hockey masters battle it out in rotterdam

Another hockey World Cup is taking place just a short drive from the Kyocera Stadium: the FIH Masters for 40+, 45+, 50+ and 55+-teams. Rotterdam hockey club – one of the biggest in the Netherlands – is hosting the event and no less than 74 teams from 21 countries are taking part.

The tournament runs until June 13 and will involve 260 matches. Despite the sunshine and the informal atmosphere, each match is keenly contested.

“That was one of the reasons for me to take part,” says Michael Blaschke, who is representing Germany in the 40+ event. “It should not just be about having fun and drinking. When we are on the pitch we go all out to win. I’m also enjoying the fact so many different countries are involved.”

Close-knit teams

The coaches of the South African men’s 40+ en 45+ teams are enthusiastic about the tournament. “It is fantastic, the reception, the facilities, the friendship,” said one. “And it is really special that the event coincides with the World Cup itself. It should always be like this.”


Both coaches are hoping to reach the play-offs with their teams. “We are a close-knit team. Some of the lads have played together for 25 years, and that includes a number of former internationals,” says the other. “Some of them play better now than when they were young. They understand what their bodies are capable of.”

The Masters’ phenomenon is relatively new to the Netherlands, but Jan Meurer, chairman of the event’s organising committees, hopes all that will now change.

“The Netherlands is a strong hockey country so we can’t do without being represented in the Masters. The Dutch Hockey Masters have found it tough going to get seven teams. It is crucial to keep the momentum going after this event.”

“Of course, the Netherlands does have a very strong veterans’ competition,” says Luc Beurskens from the organising committee. “In other countries, people live far apart and have to make a real effort to play against people of their own age. They consider it much more normal to travel all over the world to play against other Masters’ teams.”

Good feelings

Cyndy Slade, who pays for the Australian women’s 50+ team agrees. “We never train together as a national team during the year,” she says. “Our nearest central location is five hours away. We keep fit and we practise our hockey skills at our local club. But there I only play against teenagers. It is great to play against people of the same age. “

Slade’s team had their first practice session together once they had reached the Netherlands but that has not had an impact on their performance. “We play well together. We might be older but we are mentally and tactically better,” she says. “And it doesn’t matter how old you are, once you put on your Australian kit, it’s a fantastic feeling!”

The FIH Masters runs until June 13 at Rotterdam hockey club. You can follow the tournament