Hong Kong Hockey
Brief History of Hockey in Hong Kong
(by Sarinder Dillon – updated January 2023)
The Hockey Hong Kong, China (HockeyHK) was founded in 1933. The inaugural meeting was held on 22nd June 1933 when it was reported that hockey had already made tremendous strides over the past few years but needed a central body to look after the interests of the game and to seek affiliation with the English Hockey Association, which was duly achieved by 1935. The first AGM was held on 31st July 1934 when they looked back on their first year with the President, E. W. Hamilton stating they felt fully justified in having set up the organisation. At that time there were 150 teams, both men and women, with some 2,500 players. As there were only 16 grounds (mainly military grounds) it was agreed to write to Government to ask for more. So hockey was already flourishing in Hong Kong since the 1930s. Club de Recreio is the only surviving club from those days.
The HockeyHK was accepted by the Board of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) as a provisional affiliate at its meeting on 31 October 1950 in Barcelona. The HockeyHK gained definitive affiliation at the FIH Congress held in Helsinki on 17 July 1952. The HockeyHK became affiliated to the then Amateur Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (now Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China) in 1951.
The HockeyHK is a founder member of the Asian Hockey Federation which was constituted during the Asian Games in Jakarta in August 1962.
The HockeyHK became an incorporated body under the Companies Ordinance on 10 January 2014. Before incorporation, the organisation was registered under the Societies Ordinance.
The men's league comprised two divisions in 1950, three in 1961, four in 1981 and five in 1985. A Premier Division was introduced in the Men's league in 2003-2004. The Men’s fifth division was split to form a new sixth division from the 2010-2011 hockey season. A Premier Division was introduced in the Women’s league in 2009-2010.
In the current 2022-2023 league season, there is 72 men's teams in seven divisions and 43 women’s teams in five divisions, a total of 115 teams.
In the 1950s, the game was dominated by the Armed Forces, notably Army A. The power shifted to Recreio A in the 1960s, and to Nav Bharat A in the 1970s. Shaheen A became the dominant force from 1983-84 to 2008-09, a span of 25 years; a remarkable record. As at November 2012, Shaheen Sports Club held 18 First Division/Premier Division league titles and 12 Holland Cup titles, including 7 “doubles”. Nav Bharat Club followed with 9 First Division league titles and 14 Holland Cup titles, including 8 “doubles”.
Hong Kong's first exposure to hockey at the highest level was in 1958 when it hosted the visit of the India and Pakistan National Teams who were on their way home after the Asian Games in Tokyo. Capacity crowds witnessed the brilliant skills of the Indian and Pakistani players in matches played at the former So Kon Po Army Ground. Pakistan defeated Hong Kong 7-0. The second day saw Hong Kong being overwhelmed by India by a massive 22-0. India repeated the feat the next day blanking Nav Bharat Club 21-1. The local hero in the game against Pakistan undoubtedly was Slawee Kadir, the Hong Kong goalkeeper. Slawee's brilliant display between the posts kept the Pakistani goal scoring machine at bay.
Four years later, in 1962, the Hong Kong team participated in its first ever international tournament, the Asian Games in Jakarta. Hong Kong lost to India by a very respectable 0-4 and Malaysia (0-4), but caused a major upset by defeating Korea, the 1958 Asian Games Bronze medallists, by 2 goals to nil. The win improved Hong Kong’s world rankings in the FIH. 1964 saw Hong Kong participating in its first and only Olympics Games. Hong Kong, who were placed 2nd reserves, found themselves in Tokyo after France (replaced by Rhodesia) and Poland pulled out. Hong Kong’s best show at the Tokyo Olympics was a 1-1 draw against the mighty Germany. Hong Kong led by a goal scored by Lionel Guterres. A famous victory was on the cards until Germany equalized with two minutes of the match remaining. Other goal scorers for Hong Kong in the Tokyo Olympic Games were Kuldip Singh (against Canada) and John Monteiro (against Malaysia).
