David Auld hangs up whistle from Victoria field hockey

by Ali Baggott

VICTORIA – While 2020 marks an unprecedented year with seemingly little in the island hockey world to celebrate, there is one bright spot worth highlighting. Long-time hockey contributor and umpire David Auld has announced his retirement.

“It is my great honour to congratulate David on his retirement from umpiring,” said Denise McGeachy, past president of VILFHA (ladies league) and current president VIFHUA (umpire’s association). “His dedication to our game has few equals. David always brought a positive attitude to each game and treated all players respect. The umpiring community is richer for his contribution, as an umpire and mentor.

“Apart from the umpiring, David is one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever known. David always had a smile on his face at the beginning – and more importantly, at the end of each game no matter how difficult or bad the weather. To me, this is his greatest legacy to our community – his positivity.”

Auld has been umpiring in Victoria since his arrival from Scotland in 1969 and was certified as high as a Canadian Regional level official. A familiar, smiling face on the field, David is well known for his time spent officiating at the high school, men’s league and, most notably, women’s league games. In 2008, David was named a VILFHA Honorary Member, awarded to only 19 individuals since 1958, for their dedication, service and commitment to building the ladies league.

It was only by chance that Auld happened upon the sport of field hockey, which came to be the good fortune for Field Hockey Victoria. While attending the Jordanhill College of Education, in Scotland, Auld intended to pursue the sport of rugby, while the Director of Education at the college had another suggestion.

“I was told, ‘Auld why don’t you try the sissy’s game’ – grass hockey, as it was called then, is what I picked up and I never looked back,” described Auld about how he fell in to the sport. “It was purely by accident. I just loved the game and I climbed the rank enough to play for a first division team at Jordanhill and eventually a West of Scotland team.”

In 1966, Auld relocated to Canada and Vancouver Island, accepting a two-year teaching contract in Shawnigan Lake at the Cliffside Preparatory School, while his wife, Edna, worked as a nurse in Duncan. There, Auld also played field hockey for two years with the men’s team at Shawnigan Lake School in a league that included the Tigers, UVic and an Oak Bay team.

“At the end of those games at Windsor Park there was always a game right after and people figured that since I was a PE teacher I would know all the rules and I should umpire,” said Auld about how the whistle was first placed in his hand. “I had no qualifications but I was given a whistle and just did it. Whenever the umpire certification process started I did that and I got as far as Regional.”

In the 1980’s, Auld was also on the block to contend for his Canadian rank but during his field rating got injured and was unable to complete the game only later to find out that his age would likely prevent him from being selected for any Canadian-level matches anyway.

“I just went for [the Canadian rating] to improve but I was 46 and they had just dropped the age limits,” added Auld, who then decided to just stick with his regional rating.

Auld did relocate to Victoria with his wife, Edna, in 1969 and was the head of PE at Glenlyon Norfolk School. Edna and David had three children – Fiona Auld, Ian Auld and Caty Petan. Both Fiona and Caty played field hockey at Oak Bay Secondary and competed and won, in different years, at the provincial championships.

Auld’s umpiring career included doing the local men’s and women’s leagues, the premier men, high school girls and B.C. provincial championships. Auld bowed out of men’s league about 15 years ago and spent his last five years of umpiring dedicated to the third division VILFHA women’s league, the players of which he credits as the best to umpire.

Auld credits island officials Chris Wilson, Denise McGeachy, Gillian Batey, Alison Sweeten, Steve Stern and Tyler Klenk for their wisdom, guidance and inspiration over the years. Legendary field hockey contributors Jenny John and Pat Hall were also highlighted as being instrumental in support and laying the foundation for his pathway as an umpire.

“I’ve always admired his love of the game and his love of learning to improve his umpiring,” highlighted Victoria-based Chris Wilson, a 15-year FIH International certified umpire. “I remember almost not a weekend would go by that he didn’t have an umpiring question for me.”

“We had some great conversation about umpiring, rules and style. Also, watching him and seeing him enjoying umpiring a game is always a highlight. He’s been a long-standing member of the Victoria hockey community and has dedicated decades to the betterment of our sport.”

