It is with sadness that Field Hockey BC informs our community of the passing of Henry Thompson at the age of 95 on February 9, 2022. Born in Calcutta, India, on the 25th of June, 1926, Thompson was a former Canadian National umpire and regularly officiated in Vancouver Men’s League and tournaments from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.
“Henry was known as one of the real characters of local hockey”, says Alan Waterman, retired FIH Umpire and Thompson’s umpiring colleague over the years in British Columbia. “I first met him when I began umpiring in the ‘70’s. He was already well established by that time. We went to numerous National Championships, BC Summer Games, and untold numbers of local tournaments, from annual provincial senior tournaments in West Van to every level of junior competitions.”
According to Waterman, in those days it was common for umpires to take on around 150 matches a year. “Henry was always the comic. The big smile, the impish laugh, the inevitable bad jokes. The hockey family loved him, on and off the field.”
Before moving to Canada, Thompson was a professional hockey player in Calcutta. As his niece, Thereza, recalls, he once “scored in just 7 seconds – from bully-off to goal!”. “He and his brothers played for rival professional teams, so you can imagine what that led to… each of them in turns would tell the stories of their glory days, trying to outstrip each other”.
Sadly, Thereza passed along that Thompson’s younger brother also recently passed away. “As fate would have it, his younger brother died the day after he did – on February 10. Perhaps they are playing hockey wherever they are now.”
Our condolences to the family. Rest in peace.