Luke MacKinnon plays 450th game for United in Hockey ACT Capital League
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Luke MacKinnon plays 450th game for United in Hockey ACT Capital League

United veteran Luke MacKinnon raised his hockey stick for a milestone not many people in any sport could even dream of on Saturday afternoon.

MacKinnon celebrated his 450th first grade game in style as United thrashed Tuggeranong 9-2 in a Hockey ACT's Capital League 1 showdown.

United hockey player Luke MacKinnon played his 450th first grade game.

United hockey player Luke MacKinnon played his 450th first grade game.Credit:Keegan Carroll Photography

But the thing is, he still hasn't played the most games in his family - that milestone belongs to his father John, who retired with 515 games to his name.

"I won't ever get him but he played 515 first grade games, so he's got the bragging rights and he will have because I don't think I'll last that long," MacKinnon said.

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"That's a couple of years away and I won't do that."

MacKinnon says he will keep going around for "as long as the coach keeps picking me", but the thing is he is the coach - meaning his destiny is in his own hands.

"I can't see too many more years ahead of me," MacKinnon said.

"I'm enjoying doing the coaching and seeing these young guys come through. Before long I'll be sitting on the sideline and watching them go."

The United player-coach played his first game at the age of 5 and debuted on the Kippax fields before going to watch his father play for the same club.

The entire MacKinnon family is entrenched in the Hockey ACT community, as seen every year when the Lyneham National Hockey Centre turns pink in honour of Luke's mother Chris.

MacKinnon lost her battle with breast cancer in January 2013, and the centre turns pink for an annual memorial weekend to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

It's the latest in a long list of highlights for the 450-gamer, who says the 1997 grand final win is the one memory he will never forget from his playing days - he still rattles off the 5-0 scoreline with a sense of glee.

MacKinnon debuted in 1992 and his first premiership brought an end to five years of floggings and heartache, and started a successful era that heralded five grand final wins in eight years.

There's still a handful of players going around that were playing when MacKinnon made the top grade, but only four of his current teammates were even alive back then.

How did the 40-year-old's body pull up after the milestone game?

"It felt like I'd played 450 games," MacKinnon laughed.

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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