Auld continued as a player with the Castaways men’s team, made up largely of retired rugby players, from 1972-75 and when the team folded he played a large part in forming the Oak Bay men’s team.

Players that were umpired by Auld would not be able to argue the fact that he carried his love of the game on to the pitch rain or shine. His calm demeanor, jolly laugh and fair approach to the sport was always appreciated, while his desire to always pursue growth in his ability was an inspiration to all who remain complacent.


Rapid rounds with David Auld:

Q: The hardest rule for you to implement in your time:

David: I’ve never really agreed or understood this one. If you raise the ball in field play it’s dangerous or you are subject to danger but with a shot of goal there’s no danger. Just because there’s a shot on goal there’s no danger? If someone flicks it or scoops it you see that coming but this rule is just so hard to understand.

Q: Most gratifying thing to call or moment on the field:

David: Feeling that I did a good job on the field as an umpire. Usually I have a good feel but the players congratulate you. I remember umpiring the twins, Clive and Giles Wheatley, in a first division game and their sister, Harriet, came up to me and said, “Mr. Auld that was the best game I have ever seen umpired.” And I never expected that and that was a long, long time ago and I was surprised and never forgot.

Q: The most memorable card you have ever given:

I have very few red cards in my career, never in the women’s league, only in the men’s league. I did give a player a red card for language, poor behaviour, bad sportsmanship and as he walked off the field he was still sort of threatening me but I never forgot it. I’ve also given a couple to a few visiting Vancouver team players who were on the Canadian national team and they were upset about the call and said, “why don’t you just give me a red card?” so I did.

Q: Most embarrassing moment:

David: Well one time at half time I went over to my bag and took off my gloves and had to blow my nose and then when we were ready to start the game my colleague started time. Play went on and I went to blow my whistle and realized I had forgot it on the other side of the field in my bag. I had to wave my hands in the air and make a ‘T’ and it was just a major brain lapse.

That wasn’t my most embarrassing moment, though. I can’t remember the two teams but I was doing the right thing and seeing the attack coming towards me. I curled in to the near post and this one lady was running at the ball and I could feel she was over-running the ball. I thought, ‘she is going to charge in to me’ and I prepared myself. She bowled me right over and ended up on top of me and I ended up with both hands on her chest. My partner, Alison Sweeten, will remember this story because I was so embarrassed.

Q: Some advice you have for the next generation of umpires:

David: Be prepared that you are going to make mistakes and you need to learn from them. Watch top class games with top class umpires.

Q: What would you say to umpires who are maybe just happy staying where they are in umpiring?

David: Field Hockey BC used to send out a questionnaire about your goals and your aims and ask you what you inspire to be as an umpire. And after I couldn’t get my Canadian rating I said that I just wanted to be the best Regional umpire that I could be.

Q: Outside of being on the field, what do you think umpiring has taught you?

David: It’s taught me to be as fair and impartial as I can be in a game and so to in life. Go through life fairly and impartially. It’s helped me with conflict management but over the last five years umpiring third division women that rarely was an issue. It’s taught me to be understanding, too.

Q: Looking back at the many weekends you spent at the field, what do you think you would have been doing if you weren’t umpiring?

David: Edna and I would have been going away on weekend trips and maybe some cycling trips. We used to cycle up island, to the gulf islands. We would have been doing more of that. Edna was always supportive of me umpiring. I used to play cricket and a game would be 6 hours and she would come watch with the kids even though she didn’t know the first thing about cricket.

Q: What was your greatest challenge umpiring?

David: My greatest challenge was when I was asked to do two Canada vs USA men’s games in Victoria in the 1980s. Canada and the USA were up at UVic on a two-week training camp so they had scrimmage games every other day and I was asked to umpire. I umpired with a USA national umpire and I warned him that I might be out of my depth but he came up to me afterwards and said, “I don’t know what you’re worried about, you’re doing fine.”

Q. Best advice given to you:

David: Jenny John once said at a clinic, “never assume that when you walk on the field that players are going to foul. You must always go on to the field and assume that they are going to play the game properly.” I thought that was really good advice and that was 25 or 30 years ago.

