Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Victor Wegnez: Belgium hockey star on rocky childhood and Red Lion family

Exclusive: We speak to one of Belgium's Red Lion stars on a tough upbringing, being beaten by his father, and how hockey kept him off the streets

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Rod Gilmour
The Hockey Paper's Editor. First covered international hockey at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - no better than a full house watching India play England - and has reported for the Daily Telegraph and other major newspapers ever since. Co-founded THP in 2016.

“The Red Lions is my first family,” says Victor Wegnez, one of the stars of Belgium gunning for hockey’s holy grail this summer; holding men’s world, Euro and Olympic titles. “When I entered the group, nothing was good in my life. When I came in everything changed. I was so welcomed and felt like a family.”

It is not by accident that Wegnez hails his team-mates as sole family. The 25-year-old, born on Christmas Day, was beaten regularly as a child by his now estranged father. Hockey was his saviour. “When I get on to the hockey field, I find myself really complete,” he reveals. “I’m playing the same way I lead my life. I’m always doing everything 100 per cent and when I’m on the field I want to die for my team-mates.”

Well before Wegnez exploded on to the scene with his creative brilliance, his mother was watching on the sidelines during a football kickabout with his cousins. She later told her five year-old son that the atmosphere was too rough and he should join his younger brother who was playing at nearby Royal Daring HC. The club and Wegnez’s school were soon safe havens away from Molenbeek, the tough neighbourhood of Brussels where he lived with a father who used his son as a “punching ball”.

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3 COMMENTS

    • Thanks, Errol. A really insightful backstory and he felt important to share it. He’s a real star and has unwavering passion!

  1. His goal against Germany in the Semifinals of the European Championships! Fan-bloody-tastic!
    Intelligent man, and could very well become the captain of Belgium!

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