.

“A really nice day, I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Hinch has now taken up a coaching role at the University of Connecticut in the US, which she described as “the perfect transition away from playing” after having initial doubts.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see the girls go on and achieve things off the back of the part you’ve played.

“It’s been fun – being out in the States, I love to travel, I love exploring new countries.”

Hinch said both the men’s and women’s British hockey teams were “in a good spot” with the Paris Olympic Games coming up this summer, despite a shaky qualifying campaign from the latter.

Asked about their chances of success at the Games, she said: “The girls can do it, I have no doubt, and the boys are showing some serious promise right now – they are medal hopes for us.

“Both squads should be really excited for Paris and I’m excited for them because it’s bound to be an amazing Olympics.”