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Jan ten Hoopen (1913-2009)
We are sad to announce the death of Jan ten Hoopen. Jan was the founding father of Over 60s hockey in the Netherlands and played in the Dutch national Over 50 league until the age of 74. At the end of that season he arranged a gathering of all his hockey friends from around the country who were still playing and who were over 60 years young.
This was a great success and the following year, 1989, Jan felt the need to establish something more permanent and founded the NHC “De Zestigplussers”. During the first year a group of 45 players met regularly around the country and played a couple of games amongst themselves. In June 2009 the club celebrated its 20th Anniversary and now, as a member of the KNHB (the Royal Netherlands Hockey Board), it has over 450 active members.
Bernard Verbunt, WGMA Vice-President Europe and former President of the Zestigplussers, paid this tribute to his long-time friend:
Jan was a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and made it his main purpose to let friendship and sportsmanship prevail at all times. Among his many friends were people like Philip Lach de Bère, Jan Vis and Johan Ignatius and he had excellent contacts in England, Belgium and France, permitting Jan to export his idea to other countries. The first international match took place in Brussels back in February 1990. We all recall the fine tournaments in Lille, Kortrijk, Bussum and Rotterdam were Jan was very much present, enjoying in his own gentle way being part of the hockey family.
Jan continued playing well past his 85th birthday and enjoyed very much being among his many friends. We are all indebted to him in one way or the other, especially myself. As one of his successors , I could always seek his advice and was rewarded with sound ideas. Jan will always be remembered for what he was, a true and loyal friend!
Over 60s hockey now has a significant position in world hockey with over 3,500 players in 12 countries, and is organised by the World Grand Masters Association, officially recognised by the FIH.
Jan ten Hoopen’s baby has grown up quickly and is in good health.
His spirit, enthusiasm and sportmanship will always be remembered.