Oct 9, 2012

Hockey Legend De Nooijer retires

Hockey Legend says goodbye to international hockey
Legend is certainly the most overused word in the sporting fraternity but for Teun De Nooijer, it is just another feather to his cap.

After 18 years of entertaining the hockey fans around the world, Ten De Nooijer hangs his boots from international hockey. His retirement leaves a huge void in the world of hockey which will not be easy to fill.

Hockey has produced many greats from the likes of Dhyan Chand of the early era to Jamie Dwyer of modern hockey but no player can ever come near him when compared to his list of achievements. Three time world player of the year (only Jamie Dwyer has won more), 2 Olympics Gold Medal, 1 World Cup are just some points of his long list of achievements in a career of nearly 18 years.

He wears jersey no 14 to honor Johan Cruyff

Nooijer started playing hockey when he was only 9 years old, alongside his brothers. When he was only 11 years old, he joined up with HC Alkmaar and was selected in Netherlands under-16 team two years later. At the age of 15 he was moved to senior team of HC Alkmaar and at the age of 17, De Nooijer joined HC Bloemendaal.

A big fan of Netherlands football legend Johan Cruyff, Teun De Nooijer changed his jersey no to 14 from 11 to honor the great player and has worn it till this day for his country and his club.

By the time of his debut (4th June 1994) against New Zeland, Teun De Nooijer was already a big name in Netherlands with former players and fans becoming a great admirer of his talend and it just took him two years to make his name internationally when he helped Netherlands national team by winning Gold medal in the Atlanta Olympics by scoring two goals in the tournament.

Nooijer known for his brilliance on the field was a very versatile attacker will be remembered not just as one of the best players of his generation but also as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. Teun De Nooijer earned world record 453 caps for Netherlands and 219 goals in his career of 18 years. His frightening speed, awesome skill, spectacular passes and stunning finishing earned him admiration throughout the world and saw him named as the FIH Player of the Year in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

The year 1998, playing his second World Cup (he finished second in 1994 WC) In 1998, Teun was an instrumental piece in the Dutch squad’s gold medal win where he scored Golden Goal in the final of the tournament and helped Netherlands beat Spain 3-2. Since the famous 1996 Gold Medal win in the Olympics, Teun De Nooijer and Netherlands hockey continued to dominate world hockey for nearly a decade.

2000 was another huge year for Teun. Not only did he finally win Champions Trophy after missing out in 1998 and 99, Teun De Nooijer and Netherlands they would also repeat their results as Olympic champions, taking home another gold medal at Sydney. Then, in 2002 and again in 2003, the Dutch would repeat as Champions Trophy winners.

Every hockey fan expected Teun De Nooijer to win third Gold medal in 2004 Olympics but an injury forced him out of the final against an Australia team and denied him a chance to win third Gold medal.

Apart from Olympics and World Cup events, De Nooijer also won Gold medals at four champions Trophy tournaments, and was a central figure in the Netherlands team that won the 1997 EuroHockey Nations Championship. Not just Netherlands De Nooijer has been and continues to be the driving force of HC Bloemendaal, being part helping the team to seven Dutch league titles as well as success in the Euro Hockey League in the 2008-2009 season, being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Despite having illustrious career, Ten De Nooijer was criticized by his current coach Paul Van Ass before he came out with the list of Olympics probables. Coach considered Teun a gifted hockey player but he was not selected due to tactical issues. Later Paul Van Ass did select Teun De Nooijer in the Olympics team and Nooijer repayed his coach's faith by guiding the team to another silver medal.

Teun De Nooijer was recently named a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, a royal honor for people who have earned special merits for society.

After serving hockey for 18 years, the most versatile player of international hockey bids his adieu to international hockey but the legacy he created will always live on among the hockey fans and players from around the world.

As a life long hockey fan, I would sincerely like to thank Teun De Nooijer for providing hockey fans with so many happy memories which will remind me of the great players who graced the sport of hockey.

Here are the career highlights of Teun De Nooijer

Career Highlights

  • 1996 Olympic Games – Gold
  • 1998 World Cup – Gold
  • 2000 Champions Trophy – Gold
  • 2000 Olympic Games – Gold
  • 2002 Champions Trophy – Gold
  • 2003 Champions Trophy – Gold
  • 2004 Olympic Games – Silver
  • 2006 Champions Trophy – Gold
  • 2007 European Championship – Gold
  • 2011 Euro Hockey Nations Championships – Silver
  • 2012 Summer Olympics – Silver

Check out the video below and see the highlights of legendary career of Teun De Nooijer