Q: Highlight tournaments, games or memories for you?

David: Of course the Canada vs USA games. Also, the Bridgman Cup is such a great tournament and I have been to a few of the B.C. High School championships and I’ve enjoyed that. I’ve also umpired in the Vancouver men’s league a few times.

Responsible Return to Play – Second Stage – Community Communique #8

You can access the PDF version of this document here.
You can download the updated version of the “Second Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework” here.


Framework Update for the ‘Second Stage’ Return to Responsible Play

Second Stage’ – The “Cohort” Model

Dear Field Hockey BC Members,

On behalf of the Field Hockey BC (FHBC) Board of Directors, I am writing to provide for an important update to the second stage responsible return to play PSO framework. Following a recent update notification from viaSport (dated September 25, 2020), the previously approved PSO framework (date stamped September 3, 2020) has been updated to provide for clarity of expectation as it relates to the number of cohorts a general participant may be active within (at this second stage), what this means for PSO or NSO high performance participants, and contact tracing protocols.

In short and at this time, PSO framework field hockey participants are required to be restricted to a SINGLE field hockey cohort. The only exception is for participants actively enrolled in a PSO or NSO high performance program, where such participants are permitted to be involved in a second cohort. There is also no longer a requirement to file cohort detail with a facility operator or owner, although the collection and management of up to date cohort information remains essential.

The now updated and approved second stage responsible return to play framework (date stamped September 29, 2020) will be disseminated to LSO senior contacts, posted on the home page of the FHBC website (www.fieldhockeybc.com), and referenced through Society social media channels. As required, a copy of the updated and approved second stage framework (September 29, 2020) will also be sent to viaSport for public posting on the viaSport website (www.viasport.ca).

At this second stage responsible return to play, I once again take this opportunity to draw your particular attention to the required safety protocols, the required completion of attestation forms and management of contract tracing information, and the detail pertaining to the creation and management of the ‘Cohort’ model. It remains everyone’s responsibility whether it be planning for implementation or direct active participation to remain vigilant in the execution of safety protocols, and in doing so help to maintain a high level of participant confidence.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC
September 30, 2020

Revision to viaSport’s Guidelines for Return to Sport

The Return to Sport Guidelines from viaSport has received a small update. Moving forward, the Local Sport Organizations will not send their participant list and contact information to the facility operators as a prerequisite.

“Sport organizations are asked to update their safety plans to reflect the addition of any new activities. For contact tracing purposes, the current Public Health Office Order on Gatherings and Events requires only the user group or event organizer collect contact tracing information (first and last names, telephone numbers, or email addresses) for each participant at each
event. As part of their safety plans, however, facility owners and operators should continue to confirm that event organizers are aware of their requirements for contact tracing and other conditions for holding a safe event.”

See the message from viaSport here and access their full Guideline for more information.

Local Sport Relief Fund now accepting applications

An important step to support sport organizations in British Columbia has been taken by viaSport and the Province of B.C. This Monday they announced that the Local Sport Relief Fund is now open and accepting applications from eligible organizations until October 16, 2020. Non-profit, local and community sport organizations are able to apply for up to $7,500 in funding through this one-time grant.

View the grant guidelines and find out how to apply here. For questions regarding the grant application process or to discuss your application, please email localsportfunding@viaSport.ca.

Responsible Return to Play – Second Stage – Community Communique #7

You can access the PDF version of this document here.
You can download the “Second Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework” here.


Framework Approval for the ‘Second Stage’ Return to Responsible Play

Second Stage’ – The “Cohort” Model

Dear Field Hockey BC Members

On behalf of the Field Hockey BC (FHBC) Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce that the Second Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework (for field hockey in BC) has now been officially approved. The FHBC Board of Directors met on the evening of September 3, 2020 to further consider this second stage framework progression, a progression made possible following the recent release of stage two guidelines by the BC Provincial Government agency viaSport.

The now approved second stage responsible return to play framework (date stamped September 3, 2020) will be disseminated to LSO senior contacts, posted on the home page of the FHBC website (www.fieldhockeybc.com), and referenced through Society social media channels. As required, a copy of the approved second stage framework will also be sent to viaSport for public posting on the viaSport website (www.viasport.ca). Such public posting acts as the official catalyst allowing the PSO and LSO’s to move forward to implementation.

