|National federation||Netherlands Ice Hockey Association|
|IIHF since||January 20, 1935|
|Current champion||Destil Trappers|
The Netherlands is a country in the North-West Europe. Amsterdam is the capital and largest city.
|Eredivisie||1945||-||Top-level national competition|
|Eerste Divisie||1946||-||Second-level national competition|
|Tweede Divisie||1947||-||Third-level national competition|
|Derde Divisie||-||Fourth-level national competition|
|Vierde Divisie||-||Fifth-level national competition|
|Vijfde Divisie||-||Sixth-level national competition|
|Dutch Cup||1937||-||National cup competition|
|Ron Berteling Schaal||2007||-||Cup champion vs. league champion|
|North Sea Cup||2010||2012||Defunct multi-national competition|
|Dutch Challenge Cup||1985||2007||Defunct cup competition|
|Dutch Supercup||1998||1998||Defunct cup competition|
|Dutch junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
|Dutch Women's Hockey League||1994||-||National women's league|
History of hockey in the Netherlands
For more detailed information on the early years, please see Bandy and Ice Hockey in the Netherlands (1890-1945).
Bandy was first played on natural ice in Haarlem during the 1890s. The Dutch individual behind the introduction was Pim Mulier who "imported" bandy from England. On January 5, 1891 Mr. Mulier and his Haarlem team (IJsclub Haarlem) lost 14-0 at home to the Bury Fen Bandy Club, who paid a visit to Holland. The Englishmen also played two games in Amsterdam during their tour. The Dutch players were good students and two years later the Haarlem team beat the same English team 7-1.
In 1895 the Bandyclub Haarlem was founded and two years later the Haagse Hockey en Bandyclub was formed. A bandy federation was also formed in 1898. Bandy activities in Holland continued until the early 1900's and then slowly vanished due to mild winters. It was over 20 years before the Dutch had a chance to see ice hockey.
It wasn't until January 1929, when two Belgian clubs played an exhibition game in Haarlem, that ice hockey came to Holland. This game is generally regarded as the first ice hockey game in the country. The game was even mentioned in a Haarlem newspaper (Haarlems Dagblad) who called it a modern and noble game.
Students from Haarlem and Hague played for the Louis Bijvoet Cup in 1933 - the first real ice hockey competition in Holland. The Hague students won it and the Haarlem students then made another Cup available named the Anton Beijnes (Beynes) Cup. Enthusiasts from Haarlem, The Hague and Amsterdam were the driving force behind the foundation of the Netherlands Ice Hockey Association on September 6, 1934. The main individuals behind the federation was Jonkheer Boogaert (Haarlem) and J.A.C. Bierenbroodspot (Amsterdam). Holland joined the IIHF on January 20, 1935.
The most famous rink at that time was in Amsterdam (Linnaeusstraat). Among people the arena was called "Koude Sarrasani". This rink was the home arena for the A.IJ.H.C. Amsterdam. In 1937 the first artificial rink was built in the Hague. The second one (outdoor) was built in 1938 and opened on November 28 in Tilburg at the Elzenstraat. (capacity 4,000).
Two people who should get a great deal of credit for the development of Dutch hockey during the 1930's were the two Austrians, Hans Weinberg and Herbert Bruck. Bruck was the manager of the "Koude Sarrasani" arena and the coach and promoter of the A.I.J.H.C. team called "The Blue Six". He also wrote the first book about hockey in Holland in 1938. A competition for the Nestor Beker (Dutch Cup) was staged for the first time in 1937-38. It was won by H.H.IJ.C. Den Haag, the first year, but Amsterdam gained the title in 1939. The team was loaded with national team stars as Hans "Teengs"Gerritsen, Bob van der Stok and Felix de Jong, among others.
The late 1930s also saw the first Canadians make their debut in Dutch hockey. Players such as Pete Griffin, Paddy Boyd, Jack May, Willis Kirby, Ken Begin and Sunny Mooney all "spiced" up the league a little. But just as the interest was growing World War II intervened. No league games were played between 1939 and 45.
The league resumed during the 1945-46 season. The three artificial ice rinks had been destroyed during the War but were rebuild by the Canadian soldiers in Holland. After the War it was the Hague team (H.H.IJ.C) that dominated the Dutch league for a couple of years. Between 1951 and 1964 there was no championship played because the Hague team was the only one active during this period. In 1955 the club was re-named IJ.H.C Den Haag and in 1958 to H.IJ.S. Hoky (Haagse IJshockey Stichting).
Between 1964 and 1969 they won the league and had brought in Canadian players like Pat Adair, Earl Foster and Ron Naud, who all were key performers. Domestic players including Arie Klein, Wil van Dommelen and Joop Manuel were also an integral part of the success. The club's influence on Dutch hockey was so strong that it was often refereed to as "Haagse School" (The Hague School).
