Clareville hockey grounds … Murray Nielsen maintained the grounds at Clareville, doing the spraying, the weeding, and general tidying up. PHOTO/FILE
The TRC Toyota Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, the late Murray Nielsen, began his love affair with hockey when he was 10 years old
Nielsen was involved with the Dalefield Hockey Club for 64 years and was aiming at 70 years, but because of ill health, he resigned from the Dalefield committee at the 2019 AGM.
He died on May 15 after a long battle with cancer.
Nielsen registered for the club’s senior team in 1962 and played hockey until the age of 60.
He began coaching when he was 15.
In 1962, he joined the executive committee of Wairarapa Schoolboys’ Hockey.
He became president in 1984, a position he held until the association disbanded when various hockey associations merged to form the Wairarapa Hockey Association.
Nielsen was a committee member of the WHA from 1989 to 1993, vice-president from 1994-1995, and president from 1996-1998. He was made a life member of WHA in 2010.
Nielsen coached, played, and umpired throughout his hockey career.
He coached at representative level at various age groups, including the Under-17 boys in 1988-89 and 1991, Curtis Cup , junior schoolboys , and senior schoolboys .
He was also tournament controller for at least four regional and national tournaments from 1987 to 1996, including national secondary schools’ and National U-18 girls’ tournaments.
In 2007, he was awarded the New Zealand Hockey Gold Service Award for his services to the sport.
He was committee member of the Dalefield Club and took up the post of secretary-treasurer in 1966.
He was a committee member in various capacities almost 60 years and made a life member in 1990. He became president in 2003.
Nielsen played a major role in fundraising and building the Dalefield clubrooms in 1986 and helped maintain it until it was sold in 1998 with the advent of the Clareville artificial turf.
He was the soul of the Dalefield club over the past decade, holding the club together as the number of committee members fell.
He also maintained the grounds at Clareville, doing the spraying, the weeding, and general tidying up.
Even in poor health, he was down at Clareville working, or had organised someone else to do it.
Nielsen had a special interest in ‘grassroots’ sports, especially junior hockey.
He was a quiet, thoughtful man and very well-respected.
His wise counsel guided the region’s hockey community for many years.