Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Scot’s passionate aim to reach hockey umpiring pinnacle

Duncan Ruzzak will forever remember the day where he was first sent off as a player and then, after a swift change of kit, ordered a player off as an umpire on the same afternoon, writes Richard Bright.

As a bright junior prospect, he was playing in a Scottish Cup semi-final as a 16-year-old, top FIH official Martin Madden was umpiring and Ruzzak was shown yellow for dissent towards the end of the game. With three minutes left and Ruzzak’s five-minute yellow meaning no more pitch time, he told his future umpiring mentor that he was going to grab his bag from the changing room as he was umpiring the second Cup semi-final straight after.

“Everyone was like ‘hold on a minute, you have been sent off for dissent as a player and now you’re umpiring the next game?’ laughs Ruzzak.

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