Former hockey star Jamie Dwyer is now creating cutting-edge equipment for his successors on the pitch

Jamie Dwyer won Olympic gold for Australia in 2004, and was voted the world’s best hockey player an amazing five times. But for much of his career on the field, Dwyer didn’t consider what would happen after the final whistle.

Dutch courage
“I was playing over in the Netherlands a few years ago, and knew I was coming to the end of my career,” explains Dwyer. “I got injured, and then when I came back home, I just thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ I didn’t study anything at university, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I’d always been interested in hockey sticks, and then an opportunity came up to launch JDH.”

JDH, Dwyer’s brand of hockey equipment, began for Dwyer as “a bit of a hobby” when he was still playing. But since he retired from international competition after the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Dwyer has taken 100 per cent ownership – and has seen the company thrive.

“I thought it would sell a few sticks in Australia, but now we sell a lot of sticks over in Argentina, the UK, the USA – it’s all over the world, really. It’s become quite a big business and is something I really enjoy doing.”

Using your experience and reputation
Dwyer believes the insights he gained on the pitch give him an edge off it.

“When I was playing, I always wanted the best hockey sticks. I was very, very fussy about what I used. The sticks I make now are 100 per cent my input. I know what a good hockey stick is, and I think that’s my unique selling point.

“It has been daunting at times, but I have tried to take the same approach as I did in my playing career – and I just try to improve every day.”

He also appreciates that his name has helped.

“What I’ve done on the hockey field has really helped me with the brand. It’s definitely helped open doors – and I guess I need to make the most of that before everyone forgets who I am!”

A new life beyond the field
JDH has given Dwyer a real focus during what could have been a difficult period – the end of his international career.

“I still miss hockey, obviously. I loved playing. But having JDH has really kept my mind off that. It keeps me busy and I enjoy it.

“The earlier you can realise what you want to do with your life, the better. Whatever you’ve really got a passion for, just try and set yourself up as early as possible, because it’s not easy.

“In a way, it’s just like sport. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to put in 100 per cent – and you’ve got to really, really commit to it.”

You can pick up some tips on how to follow in Jamie’s footsteps by taking the free Business Start-Up course on the IOC’s Athlete Learning Gateway