Usually, in The Netherlands on King’s Day, there is a sea of orange on the streets and waterways as Dutch people celebrate the birthday of their King. It is also a day for the King to acknowledge people who are working in their communities, often volunteers in sport and charity.
As hockey is stitched into the fabric of Dutch society, we are always delighted to celebrate those people who are a part of our hockey family and receive King’s honours. In normal times there is a gathering of friends and family and the Mayor of the relevant city presents the ‘ribbon’ and of course a display of orange flowers to the recipients.
Today is a King’s Day like no other as Dutch people respect the social distancing imposed in The Netherlands and worldwide due to the threat of COVID19, but it still a day where the hockey family joins together (virtally) to congratulte two well know members of the hockey community, TD Edna Rutten and Coach Herman Kruis.
Speaking to both of them over the weekend it seems that Edna was completely blindsided by a call from the Mayor of Rotterdam, which she initially missed as she was working (from home!). She phoned back and assumed there was some error when she realised it was the Mayor’s office that she had missed a call from!
When she had recovered from the shock, she was truly delighted to receive her “Officier in de Order van Orange Nassau”. She was nominated for her tireless work as a hockey volunteer. She started umpiring in 1981, early retirement came in 2001, but in spite of the direct route being an Umpires Manager, Edna, with the support of Marianne Kooijman-Bernard went down the route of a Technical Officer, culminating in her being the first woman to be appointed to a solo men’s Tournament, when she was appointed as a Judge for the most recent Men’s World Cup in 2019 in Bhubenawaar, India. In addition, Edna has been involved in the education of umpires and officials over many years, joining the EHF Development Committee in 1997. She was involved in the initial set-up of the successful EHF UDP Programme.
She is a Senior Judge in the Court of Rotterdam, a demanding job and she combines that with her family life and volunteer hockey life “I am so humbled and delighted with this award. For me, I always wanted to share my knowledge and expertise and both in my professional life and sporting life, I am always learning. I would really like to take this opportunity to thank Tom (her husband) for his unwavering support of me over the years, he has never asked for anything in return for supporting me and our family. I am delighted to share this award with my immediate family and look forward to the presentation of the “ribbon” and a party when it is allowed!
Herman Kruis was equally surprised to receive a call from the Mayor of Breda, Paul Depla. “He was calling me and telling me about this Royal Award I was totally surprised and a few seconds later very proud.” (Officier in de Order van Orange Nassau)
Herman was the Dutch women’s coach from 2008-2010 and prior to that the indoor side, with which he won the Indoor World Cup in Vienna in 2007. He is still heavily involved in his club setup BHV Push, along with giving of his time as an EHF Coach Educator. He has been a fundamental part of the EHF Coaches Committee since 2012, developing the curriculum of the EHF Coaching Programmes. Part of his legacy will certainly be his brilliant work with the Belarus Hockey Federation, changing the culture of coaching and ensuring that the women’s side has achieved on the world stage, most recently taking the EuroHockey Indoor Championships at home in Belarus earlier this year.
Herman mused “Later (that day) a reporter from the newspaper calls me and ask if it is now time to stop. My answer, stopping? no way I believe in share the knowledge and help youngster athletes, trainer and coaches and there is nothing more to give more satisfaction than doing this.”
We don’t think this reporter really knows ‘our’ Herman, who takes great joy in sharing knowledge, which we are very grateful for!
Congrutlations again Edna and Herman, you truly are #equallyamazing