Hockey: Farewell Lawrence, the architect of NS Hockey

The loud, thunderous and booming voice of the famed NS Padang is no more.

Lawrence Joseph van Huizen, the doyen of Hockey, be it at school, district, state, national and international level left this earth to be with The Lord at 4.30am this morning after battling a lung infection for well over two weeks.

The architect of Negeri Sembilan Hockey was by himself an institution, a personality that can never be replaced, no matter what.

On his trusted bicycle, Oji as he was lovingly referred to, would pedal all the way from Temiang to the NS Padang daily to coach the teams of St Paul Institution, Rangers, NS State and Age Group teams – be it men or women.

He had that unorthodox smile, and uncanny laughter but the moment he stepped into the hallowed grass of the famous NS Padang, that look will change into a stern, fierce and uncompromising look, so much so that it would send shivers down the spine of every Hockey player under his tutelage.

If he was not at the Padang or at work ( Standard Chartered Bank) then the best place to catch Oji would be at the coffee shop next to his bank.

I spent many a time sitting down and chatting with him at that coffee shop, having started working alongside him when we were both coaching and managing the Seremban Municipal Council team from 1985.

Lawrence helped me set up the MPS Hockey Team that went on to participate in the inaugural Malaysian Hockey League, then known at the Lucky Strike National Hockey League.

Though MPS did not have a star studded team and played and trained on grass, we had in our midst a coach extraordinaire, a master tactician and a task master in Lawrence.

His uncompromising stand for discipline and hard work turned many an ordinary player into an outstanding team player.

Having played at the highest level – the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, it’s ironic that Lawrence left us a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in which his grandson Joel Samuel van Huizen is trying to qualify as a member of the national team.

Stephen, the second Son of Oji was a member of the 1984 Los Angles Olympic team and coached the national team in their last Olympics at Sydney in 2000. He is presently the national team manager after taking us to a silver medal at the 2010 and 2018 Asian Games.

Lawrence coached many a player for well over three decades ( forgive me if I left out your name) ranging from N. Palanisamy, Brian Sta Maria, James D’Cruz, Michael Yen, Franco D’ Cruz, Colin Sta Maria, Clarence Sta Maria, William Lazaroo.

Oji coached and mentored the following girls from Negri that went on to don national colours for many years; Agnes, Noraihan Bahari, Halimahton, Aishah, Parames, Valerie Nunis, Chi Siew Chien, Elizabeth Gomez, Lau Siew Tang and K. Maheswari .

While Stephen, Stanely, Cassian plus Joel lost a fatherly/Grandfather, I personally have lost my mentor in Hockey, an individual that tutored me in the requirements of producing solid development programs and identifying talents.

His strong disciplinary traits served me well in carrying out my administrative duties till this day.

A strong willed and principled individual, the void left by Lawrence will never be filled.

He was one of the kind, one who served the sport rather then let the sport serve him.

He came to this earth with nothing but left thousands singing his praises during his years of yeoman and few service to Hockey.

We shall all miss you Oji, though gone you shall forever remain in our hearts.

Note: This article has been particularly hard to pen given I just lost my eldest nephew barely hours ago who succumbed to complications as a result of a stroke. He was only 42 years old. However I felt duty bound and responsible in paying tribute to Oji, whom I had known since 1975.

The bio data below is courtesy of Tony Mariadass, my former colleague at the esteemed Malay Mail.

BIO DATA

Lawrence Joseph Van Huizen  PMC , PJK

Date of Birth           : 30th July 1930

Age : 89

 

Playing Career – Hockey

Represented – State level

1) Negeri Sembilan 1951 -1968

Also represented Negeri Sembilan in Football

Represented Malaysia – Senior Team 

1) 1 Olympics -1964 Tokyo  Olympics

2) 2 Asian Games – 1958 Tokyo Asian Games   and 1962 Jakarta Asian Games ( Bronze)

Was Captain of the National Hockey team for the Pre Olympic tour to India in 1964

Coaching career

1) Malaysian Ladies Hockey Team 1981 -1986

a) 1981 Asia Cup Kyoto Japan – Bronze

b) 1982 Asian Games New Dehli– Bronze

c)1983 Women’s Intercontinental KL – 3rd place

d) 1983 Sea Games Singapore – Gold

e) 1986 Asian Games Seoul  – 4th

2) Coach  Malaysian Men team to Lahore International Tournament 1976 – 4th placing

3)Assistant Coach for 1966 Asian Games Bangkok and one of the assistant coaches for the 1975 World Cup

4)Coach for Mexico Olympics with Mr Naidu of India but was dropped at the last minute when MHF decided to take foreign Coach Mr Naidu from India instead.

Others

·Coach of Indonesia Ladies Hockey Team Jakarta Sea Games1987

·Coach of Singapore Ladies Hockey Team KL Sea Games 1989

·Coach of Sarawak Sukma Team 1990 and 1996

·Coach St Paul’s Institution and Negeri Combined Schools from 1957 that produced many Olympians and International Hockey players – Franco DCruz, Brian Sta Maria, Colin Sta Maria, Kevin Nunis, Derek Fidelis, Gary Fidelis.

Pingat Masyarakat Cemerlang (PMC) and PJK – Negeri Sembilan

Father of ex National Hockey Captain and coach – Stephen Van Huizen, Negri players Stanely van Huizen, Cassian van Huizen

Brother of Former 1956 Olympian and double international Late Peter Van Huizen