Chris MacKinnon's family (from left): Son Luke, daughter Kate, husband John and son Paul. Photo: Keatherine Griffiths
United's men's team lifted in honour of long-time club servant Chris MacKinnon to show it will be a serious contender in the Hockey ACT Capital League 1 finals.
United pushed competition powerhouse Central all the way before going down 3-1 in a tight contest at the National Hockey Centre at Lyneham on Saturday.
There was plenty of emotion in the game as it was the centrepiece of the Chris MacKinnon memorial weekend aimed to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.
MacKinnon lost her battle with the disease last year, her sons Luke and Paul carrying on her legacy with strong performances for United.
Central played with heavy hearts as well, with brothers Matt, Chris and Dan Hotchkis having supported their mum, and team manager Joyce, through a breast cancer scare in the past 12 months.
United coach Aaron Hopkins said both sides took their games up a notch as they aimed to put in performances worthy of Chris MacKinnon's contribution to the sport.
"There was a fair bit of emotion involved with both teams wanting to pay respect to everything she's done, not just for this club but hockey in the ACT in general,'' Hopkins.
"Both Luke and Paul were outstanding and were two of our best. It was definitely a special occasion and a game that lived up to it.''
The scores were locked at 1-1 until Central pulled away late in the second half.
Central is the defending champion and has been the benchmark team for the past five years, while United is third on the ladder.
With four games remaining, Hopkins said his side could take plenty of positives out of the game as it looked to build towards the finals.
"There's still five or six teams that can finish in the top four, so it's really congested,'' he said.
"We've got to continue to play like that for the rest of the season.''
Capital League 1: Men: Wests 12 bt Albury 1. Goulburn 12 bt Tuggeranong Vikings 0. Central 3 bt United 1. Old Canberrans 2 bt St Pats 0. Women: St Pats 8 bt Albury 0. Tuggeranong Vikings 3 bt ANU 1. University of Canberra 4 bt North Canberra 0. Central 11 bt United 1.