It is with great sorrow that the Executive Board and Members of Vancouver Hawks FHC learnt the sad news of Balbir Singh’s passing.
Balbir was a dear friend of many members of the Club, especially Masters players in the GreyHawks Team who have known Balbir personally for many years. GreyHawks stalwarts Don Paterson and John McBryde were particularly close to Balbir and wish to share their memories at this time:
Don’s recollections of Balbir: “As a player he was the forward of his day with a striker’s instinct for goal. He was always generous in sharing his hockey experiences and enjoyed coaching the young. Even late in life, in his eighties, he produced a coaching manual which I had the pleasure of editing. On a personal level he is one one of my early sporting heroes although we only saw him on the newsreels at the cinema (pre-TV age). Balbir was a fiercely competitive player, enormously proud of his nation’s honour but always the consummate gentleman on and off the field”.
John’s remembrances of Balbir: “Balbir was not only an outstanding hockey player, having won gold medals at three consecutive Olympics, but he was also a kind and generous person and the consummate gentleman. I first became aware of Balbir in 1956 when the Olympics were held in Melbourne where, as Captain and leading goal-scorer, Balbir led India to its third Gold Medal in three consecutive post-war Olympics. I had the good fortune to meet Balbir in 1962 at a 12-Nation “ World” Tournament in Ahmedabad India where Balbir – by then retired from international hockey – made a come-back to play for an Indian Invitational Team in an Exhibition Match against a Team comprising one member of each of the other participating nations. It has been a great pleasure to meet up with Balbir again in Vancouver over the last four decades.”
Balbir was inducted in 1989 as an Honorary Member of the Vancouver Hawks FHC. The Club extends its condolences to Balbir’s family and colleagues as well as to everyone in the Hockey Community who knew and admired Balbir. He will be sadly missed by his family, as well as the hockey community as a whole.