HC Bloemendaal talisman Teun de Nooijer has announced that he will be retiring from hockey at the end of the season. The decision means that this weekend’s KO16 Amsterdam event could be the very last time that we see one of the game's greatest ever talents competing in the Euro Hockey League.
De Nooijer, who ended his record-breaking international career shortly after winning a Silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, made the declaration on Friday 22nd March, the day of his 37th birthday.
This brilliant, 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. Wearing the number 14 shirt in honour of Dutch footballing icon Johan Cruyff, De Nooijer represented the Netherlands a world record 453 times and scored 219 goals in a career that lasted 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.
De Nooijer’s international career began on 4th June 1994, making his debut in a friendly match against New Zealand at the tender age of 18. It was immediately clear that he was in possession of an extraordinary talent, but few could have predicted the sheer scale of what this young man would go on to achieve.
De Nooijer’s first medal came at the 1994 World Cup when The Netherlands took Silver behind Pakistan after suffering an agonizing penalty shoot-out defeat. The pain of that loss was eased by the first of two Olympic Gold Medals, when he played a starring role as his team surged to victory at Atlanta 1996. Two years later, De Nooijer scored a Golden Goal winner against Spain in the 1998 World Cup Final in Utrecht, before claiming his second consecutive Olympic Gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Games.
He was denied a third Olympic Gold medal at Athens 2004 when injury forced him out of the final against an Australia team that took victory thanks to a Golden Goal from future HC Bloemendaal team-mate and friend Jamie Dwyer.
The 2008 Beijing Olympic campaign proved to be fruitless, with The Netherlands finishing outside of the medal positions. However, his fifth and final Olympic appearance at London 2012 appearance would result in a remarkable fourth medal, adding a second Silver medal to the one he claimed in Athens eight years earlier. Away from Olympic 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 in Manchester.
At club level, De Nooijer has been and continues to be the driving force of HC Bloemendaal, helping the team to nine Dutch league titles as well as two triumphs in Europe’s elite club competition. In 2001, his team were winners of the old EuroHockey Club Champions Cup competition, a success which was followed up in 2009 when he guided Bloemendaal to a glorious 5-4 victory over UHC Hamburg to win the Euro Hockey League. De Nooijer was named named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player that year, and he will be determined to add one more EHL title to his collection before he finally hangs up his stick.
De Nooijer was recently named a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, a royal honour for people who have earned special merits for society.
Although retiring from playing, he has stated that he will continue to have an active role in the development and support of emerging talents at the HC Bloemendaal, whilst also spending time overseeing the continued expansion of the Teun de Nooijer Academy, which inspires individuals, teams and organisations to reach their maximum potential.
At a glance … the achievements of Teun de Nooijer.
• World record 453 caps
•World Champion - 1998
•Double Olympic gold - 1996, 2000
•Double Olympic silver medallist - 2004, 2012.
•Five time Olympian – 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012.
•EuroHockey Nations Champion – 2007.
•Triple FIH Player of the Year - 2003, 2005, 2006.
•Six times Champions Trophy Gold medallist - 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006)
With HC Bloemendaal:
•Nine times national champion – 1993, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.
•Double European Champion – 2001 (EuroHockey Club Champions Cup) & 2009 (Euro Hockey League)
•Euro Hockey League Most Valuable Player – 2009.
Article reproduced courtesy of Euro Hockey League
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