During the 1960s more artificial ice rinks slowly popped up. Amsterdam got one in 1961 and in 1962 Deventer did too. In 1964 another outdoor rink opened in Tilburg , known as the Theresia-baan. Indoor rinks then followed Den Bosch (1966), Heerenveen (1967), Geleen, Tilburg (Pelikaan-Hal) and Nijmegen (1968), Groningen, Eindhoven and Utrecht (1969) also followed. Before 1961 there were only three artificial ice rinks in Holland (only one covered). Ten years later the number was fourteen. This was a start to a kind of hockey renaissance in Holland. Junior teams and leagues were also formed during the mid-1960s giving Dutch hockey good hope for the future.
The Hague's dominance came to an end in the late 1960s when Stichtse IJshockey Club Den Bosch (S.IJ. Den Bosch) won the title in 1969-70 with a team loaded with Canadians such as Boyle, Hagerman, Sheridan and Bedart. This started a fierce rivalry between some of the clubs. The Tilburg Trappers team (T.IJ.S.C) broke from the usual pattern of only having Canadians on their team. They brought in Czechs such as the Tuma brothers (Vaclav and Jaroslav), Jiri Petrnousek, Ivan Kocanda, Jiri Pokorny and goalkeeper Jaroslav Bulejcik among others and they were soon dubbed "The Czech Connection". All the players except Pokorny (who had permission to play in Holland), competed under pseudonyms (Bulejcik - Bob Buddy, Petrnousek - George Peters, J. Tuma - Jerry Maas, V. Tuma - Wenzel Toemen, Kocanada - Kokkie Sanders).
Together with Canadian John MacDonald and Dutch-Canadians Joe Simons, Henk Brand, Mario van Veghel, Gerry Gobel, Bob Smulders and Jack de Heer they formed a deadly mix of skilled East Europeans and Canadians. Soon the Tilburg team was unbeatable, winning six straight titles between 1970-76. Tilburg even had some success on the international level which soon caught the attention of some good sponsors.
Soon Heerenveen and two brothers named Sjoerd and Renze Feenstra got together and formed a team named the Feenstra Flyers (also named Feenstra Verwarmingen Heerenveen for a while). They went on to win the Dutch title between 1977 and 1983. This team was dominated by Canadians or Dutch-Canadians like Jack de Heer, Larry van Wieren, Jan Janssen, Tony Palmascino, Gordon MacDonald, Brian de Bruyn and Robin Sadler (Montreal's 1st choice, ninth overall in 1975), but there were also a lot of very good Dutch players like Leo Koopmans, Piet and Theo Nota, Johan Toren and Tony Collard to name a few.
In the 1990's the Pandas Rotterdam, Langhout Utrecht, Tilburg Trappers and Tigers Nijmegen all won championships. In the early 1990's the finals could attract up to 5000 spectators, but in recent years there haven't been as many followers. The league games usually attract less than 1000 per game, although Tilburg can have bigger crowds. In 1993 and 1994 SPIJ Nijmegen (Tigers Nijmegen) got themselves in a lot of trouble when their fans were involved in numerous fights in the stands and even the team made headlines for their "violent" behavior.
During a game in Denmark against a Danish team in 1994, one of the biggest brawls ever seen in a European hockey rink erupted. Players fought against each other and the crowd. 15 players got game misconducts (11 of them were from Nijmegen), 350 penalty minutes were handed out and six players ended locked up in a police cell. The police had to storm the ice with dogs to separate the combatants. Some of the Nijmegen players were handed stiff penalties by the Dutch Ice Hockey Federation. Nijmegen's tough play continued in the Dutch league in the semifinals against Tilburg that same year. The 3rd game was stopped after 12 minutes of the first period because of a huge brawl between the players.The Nijmegen players got the blame for it and were disqualified from the playoffs. The club later cleaned up their act and won for consecutive national titles (1997-2000) while playing great hockey and being worthy winners.
In recent times the Amstel Tijgers, Tilburg Trappers, and HYS The Hague have enjoyed success in the league. There was also a multi-national competition between Dutch and Belgian teams (the North Sea Cup) in 2011 and 2012. The Dutch Cup has been contested annually since 1971.
There have been some players in the Dutch league over the years who had NHL experience. Wayne van Dorp, John "Wire" Wensink, Jose Charbonneau, Steve Gatzos and Dan Bourbonnais to name a few. Longtime NHL'er Hal Laycoe coached the Dutch national team in 1977.
The first international game that the national team played was on January 5, 1935 in Amsterdam. They lost 4-0 to neighboring Belgium. Only two weeks later Holland or "De Oranje" as they are called in Holland, debuted inthe World Championships in Davos (Switzerland). They lost their first game vs Hungary 6-0 (January 19, 1935) and then lost to Switzerland 4-0 and Sweden 6-0 to finish last in their group. They also lost all three games in the consolation pool (Germany 5-0, Romania 6-0 and Latvia 7-0). The Dutch failed to score a single goal and the only highlight was winning the Fair Play Cup. Their best players were forward Jan Gerritsen and goalie Sjoerd van Marle.
