History of Field Hockey in Nova Scotia
Field Hockey in Nova Scotia originally comprised two associations:
- The Nova Scotia Men's Field Hockey Association (NSMFHA) - incorporated May, 14, 1986
- The Women's FIeld Hockey Association of Nova Scotia (WFHANS) - incorporated December 15, 1980
On April 18, 1991, both associations merged to form Field Hockey Nova Scotia (FHNS).
The following history was prepared from the recollections of various members of the former and current associations as well as from various documents (minutes, registry of joint stock companies, etc.).
History of Men's Field Hockey
(Recollections by Mike Fearon & Rick Hoos)
The following history was originally written by Mike Fearon with additional information provided by:
- Rick Hoos, the founder of men's field hockey in NS
- Dominic Boyd
- Mario DeMello
The Beginning (1971)
Men's field hockey in Nova Scotia was started by Rick Hoos on the Halifax Commons in the Summer of '71 with a small group of about 20 recruits. Mike, Dave and John Andrews were in the first group, as were Dominic Boyd, Hugh Hall, Bruce Blacklock and Terry O’Driscoll to name a few. I was playing a lot of cricket at Windsor Park then and heard nothing about it.
On that initial weekend in the early summer of 1971 and for several weeks thereafter, the Dalhousie University girls field hockey team was kind enough to lend us a couple of dozen hockey sticks, some balls, goalie gear, etc. so that we could supply the majority of the would be players with the necessary equipment for the first few weeks of our first season.
Rick blitzed the Dalhousie campus and called a meeting of interested players in the Spring of '72. I heard about it from Norm Lyttle and a number of us went to the meeting. As a result, there were about 25 players in the Summer of '72: enough for two regular pick-up teams. I don't think we had a formal league.
During the course of that first season, the players developed so quickly that by the fall of that year we were able to convince the national association that Nova Scotia should be able to send a team to the Nationals that were held in Calgary in September 1971.
Nova Scotia also sent a team to Oakville (the predecessor of the Maple Leaf tournament) and perhaps to the JFK Memorial Tournament in Washington in the fall.
Our first National Championships - Calgary, September 1971
In our very first game we faced the perennial champions from British Columbia. Many of the members of this team were on the Canadian team that had just finished playing and won Gold in the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia. We lost that first game 2-1, and almost tied it when we hit the crossbar with a hard hit ball! Needless to say it was a watershed moment for the upstart Nova Scotia team and clearly a moral booster!
For the rest of that tournament we remained very competitive, beat Saskatchewan and Manitoba and finished a very respectable 5th out of I believe 8 teams. I believe that some of the team members were Rick Hoos, Mike Fearon, Terry O'Driscoll, Norman Lyttle, Dominic Boyd, Dennis Loiselle, Peter Blackburn, David Andrews and Michael Andrews.
The Need for Umpires
Quite early on there was some discussion of the need for umpiring (Dominic's extraordinary tackles from behind come to mind), but no-one volunteered because we all preferred to play. However, I had my nose broken by one of the Dalhousie Phys. Ed. students, who played wrong-handed and lifted the ball into my face trying to stick-handle away from a tackle. Since I was forbidden to play for a while, I took to umpiring instead. Later on, when I was allowed to play again, I think I shared the duties with Norm Lyttle.
The First Executive
After a scrimmage one Saturday in October '72 (yes, we were still playing on the Commons that late) Rick called a meeting and proposed that we should form an Executive. The result was that Gordon Hawkins (our goalie at Washington and head of the Institute of Foreign Affairs at Dalhousie) was elected President. Denis Loiselle was Vice Pres., Dominic was Treasurer; Norm Lyttle and Terry O'Driscoll were also on the Executive. I was Umpiring Co-ordinator. In early 1973, Rick (who worked for Environment Canada at that time) was transferred back west to British Columbia, but by then Nova Scotia men’s hockey was well on its way!
The First League
During the Winter we played indoor hockey (with a street hockey ball) in the Studley gym at Dalhousie (arranged by Norm, I think), and held Executive meetings at Gordon's apartment in Peter (something) Hall on Wellington St. At these meetings we planned to have a six-team league operating in '73:
- Windsor (run by Bruce Blacklock)
- Dalhousie Dags (run by Denis Loiselle)
- Another Dalhousie team (run by Gordon ?)
- Halifax (run by Mike Andrews?)
- Dartmouth (run by Terry?)
- St. Pat's HS (run by Norm Lyttle)
The St. Pat's team folded early in the Summer, but the other five all worked out. In Windsor we played on the King's-Edgehill grounds.
We had also expanded our umpiring resources. Early on, Victor Warren, Pres. of Outaouais, dropped by and mentioned the national system of ratings. As a result we sat the exam in my apartment some time during the Summer. Candidates were: myself, Norm, Terry, Dominic, Mike Andrews, and Denis. I was the only one who passed, but the exam was rather a strange one. Norm was particularly bitter over one question about the umpire's decision when a dog runs on the field, picks up the ball in the circle and carries it into the net.
Mario DeMello joined us in the Summer of '73 and joined the Executive that Fall. I moved to Ottawa in August '73. In '79 Outaouais had an exchange of junior teams with NS, and at that time John Jenkins was President.
I came back in Jan. '83 and at that time Mario DeMello was President. Mike Haley had been the President the previous year and had tried to hold the Atlantic Cup tournament, but had had to cancel it. In '83 we had the junior nationals here, organised by Mario.
In '84, I became President and revived the Atlantic Cup the same year (as a replacement for the May six-a-side which was always rained out). I was also President when the Nova Scotia Men's FIeld Hockey Association (NSMFHA) was incorporated as a Society on May 14, 1986.
Where are they now?
- Rick Hoos lives in White Rock/South Surrey, BC and has retired from playing field hockey. His sons play and coach.
- Mike Fearon lives in Annapolis Royal, NS and has also retired from playing.
- Dominic Boyd lives in Sackville, NB and plays occasionally especially in the annual Atlantic Cup tournament in Halifax
- Terry O'Driscoll lives in Dartmouth, NS and plays whenever his team, the Panthers, is short of players
- Michael and David Andrews still play in the Summer league on the Cougars FHC
- Mike Haley plays in the Summer league on the Panthers FHC
- Mario DeMello is still active on the Executive as well as an umpire and plays on the Cougars FHC.
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History of Women's Field Hockey
Women's Field Hockey has been played in Nova Scotia since the 1960s. Unfortunately we do not have enough information to compile a detailed history. Do you have more information to add? Contact us.
- NS was represented at teh first Summer Games held in Halifax and palced 4th. Judi Rice was a member of that team at 17 years of age. Read about her experiences
- In 1975, the NS Women's Senior team won the National Championships and were inducted into the NS Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
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