The first International Tournament ever held in Hong Kong was the East Asia Regional Tournament in 1969. The Opening Ceremony on 20 September 1969 was officiated by the Governor of Hong Kong Sir David Trench. Matches were played on the grass pitches of the King’s Park Hockey Ground and Club de Recreio. As there was no floodlighting at the time, matches were played in the early afternoons.
Over the years, Hong Kong have taken part in, and also hosted, a number of international tournaments:
- The East Asia Regional Tournaments in Hong Kong (1969), Kuala Lumpur (1973) and Jakarta (1975).
- 1981 - Hong Kong hosted the 2nd Junior World Cup - Australasian Zone Qualifying Tournament. Participating teams included Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. New Zealand defeated the favourites Australia in the first semi-final and India defeated Korea in the other. New Zealand proved that their victory over arch-rival Australia was no flash in the pan as they surprised the highly fancied India team in the final.
- 1983 - Hong Kong celebrated its Golden Jubilee (50 years) with an Olympic Qualifying Tournament played at the King's Park Hockey Ground. Participating teams: Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Canada and Hong Kong. Australia defeated Pakistan 3-1 in the final. It was a great 10 days of hockey.
- 1996 - Hong Kong won its first international tournament, the Pesta Sukan 4-Nation International Invitational Tournament in Singapore defeating Thailand, Brunei and Singapore on the way.
- 1997 - Hong Kong hosted and won the inaugural Men's Asian Hockey Federation Cup, a new tournament for 2nd-tier teams. As a result, Hong Kong qualified to compete in the senior Asia Cup. The Women's team participated in the inaugural Women's AHF Cup in Singapore later that year.
- 1997 - In the same year, Hong Kong participated in the 8th All-China Games in Shanghai. Due to eligibility rules, Hong Kong could not send its strongest team. Hong Kong came last out of 9 teams.
- 1999 - Hong Kong took part in its first-ever Men's Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
- 2000 - Hong Kong hosted the 1st Girls' U-18 Asian Hockey Federation Cup. India defeated Japan in the final by 3-1. The Hong Kong girls defeated Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka to take the bronze medal.
- 2001 - Hong Kong participated in the 9th All-China Games in Guangdong, again with an under-strength team. Hong Kong finished in 7th place out of 8 teams, just ahead of Macau.
- 2001 - Hong Kong participated in the 3rd East Asian Games in Osaka finishing as Bronze Medallists after Korea and Japan. Australia participated as a guest team.
- 2002 - Hong Kong hosted and won the 2nd Men's AHF Cup, thus repeating its success of 1997.
- 2003 - The Hong Kong Women's Team matched the success of their men counterpart by winning the 2nd Women's AHF Cup in Singapore defeating Sri Lanka 3-2 in the final.
- 2003 - Hong Kong finished in 7th place ahead of Bangladesh in the 6th Men's Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
- 2003 - Hong Kong hosted a 4 - Nation Tournament with Korea, Great Britain and Japan, 3 World Cup teams delighting the crowds. Korea defeated Great Britain in an exciting final.
- 2003 - The Hong Kong men's and women's U-21 teams participated in the Junior AHF Cups in Singapore.
- 2005 - The Hong Kong Men's team participated in the 10th National Games Hockey Qualifying Tournament in Lanzhou, China and the main event later in the year in Changzhou, China. The main senior squad took part in the MIA International Hockey Challenge in Singapore and the 4th East Asian Games in Macau. The Hong Kong Women's Team played a 3-Test series against Singapore in Singapore prior to participating in the Macau East Asian Games.
- 2006 - This was probably the busiest year for both the Men's and Women's teams with the Asian Games Qualifier in Bangladesh and Malaysia respectively. Both teams were successful in their ventures and went onto the Doha Asian Games, the women after a break of 20 years. As preparation for the Asian Games, both teams played in tournaments/test matches in Hong Kong and overseas.
