Pinoké captain Jannis van Hattum is thrilled to see the club’s efforts over the past decade have seen them reach new heights, qualifying last Sunday for the EHL Men’s FINAL8.
“I joined the team nine years ago and we played for relegation,” he told the EHL website last Sunday, reflecting on their rise.
“Nine years later, with 10 of our own guys who started at the club, combined with the international players who joined, we made it to our first playoff season and our first final as well as ending up here. It is such a nice story of staying loyal to your club and seeing what you can achieve!”
While the trio of Belgian Olympic gold medalists Alexander Hendrickx, Florent van Aubel and Sébastien Dockier are eye-catching names on the team list, the rest of the panel has a strong homegrown kick to it.
Teenagers like FIH Rising Star nominee Miles Bukkens and Boris Aardenburg were real stars last weekend while 16-year-old Pepijn van der Valk got on the scoresheet against Slavia Prague in their 16-0 KO16 win.
Luca Wolff, Joppe Stappenbelt (both 20) and Daan Bonhof (21) are also emerging talents.
“It is a beautiful club and it is amazing to see us achieve such an amazing performance with mostly guys from the club. Of course, we have the capability to get some top international players and reach the EHL.
“We are quite known for our big penalty corner animal Alex! But people will now also know we have some magic players in the forwards and midfield, happy we can rely on both.”
Bukkens’ older brother Texas was unable to line out due to injury while Lukas and Pieter Sutorius are another pair of siblings in the panel, another feature of the squad.
“It is a family club. You see now the young boys want to stay at the club and that results in having two sets of brothers – we used to have four sets – in the first team. It is great to have something like that in a team!
“As for Miles? What is he, 19-years-old! He is developing really well and that’s thanks to what we have done for the last 10 years. Really proud of him and his older brother is [usually] in the team as well but is injured at the moment. Happy we are through to the next round so Texas will get a chance to play as well in the EHL!
“For our first appearance, we got quite a good result – 16-0 and then a 3-1 against Old Georgians – so we are happy with the first round.
“It was quite a shift from playing Slavia Prague a day before and then facing a lot of British internationals. That’s what you saw in the first half and Hidde [Brink] kept us in the game. We are really proud of him and the team.”