The Dutch team won its first international game four years later during the 1939 World Championship in Basel (Switzerland) where they beat Finland 2-1. Holland had a great player at that time named Jan Suurbeek, who was the star of the national team during the 1930s and 1940s. He excelled with his fine skating and nifty stick-handling. Just as hockey was growing in popularity, the war broke out and the activities stopped for a while, although military teams played in Holland from time to time during the war.One of the players who played games in Holland was Hall of Fame goalie Walter "Turk" Broda who was in goal for his Fourth Division Artillery All-Stars (Canada). Future NHL-President Clarence Campbell refereed some of these games.
The war took its toll on some of the Dutch hockey people. One of the original members of the Dutch national team in 1935, Hans Maas was killed during the war in England in November 1941. Felix-Paul van der Stok, the co-founder of the Tilburg Trappers was killed in a concentration camp and the chairman of the club (Tilburg) Rob van Spaendonck was shot in front of a firing squad. A player by the name Cor Wortel resisted against the Germans and was eventually shot by the Germans with his own gun.
Holland came back on the international scene in 1950 when they entered the World Championship tournament in London. The Dutch players didn't have a chance and lost 10-0 to Sweden and 17-1 to theUSA. In the consolation pool they lost against arch-rivals Belgium 8-1, but beat France 4-2. It was during the 1950 tournament that one of the best Dutch players ever made his debut. Ari Klein from the Hague represented Holland between 1950 and 1969 and played until the early 1970s before he retired as a 42-year old.
Holland played in the B and C-Pools during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The big turnaround came in the late 60's, early 70's when an explosion of Canadian imports hit the Dutch rinks. Dutch-Canadians like Mario van Veghel, Gerry Gobel, Bob Smulders,Larry van Wieren and Jack de Heer raised the quality of hockey in Holland as well as Dutch players including Corky de Graauw and Leo Koopmans. Corky de Graauw played his junior hockey in Canada.
During the 1973 World Championship C-Pool at home in Tilburg and the Hague the Dutch team managed to finish second and qualify for the B-Pool for the first time since 1962. Canadian coach Wayne Hunter brought in several Dutch-Canadian players. Among them Jack de Heer and Dick Decloe. Dick Decloe later became a scoring champion in the German league several times and Jack de Heer had a splendid career. He scored a stunning 217 pts (118+99) in only 129 games for the Dutch national team and 1039 pts (461+578) in only 353 games in the Dutch league. He later was a scoring machine for the Swiss champions EHC Arosa. The Lethbridge born De Heer is probably the best player ever to represent Holland.
He was a big reason to why Holland played in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid as well as the 1981 World Championship A Pool in Sweden. During the 1979 World Championship B Pool in Galati (Romania), Holland had 15 Dutch-Canadians on the team. Before the last game vs the heavily favored East German team, the Dutch needed to win to advance to the A-Pool. The East Germans only needed a tie. The Dutch team fell behind 3-0 and it seemed that their chance of winning was gone, but they showed some incredible fighting spirit and Jack de Heer stepped in as the big hero, scoring the last two goals giving Holland a 4-3 win and a ticket to the Olympics and the A-Pool.
It was one of the most sensational wins ever in the lower WC Pools. The reason was that East Germany had played in the A-Pool the year before and Holland in the C-Pool. It later became known as "Goud in Galati" (The wonder in Galati). The Swedish coach Hans Westberg also deserved a lot of the credit. The Dutch team wasn't very successful in neither the Olympics or the A-Pool. The most memorable incident during these tournaments was when the Toronto-born Dutch defenseman Rick van Gog flattened NHL superstar Guy Lafleur during the 1981 World Championship so hard that Lafleur had to leave the game. They almost got one point in the game vs USA, but a horrendous give away by the Canadian-born Chuck Huizinga 11 seconds from full time enabled the Americans to eek out a 7-6 win.
For the rest of the 1980s, Holland played primarily in the B Pool but also dropped down to the C Pool on multiple occasions. Since 2000 they have competed in the B Pool (now called Division I) every year.
A list of some of the best players in Dutch hockey history includes: Jan Suurbeek, Hans Gerritsen, Sjoerd van Marle, Ari Klein, Joe Simons, Hans Christians Sr., Rudi Bakker, Jos Bles, Gerry Gobel, Jack de Heer, Klaas van den Broek, Frank van Soldt, Corky de Graauw, Leo Koopmans, Jan Janssen, Dick Decloe, Bill Wensink, Larry van Wieren, George Peternousek, William Klooster, Ron Berteling, Tony Collard, Johan Toren, Rick van Gog, Henk Hille, Theo van Gerwen, Tom Hartogs, Antoine Geesink, Dave Livingston and Al Raymond.
The women's national team first appeared on the international scene when they played in the 1987 World Women's Hockey Tournament. The Dutch finished in seventh and last place after failing to win a game. They participated in the IIHF European Women Championshipss in 1989, 1991, and 1995. Since 1999, they have competed annually in the IIHF World Women's Championships. In 2011, they won the Division III tournament and have played at the Division IB level since 2012.
Specials thanks to Patrick H. for supplying information on this country.