Jill Boon is one of the longest serving members of the national women’s hockey team of Belgium and one of the most prolific, being named leading goal scorer in number of tournaments over the course of her career. With 302 caps to her name she was part of the Red Panthers squad from 2012 until the current FIH Hockey Pro League season.
Hockey is very much in the Boon family DNA: brother Tom is a striker feared by defenders the world over; mother Carine Boon-Coudron, grandmother Jacqueline Ronsmans and uncles Eric and Marc Coudron are all former international hockey players. In addition, Marc Coudron remains the most capped Belgian international on 358 matches.
If ever a family represented the power of hockey to cross generations, then the Boon family is it. We caught up with Jill to talk how her own hockey family has influenced and inspired her hockey career.
What influenced you to take up hockey as opposed to other sports?
Jill Boon: I chose hockey because all my family were playing hockey, from my grandmother, my mother and my uncles, so it was easy for us to play hockey. We were literally born wth a hockey stick in our hands.
How helpful was it to have a brother who also played the sport?
Jill Boon: It was really cool to be able to share it [playing the sport] with my brother (Tom Boon), because we were playing the same tournaments or travelling together. It was nice to always have someone from the same family close by.
How involved have your parents been in your hockey career?
Jill Boon: My parents try to follow us whenever they can, to the games we play abroad but here, almost every Sunday, they are involved in the domestic league.
Is it helpful to have a partner who also plays the sport?
Jill Boon: It helped me a lot to also have my partner playing hockey. She [Linda Haussener] can understand the training, the commitment that I have had for the past 14 years now. It is also really cool now to share victories in the club hockey matches.
Do you and Linda chat about hockey at home or do you steer clear of the topic? Both Jill and Linda play for Racing HC in Brussels.
Jill Boon: We obviously chat about hockey, it is a huge part of our lives but we try to avoid only talking about hockey.
What would you say makes hockey such a popular family sport?
Jill Boon: Hockey is a great family sport because you can start at every age. I was born into a hockey family but now in Belgium we can see new families start hockey, first with the kids but then the parents start too. I also have a friend who started when they were 25 or 26 so I think that is the beauty of hockey, it is fun at every level and every age.