** Written for the Irish Hockey Association website by Warren McCully
Top Irish umpire, Colin Hutchinson recently retired from international hockey having reached the current age limit of 47 for umpires. During a highly successful career that saw him reach 100 international caps and the very peak of the umpiring ladder, he represented Ireland and Irish umpiring with great honour.
Colin’s interest in hockey began at an early age as a pupil at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He went on to play club hockey at Instonians Hockey Club prior to entering the world of umpiring at the age of 26.Like many umpires before him, his early introduction in umpiring started off in the lower levels of club hockey before steadily progressing ‘up the ladder.’ Through hard work and dedication, Colin became an established Ulster and Irish Panel Umpire which eventually culminated in him becoming one of the top umpires in the world.
Colin has umpired at various tournaments around the world including the Junior World Cup in Hobart 2001, the Asian Games in Busan 2002 and the European Nations in Barcelona 2003, Manchester 2007 and Amsterdam 2009. Many of you would have seen him perform in the EHL KO16’s and Final 4 in recent years.
However, some of the real highlights of his career have been his achievements in world hockey’s highest profile tournaments, such as the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006, the World Cup in Delhi 2010 and the London Olympics in 2012.
Current IHA Vice-President and former World Cup and Olympic umpire, Richard Kendrick, had this to say about Colin’s career: “Colin has represented Irish Hockey all over the world with great distinction. I have had the privilege of umpiring with him in the past, seeing him in many of the tournaments listed above, especially enjoying watching his first Olympic match in London 2012 (Belgium v Germany).
“He has always been a great credit to himself and to umpiring. Success at the very highest level only comes with ability, determination and commitment and Colin has consistently shown all these traits. His commitment to the game of hockey is well illustrated by the time he gives to umpiring in Ulster, where he serves on their umpiring selection and other committees and the help he gives to other umpires at all levels through coaching and grading, as well as, accepting appointments to any level of game.
“All this while having a busy work life and trying to keep the right balance for his family. Colin may have retired from umpiring at international level he is still making a fine contribution to the game in Ireland. I am delighted to have been asked to help recognise his many achievements.”
Warren McCully, Chair of the Irish Hockey Umpires Association added, “I fully endorse Richard’s comments and on behalf of all our members I would like to congratulate Colin on a highly successful umpiring career, particularly at international level. He is a hugely respected umpire and we are proud to have had him represent Irish umpiring at some of the most prestigious tournaments in world hockey. Hopefully, he will continue to umpire at a national level for a few years yet!”