As was the case for the first stage framework, the now approved second stage framework provides guidance as to the minimum standard expected for active implementation and we once again draw your particular attention to the required safety protocols, the required completion of attestation forms, and at this second stage the detail pertaining to the creation and management of the ‘Cohort’ model. It remains everyone’s responsibility whether it be planning for implementation or direct active participation to remain vigilant in the execution of safety protocols, and in doing so help to maintain a high level of participant confidence.

LSO’s may now develop and refine activity plans and look to the necessary steps to secure appropriate facility permits for second stage implementation. Please remember that second stage activity plans are required to be posted on your LSO website for public access. As we take this next step towards a return to modified game-based field hockey activity, I wish everyone the very best for what should be an enjoyable start to a new season.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC, September 4, 2020

Provincial Athlete Pathway Review Project: Communique #5 – Final Report

Dear Field Hockey BC Members,

Please click here to access the Final Report of the Provincial Athlete Pathway Review Project. Now that the athlete pathway report has been received and approved, the next step is for FHBC to consider the report recommendations and build out an operational plan to determine areas of immediate priority and those that will be considered over time.

If you have any questions regarding the Provincial Athlete Pathway Review Project, please contact Jennifer Taylor, Athlete Program Director, via jtaylor@fieldhockeybc.com.

Framework Creation and Approval for the ‘Second Stage’ of Responsible Return to Play – Communique #6

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


Second Stage’ – The “Cohort” Model

Dear Field Hockey BC Members

On behalf of the Field Hockey BC (FHBC) Board of Directors and following the announcement earlier this week from the BC Provincial Government, I am pleased to report that work has begun in earnest to complete due process towards an approval of a Second Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework for field hockey in BC. This second stage return for the organized sport sector across BC takes place within phase three of BC’s COVID-19 restart plan (apologies in advance for any confusion here), and offers the opportunity for sport to assess the viability to progressively loosen the physical distancing protocols to allow for modified or standardized game or competitive play.

The second stage responsible return to play introduces the “cohort” model which put simply allows for a progressive game play return involving greater permissible participant interaction on the field of play. Such a cohort model also allows for the same level of participant interaction in a training or recreational context. Although the framework will provide more detailed information on adherence to safety protocols, it is important to note that greater participant interaction is strictly restricted to the field of play during this second stage return and physical distancing protocols are in effect outside of the field of play boundary (especially pertinent when utilizing field infrastructure such as team benches and technical areas which is now a permitted progression from stage one). Field Hockey participant activity numbers will be progressed from stage one guidelines but will be restricted to the provincial health office ‘group of 50’ rule (allowing for up to a maximum of 49 participants on a single field facility at any one time).

Mindful that a great many of our members have already enquired as to why field hockey cannot immediately move to second stage implementation, FHBC is required to follow due process and formally approve a second stage responsible return to play framework (as was the case with the stage one approval protocol). To this end, the FHBC Board of Directors will meet formally to consider such an approval on the evening of September 3, 2020. Once approval has been obtained, the second stage responsible return to play framework will be sent to the provincial government agency viaSport for public posting and will also be posted and available for download from the Society website. Thereafter, Local Sport Organizations (LSO’s) will be able to develop, refine, and approve their second stage safety plans and move to practical implementation. It is important to note that LSO’s can choose to move towards implementation at whatever speed is most appropriate and can continue to develop responsible return to play safety plans utilizing stage one or stage two guidelines.

For those members considering a return to play, I would politely remind you to remember to register your membership prior to stepping on the field of play. It remains essential that all active participants have a valid and paid FHBC and Field Hockey Canada (FHC) membership. The online registration portal is available in the normal way from the FHBC website (www.fieldhockeybc.com).

