HC Bloemendaal coach Rick Mathijssen says past experience has helped guide his huge recent success as he added EHL Men’s 2021 glory to a 2019 double with AH&BC Amsterdam.
“The experience of losing helps you to win afterwards, ” said Mathijssen to hockey.nl, who first lost a number of finals as coach of the Amsterdam’s women, before his team took the Dutch national title and EuroHockey Club Cup two years ago.
“Now in retrospect, I am happy with the lessons from then and that experience.
“It is precisely at such moments that you have to remain the coach. Keep faith in your squad, keep encouraging. I remember that we lost 4-1 to Den Bosch with Amsterdam [in the 2018 playoffs].
“I also gave up during that match. But – again afterwards – I noticed that I was not helping the team with that. Now, I am more aware of always performing and staying in the game.”
While there was no crowd at the Wagener Stadium, a usual feature and appeal of the Euro Hockey League, Mathijssen says this title will be memorable for different reasons.
“It’s a strange feeling,” he added. “This too will be a prize that everyone will remember later, the EHL of 2021. The one without an audience. Definitely not how we wanted it and yet memorable.”
Jorrit Croon concurred with that “strange feeling”, saying: “you really have to get everything out of yourself without an audience.
“It’s especially crazy when you’ve scored. It is as if you score and the goal is then rejected by VAR. You are very happy for a moment, but then there is nothing.
“I thought it was a strange atmosphere, but that doesn’t make winning this cup any less beautiful.”
‘We know what kind of a madhouse is normal for the final of the EHL,” Thierry Brinkman added. “The contrast is crazy but I didn’t worry about it during the game. I only wanted one thing: to demolish the opponent.”