- 2007 - Hong Kong hosted the 6th Women's Asia Cup with a record 9 participating teams. Japan surprised China in the semi-final and Korea in the final to lift the Cup.
- 2007 - The Hong Kong Men's Team participated in the 7th Men's Asia Cup in Chennai finishing in 8th place out of 11 teams.
- 2007 - The Hong Kong Men also took part in the 2nd Asian Indoor Games in Macau and the Singapore International Hockey Challenge.
- 2008 - The Hong Kong Men hosted the 2nd Hong Kong Quadrangular Hockey Tournament. Guangdong defeated Chinese Taipei in an exciting final.
- 2008 - After a lapse of a number of years, the annual Interport hockey series against Macau resumed with matches played in Macau in the categories of Senior, Boys' Under-21, Girls' Development team and Men's Veterans. The Hong Kong teams emerged victors in all four categories.
- 2008 – The Men participated in the 3rd AHF Cup in Singapore.
- 2008 - Hong Kong hosted the Grand Masters Hockey World Cup in September 2008. The tournament, for those aged 60 or over, attracted a total of 18 overseas teams and one HK team in three categories. Hong Kong played in the 60s group and came 4th out of nine teams, with convincing wins over South Africa and Scotland.
- 2009 - Hong Kong hosted the 3rd Hong Kong Quadrangular Hockey Tournament. The Air India team defeated Guangdong in a close final. Chinese Taipei took third-placed honours defeating Hong Kong in penalty strokes after the teams tied in regulation time.
- 2009 - The Hong Kong Men's team participated in the 11th National Games Hockey (Men's) Qualifying Round held in Guangzhou, China in March and the main event held in Jinan, China in October 2009.
- 2009 - The Hong Kong Women's team participated in the 11th National Games Hockey (Women's) Qualifying Round held in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China in April.
- 2009 – Hong Kong hosted the International Masters Hockey Tournament which attracted a total of 21 teams, 18 of which were from overseas. England took the major honours winning in 3 categories (45+, 50+ and 55+). New Zealand were the champions in the 40+ group.
- 2009 – Hong Kong hosted the 5th East Asian Games with both the men’s and women’s teams taking part. The Hong Kong men won the bronze medal in an exciting play-off against favourites China with the winning goal coming in extra time.
- 2010 – Both the men’s and women’s teams took part in the respective Asian Games Qualifier in Bangladesh and Thailand. Whilst both Hong Kong teams qualified from the tournaments according to AHF rankings, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong decided to only send the men’s team to the Guangzhou Asian Games. The men’s team came 9th out of 10 teams at the Games.
- 2011 – The 5th Men’s HKQHT, held in March-April, was pitched at the Junior (U-21) level to give the Hong Kong juniors exposure and experience ahead of the 3rd Junior AHF Cup to be hosted by Hong Kong in July 2011. Hong Kong came second, losing to Chinese Taipei in the final.
- 2011 - The Hong Kong Women's U21 team took part in the 3rd Women's Junior AHF Cup in Bangkok.
- 2011 - Hong Kong hosted the 3rd Men's Junior AHF Cup. In the seven-team competition, China defeated Singapore in a closely-contested final, taking the title in extra-time penalty shoot-out.
- 2011 - Hong Kong Men's Masters and Hong Kong Ladies Veterans participated in the Singapore International Master Classics. The Hong Kong Men's Grand Masters finished runners-up to Malaysia in the inaugural 1st Asian Grand Masters Cup.
- 2012 – The Hong Kong Men’s team took part in the 4th Men’s AHF Cup in Bangkok and The FIH World League Round 1 in Singapore
- 2013 – Both the Hong Kong Men’s and Women’s teams participated in the National Games Qualifiers in Beijing and Wujin City (Jiangsu Province) respectively.
