Ernie Wall OBE
Scottish Hockey is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ernie Wall OBE and our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Ernie’s contribution to hockey is huge, not just in Scotland but on the international stage – so much so he was awarded the OBE for services to Scottish and international hockey in 1982.
Ernie’s career in hockey spanned for more than 70 years. A former player at Inverleith Ernie became an international umpire in the 60s. In the early 70s Ernie was the first umpire to be appointed to an international indoor event, and was a driving force behind indoor hockey for the FIH.
The amount of international appointments Ernie had is exceptional; he was appointed as a Tournament Official to European Cups, Champions Trophies, the Azhlan Shah Tournament and annually at least one Indoor tournament – at club and international level, for both men and women.
Major tournaments include men’s Champions Trophy in 1984 in Karachi, Pakistan; 1985 in Perth, Australia; and 1989 in West Berlin, West Germany; as well as the men’s Hockey World Cup in 1994, Sydney.
He was an outstanding administrator at national and international levels and was on the International Rules Board for 30 years.
Evlyn Raistrick worked with Ernie on the rules board and said, “I loved him to bits. Working with him on the rules board and ultimately writing the rules of hockey that everyone in the world now plays to is really something incredible.
“He had such a meticulous memory and knew everything there was to know about Scottish hockey. It’s no wonder he was a big part in writing the history of Scottish Hockey – if you ever wanted to know your history, pick someone’s brains on something, or find something out, Ernie was your man. There was nothing better than picking up the phone to Ernie, I miss him.”
Hockey was always important to Ernie, even during war time when he was stationed in Palestine in 1940 – 41 where he played hockey with Sikh Regiments also stationed there at the time.
Ernie also had a keen interest in the history of hockey, and collecting hockey stamps became his hobby many years ago. The collection that started with a stamp produced in 1951 in Hiroshima, Japan and commemorates many Olympic Games, World Cup, European Cups and some Club Tournaments. The final stamp in the collection is from the FIH Indoor World Cup in Poznan, Poland in 2011.
In 2011, Ernie donated his collection to the European Hockey Federation (EHF). The collection, which is at EHF offices in Brussels, can be seen by appointment through the EHF offices.
He also wrote a document on the separate history of the rules of indoor hockey in November 2000, and was co-author of 100 Years of Scottish Hockey.
EHF President, Marijke Fleuren said “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ernie Wall OBE. Ernie was a much-loved servant of hockey, using his expertise in the indoor game to develop the strength of the indoor game in Europe.
“To us, Ernie always felt like the grandfather of the EHF. He continued to be interested in what was going on in the EHF long after his retirement. Indeed, when he couldn’t join us for any event, he always made a point of sending his apologies.
“We were really delighted in 2011 when he donated his impressive stamp collection to the EHF. It sits proudly in its bespoke cabinet in the office and is much admired by visitors to the office. His lifetime work showcases the time and energy and his level of devotion to hockey, we will treasure that and the memories of a wonderful man. I extend the sincere condolences of the EHF to his family at this time.”
Robin McLaren, Chair of Scottish Hockey, who knew Ernie very well as he was a lifelong friend of his father, said “He will be sadly missed across the international hockey community. Ernie started playing for Inverleith HC in the early 1950s and was the first to be inducted to the Inverleith HC Hall of Fame.
“However, his real contribution to the sport was his membership and leadership of the FIH rules committee, where throughout his 30 years on the committee he radically transformed the sport and created the modern game of hockey, as we know it. We have a lot to thank Ernie for.
“My lasting memory of him is watching the final of the Olympic hockey tournament together in Montreal in 1976. We will miss his knowledge, vision and great company.”
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