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A Kind of Farewell

Curriculum Vitae Bernard Verbunt 1945 - 2012

Dear “Amicus Hockeyae”,

The time has come to step down from office as Vice president Europe!

I would like to express my gratitude to all hockey friends, who so kindly enabled me to serve in this position.

The reason to stepping down is twofold, for continuity’s sake and private matters.

In Wim van Noortwijk I have found an excellent and very experienced successor. Wim is already a club President and will take on this job in his usual vigorous way with his great enthusiasm and long term vision.

Why being so grateful to Hockey??

I started my hockey life back in 1945 as a junior with my club “TILBURG”.

Sadly my mother died in 1946 and the hockey ladies from this club took me under their wing. I played my first official game as a substitute with the Tilburg Veterans in 1947.

I have considered Hockey my second family ever since.

At Boarding School I played in the first team and served as Chairman in the early 50s.

Here I got nick named “Wammes Waggel” (Waddle) a famous character in a comic strip, very much to do with the way I have always moved about the pitch.

In 1952, as Inter College Champions, we played our first international match against the “Technische Hochschule Aachen”, the start of friendships with many German hockey players.

For my further education I crossed the border and went to Paris (Stade Francais - 1958) as a hockey backpacker, so to speak. I had the honour of playing with Manoukian a celebrity at the time, both as a hockey international and Rally driver. We had to cover long distances (Lille, Lyon, Bordeaux) and lost our away matches because of our dining and wining in the high-speed trains.

In CD Terassa (Spain1959) I played with the grandfathers of the current internationals- a tremendous experience. I lived in Sant Cugat, home town of our FIH President Leandro Negre. The great hospitality and friendships are unforgettable. A glass of wine could be enjoyed at only 0,50 peseta at the time! Just imagine!

In Germany (1960) I enjoyed playing with the Gold Weiss Wuppertal squad. I had to prevent a. o. Herr Dr. Winters (German International) from scoring. He had me waddling a lot about the pitch.

Finally I finished my hockey backpacking in Slough in 1961-62 where I played friendly games. Living in London has been one of the highlights in my education, preparing me for my business and sports governing in later life.

Back home I played in my club Tilburg until 2007 with the over 50s team and we became Champions of the Netherlands in 2002 and 2007. My last game as an international vets player, was against our German over 70s friends (2008) in the Warsteiner Hockey Park in Mönchengladbach (1-1). These days I am now enjoying the autumn of my career as a club umpire, serving our HC Tilburg Ladies in competition.

The conclusion is justified that I am deeply indebted to Hockey.

I decided to pay my dues by serving as a trainer coach, umpire, team manager and Club Board member in charge of the accommodation (TILBURG), Liaison officer KNHB, hosting the foreign teams and enjoyed serving as “legman” in the organisation of a number of Champions Trophies and the World Cup in Utrecht 1998.

I have been Chairman of the Zestigplussers for five years and until very recently have been Vice-President of the WGMA. I had the privilege to serve as a TC in our various WGMA Tournaments, an unforgettable and tremendous experience. As for future activities, my goal is to serve on the Organisation committee of the European Cup in Belgium 2013 and the World Cup 2014 in The Hague.


In 2002 first steps were taken to found the World Grand Masters Association inspired by Ted Jones and in 2003 together with Peter Child, Robert Clarke, Jorgos Dramitinos and myself, we formed a Task Force preparing the very successful post-Olympic tournament in Athens. Peter and I, with the experience of Ted Jones, took it from there and helped to make the WGMA into what it is today. Recognition by the FIH has been obtained since.

Working closely together with Peter and Adrian is a formidable and extremely pleasant experience. Peter skyping every other day and Adrian fine tuning the Queen’s English!

Yes, indeed, I spent nine happy years working for our cause.

With your permission I shall continue in the background as the International Development Officer WGMA being able to spend more time with my wife Lennemie, my prop and stay to for 47 happy years.

Let me express my gratitude to Els van Breda Vriesman, Hans Bertels, Leandro Negre and Kelly Fairweather who so kindly have given invaluable advice and support.

Many thanks also to Johan Wakkie, Marijke Fleuren, André Bolhuis, Joost Vettorato, Erica Terpstra and my brother Ruud, letting me into the secrets of their vast experience and their long-term vision.

Finally a word of great appreciation and friendship to Kenji Hamanaka, I shall miss his oriental wisdom and phrasing!

I wish my good friends, WGMA Hockey Board members, Peter Child, Adrian Stephenson, Jürgen Buddenberg, John Watts, Kenji Hamanaka and Wim van Noortwijk and so many others a great hockey future in good health and friendship.

An extra word of admiration for Jan Ten Hoopen, founding father of the Zestigplussers and promoter par excellence of veterans Hockey!

Good luck to you all!


Bernard H.J.M.Verbunt


Former Vice-President WGMA  
Liaison Officer, KNHB. Medal of Honour, KNHB
Member of Honour, WGMA Member of Honour, De Zestigplussers
Member of Merit, TMHC Tilburg  

February 2012


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