- 2013 – The Hong Kong Men’s and Women’s teams took part in the 6th East Asian Games in Tianjin, China. The Women earlier competed at the Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
- 2014 - The Hong Kong Women’s team participated in the Asian Games Qualifier in Bangkok in February, the FIH World League Round 1 in Singapore in June and the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea in September – October. Hong Kong hosted the 4th Women’s Junior AHF Cup in August. The Hong Kong Men participated in the Asian Games Qualifier in Dhaka, Bangladesh in March and the FIH World League Round 1, also in Dhaka, in September.
- 2015 – Hong Kong Men participated in the 2nd Men’s Asian Challenge in Myanmar, the 3rd Grand Masters Hockey Asian Cup in Kuala Lumpur and hosted the 7th Hong Kong Quadrangular Hockey Tournament. The Women took part in the 5th Indoor Asia Cup in Bangkok, the 2nd Women’s Asian Challenge in Bangkok and the 1st National Youth Games Qualifier in Dalian, China.
- 2016 – Another busy year. The Men participated in the 4th Boys U18 Asia Cup in Dhaka, the FIH World League Round 1 in Singapore and hosted the 5th Men’s AHF Cup and the Hong Kong–Macau Interport match. The Women took part in the 4th Women’s AHF Cup in Bangkok, the FIH World League Round 1 in Singapore and hosted Test Matches against Singapore as well as the 3rd Women’s Hockey Invitational Tournament.
- 2017 – Men’s 3rd Men’s Asian Challenge in Myanmar, 13th National Games Qualifier in Guangzhou, Macau–Hong Kong Interport in Macau and the 4th Grand Masters Hockey Asian Cup in Hiroshima. The Women were equally active. 3rd Women’s Asian Challenge Cup in Brunei, 13th National Games Qualifier in Tianjin, FIH World League Round 2 in Kuala Lumpur and hosted the 4th Women’s Hockey Invitational Tournament.
- 2018 – The Men hosted a Triangular Tournament. The Men and Women took part in the 18th Asian Games Qualifiers, in Muscat and Bangkok respectively. Both the Boys’ and the Girls’ Youth teams participated in the Youth Olympic Games 5-a-side Qualifier in Bangkok. The Men’s and Women’s senior teams played in the FIH Hockey Series Round 1 in Singapore and the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- 2019 – Hong Kong hosted the 2nd Masters Indoor World Cup where the Hong Kong Masters Men’s team in the 40+ age group acquitted themselves very well winning the Silver Medal. Hong Kong also hosted a joint invitational tournament - the 10th HK Quadrangular Hockey Tournament for men and the 5th Women’s Invitational Tournament. The Hong Kong Men played a 4-Match Test Series with Singapore in Singapore. The Men’s Junior team participated in the Taiwan Nantou International Men’s Hockey Tournament as well as the 5th Men’s Junior AHF Cup in Muscat, Oman. The Women’s Junior team took part in the 5th Women’s Junior AHF Cup in Singapore. The Hong Kong Men’s Grand Masters team (60+) travelled north to Donghae, South Korea for the 5th Grand Masters Asian Cup.
- 2022 – The Men’s and Women’s teams took part in the 19th Asian Games Qualifiers, in Bangkok and Indonesia respectively. The Men played a 3-Match Test Series with Singapore in Singapore. The Women’s Junior team participated in the Junior AHF Cup in Kazakhstan.
- 2023 – The Men’s Junior team participated in the Junior AHF Cup in Oman.
In summary, Hong Kong participated in the following major events:
|1982 New Delhi
|East Asian Games
|2009 Hong Kong
|Asian Indoor Games
|1999 Kuala Lumpur
|2003 Kuala Lumpur
|1982 New Delhi
|East Asian Games
|2009 Hong Kong
|1989 Hong Kong
|2007 Hong Kong
|2013 Kuala Lumpur
Note: The above has been compiled based on records available to the HockeyHK. If anyone has information/records of hockey in Hong Kong, in particular before 1953, he or she is most welcomed to contact the Hockey Hong Kong, China via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.