In closing, it is evident and understandable that many of us are eager to move to the second stage of responsible return to play and I once again ask for your patience and consideration as we navigate due process to achieve this end. For many of us who have experienced the journey to date in helping to navigate the BC sport sectors COVID-19 response, it is on the one hand surprising that our sector has been given the flexibility to consider a second stage return to standardized game play, but on the other hand this provides for a return to club and league game play at a time when I’m sure most feared a winter season may have been lost. Such a fantastic opportunity comes with an even greater responsibility to do so as safely as possible for all involved and we wish everyone the very best for an exciting and optimistic opening to a new season.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC, August 28, 2020

FHBC Umpire Webinar – Success Through Failure

Field Hockey BC would like to invite all members to attend the Umpire Webinar ‘Success Through Failure’ on September 2, at 7 p.m, Vancouver. This webinar will be led by Lelia Sacré, FIH rated umpire, and will include the participation of the following international umpires:

Margaret Hunnaball – England
Former international umpire. Current FIH Pro League Umpire Manager and FIH Rules Committee member.

Sarah Wilson – Scotland
Has umpired over 100 international matches. Participated in numerous high level events including 2016 Olympic Games, 2018 Women’s World Cup and 2019 Pro League Final.

Lim Hong-Zen – Singapore
Has umpired over 100 international matches. Participated in numerous high level events including 2016 Olympic Games, 2018 Men’s World Cup and 2019 Pro League.

When: September 2, 2020, 7 p.m., Vancouver
Topic: Umpire Webinar – Success Through Failure
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84922534439?pwd=emxtazlEVjk4TUVUb1FBWkRsYk9Edz09
Passcode: 185081

2020 Field Hockey Canada Annual General Meeting

Dear Field Hockey BC Members,

Members of the Field Hockey Canada Board of Directors will be elected by the members at the 2020 Annual General Meeting of Field Hockey Canada, which is scheduled to be held on September 12, via a Zoom Video Conference Call.

For nomination information, or any information regarding the AGM, please contact CEO Susan Ahrens.

AGM Date: Friday 12th September
TIME: 9AM PST
CALL DETAILS: Field Hockey Canada 2020 AGM
Time: Sep 12, 2020 09:00 AM (Vancouver)
Zoom link here.
Meeting ID: 859 0324 7828
Password: 991513

Material for the meeting:
2019/2020 Audited Financial Statements
2019/2020 FHC Budget
2020-2025 Strategic Plan
Approval of 2019 AGM Minutes
Chair of the Board – Report
Governance Report

For more details, access http://www.fieldhockey.ca/about-us/governance/annual-meetings/

Framework Advancement for the ‘First Stage’ Return to Responsible Play – Communique #5

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


Dear Field Hockey BC Members,

On behalf of the Field Hockey BC (FHBC) Board of Directors and following the approval of the First Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework (for field hockey in BC) on June 11, 2020, I am pleased to report that Field Hockey BC is proactively advancing the approved First Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework with the introduction of a permissible extension to the ratio for athlete participation (maximum number of participants on a full field of play), and a streamlined ratio for the required number of associated safety officers. In this case, the maximum number of athlete participants permissible for full field activity will increase from 18 athlete participants to 32 athlete participants and the number of required safety officers will reduce by half (50% – 4 safety officers to 2 safety officers). See the PDF for a visual guide of the permissible structure on a full field of play.

As the BC Organized Sport Sector awaits formal Provincial Government consideration and associated guidance relative to a move to the second stage of responsible return to play, such advancement of stage one guidelines is seen as a proactive next step to continue Field Hockey’s responsible and progressive stance to maintain and comply with the necessary COVID-19 safety protocols. This move to adjust ratios was taken following receipt of feedback from both LSO and PSO activity leaders. Such feedback will remain ongoing and will continue throughout the staged progression towards a new  “norm” for field hockey activity. The safety of all involved in field hockey’s responsible return to play remains the absolute priority, as does the ability of our sport to comply with the necessary safety protocols.

As we all continue to navigate a progressive and responsible return to organized field hockey activity, I remind and encourage all members to take the necessary time to consider return to play activity as an exercise in social responsibility and safety for all. Let us play our part in offering an opportunity to participate whilst ensuring we contribute to flattening the COVID-19 curve.

Yours in sport,
Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC, July 29, 2020