Lt Cdr Alan Walker who dedicated his life to the sport of hockey sadly passed away on Fri 17th Feb after a short battle with cancer.
Alan joined the RN in Jan 1960 as an Artificer Apprentice . This was where his passion for the sport of Hockey began and he soon picked up his Colours for representing the RN and UK Armed Forces. He made over 100 appearances for the RN between1968-1985.
Alan gained his Level 3 coaching qualification in 1970 and his Level 4 in 1978 and was present at the inception of the present day coach education programme in 1971.
1986 was an eventful year for Alan he left the RN and took up the role of RNHA/ RNASA Secretary as a retired officer at HMS Temeraire, keeping his rank of Lt Cdr. Also in this year Alan was England Hockey’s ‘video man’ at the hockey world cup at Willsden where they won silver. Post tournament Alan was invited to take up the role of HA Staff Coach. On leaving the RN Alan had to take his daughters to a new club, Havant HC where he was soon to be invited to be their club coach. He continued in this post for most of the 90’s, with Havant going from strength to strength becoming England’s top club, qualifying several times for European competition.
In 1992 Alan was asked to take on the Role of England U21 Mens Manager a role he accepted with great pride. During his reign as manager from 1992-94 he oversaw 61 matches, it would have been 8 more if the team hadn’t be ‘bombed out’ at the Indira Ghandi Memorial Tournament in Mumbai in March 93.
In 1990 as part of the Notts Sport scheme Alan was at the forefront of resurrecting Gosport HC and by 1996 they were making their mark as an outstanding example of both adult and junior Hockey, by 1998 their U9’s were national champions (they completed the task again in 2001 as U13’s) and the boys won the millennium Youth games in successive years as well as regularly appearing in Hampshire Outdoor Finals.
In 1997 on the formation of the new joint English Hockey Association, Alan had the honour of being the first Chairman of the National Coaching Committee, attending the FIH Coaching Conference in 1997 and then staffing the EHA Level 4 Course with Mike Hamilton and Malcolm Wood.
During all this time Alan continued his role as the Chief Coach of the Royal Navy and UK Armed Forces who were regularly producing players who gained international caps. His dedication to grass roots hockey within the RN in particular has made it one of the most popular sports in the RN. He managed the CSHA on their tour to Canada in 1988 and oversaw the RN’s first Inter-Service win for 24 years in 2004, which they repeated in 2005, and went on their most successful run in Inter-Service history until his retirement in 2010. No- one knows exactly how many coaches Alan qualified in his time as a coach educator, it will be way above 500 mark and some say it may even be in the thousands, but safe to say his legacy is being carried out on hockey pitches all around the UK.
Alan continued his work on retirement as a Vice President to the RN, UK Armed Forces, Gosport and Nordics’s Hockey Club as well as being a patron to the Hockey Museum, in his final days he was still organising the inaugural fixture for Nordics Ladies which took place on the Sunday after his death.
Alan was truly Mr Hockey, especially in the Royal Navy, an absolute gentleman who always had time for everybody and couldn’t do enough for you; he will be sadly missed by all.