It was 1999 when Nathan Stagno umpired his first international and 16 years later he became the first umpire from Gibraltar and only the 36th male umpire ever, to receive the Golden Whistle for 100 senior international matches.
Speaking about his award, the quietly-spoken Stagno said: “First of all, I wasn't aware that I was short listed with Hamish (Jamson) and John (Wright), both quite outstanding umpires. For me, coming from one of the smallest hockey-playing countries, you can't imagine what that this mean to me, my family, my hockey club (Collegians H.C) and of course to Gibraltar.
Being named top umpire of the year 2015 is another tick in my box in my umpiring career. I would like to especially thank all those who voted for me, a big thank you.”
The next few months will be full of both excitement and poignancy for Stagno as he will be umpiring in his second Olympic Games when he takes to the field at Rio 2016, but it will also be his last year at the top-flight of umpiring as he has announced his retirement.
But, as he says: “What better way to retire than in Rio with my family watching and among all my umpire friends, both male and female. This is a big year; besides the Olympics I also have the Champions Trophy in Argentina, the EHL KO16 in Amsterdam and EHL Final 4 in Barcelona, I can't ask for more.”
For more information about the Hockey Stars 2015, click here.