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Best Dutch Hockey Player?

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Old
07-30-2007, 01:04 AM
  #1
Chinstrap
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Best Dutch Hockey Player?

As I am part Dutch, I have always wondered why there aren't more Dutch hockey players. It just seems to me like it would be natural.

One of the best speed skating countries + One of the best field hockey countries + reasonably sizeable population + MANY canals which freeze in the winter + lots of flat land, which would surely make the best outdoor rinks in the world = Elite hockey country?

But no. Instead, there have been no Dutch NHLers, very few Dutch players outside of the Netherlands, and a mid-range International team (albeit with very nice jerseys). Why?

I know Jeff Heerema is of Dutch descent, I'm pretty sure that the Staal brothers are part Dutch (by ancestry) and Neidermayer is a Dutch last name. And after the success of players such as Anze Kopitar, Thomas Vanek, Cristobal Huet and Yutaka Fukufuji, it seems that being from a non-tradition hockey country is no longer a deterrant from making the NHL.

My questions:
1) Who's the best Dutch player right now?
2) Why isn't hockey more popular in Holland?
3) What does the future have in store for Dutch hockey?

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07-30-2007, 04:02 AM
  #2
fintan74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinstrap View Post
My questions:
1) Who's the best Dutch player right now?
2) Why isn't hockey more popular in Holland?
3) What does the future have in store for Dutch hockey?
Lots of difficult questions; I'll give you my humble opinion on them

ad 1. Who the best hockey player is depends on who you ask. Personally I would say Tommie Hartogs is the best active player. Ron Berteling is probably one of the best Dutch players ever; he still played a couple of games for Amsterdam last season at age 49. Tony Collard ranks pretty high too. One of my personal favorites is Tommy Speel, who could have gone a long way if his study hadn't stopped him from playing abroad.

Please do take into account that I am not counting Canadian born and trained players with Dutch heritage. Otherwise I would have to take into account players like Joe Nieuwendyk and a bunch of others.

ad 2. Why isn't hockey more popular? The eternal question... First of all football (or soccer) is extremely popular in The Netherlands and utterly dominates the media. There is hardly any room for other sports; the small sports that manage to get attention are dependant on the personal preferences of tv-makers and presenters. The funny thing is that hockey gets fantastic tv-ratings when broadcast during the Olympics; proof that there is plenty of potential for the sport.

Secondly it is a relatively expensive sport to play in The Netherlands. The number of rinks is low and icetime very costly. There are very few parents who are willing to fork out the money for contribution and kit when they could also send their kid off to play football with only a pair of footballshoes to invest in.

Thirdly the youth development programme has not always been optimal. Since a few years there are Hockey Academies, where youngsters can combine school and hockey. These sort of initiatives will help foster young talents and allow them to keep playing their sport.

These are just a few of the causes, but I feel they are key factors.

ad 3. The future of hockey here? That also depends on who you ask... Personally I think fostering youth and marketing the game more aggressively are vital for the long term prospects. Other countries have succesfully upgraded their youthplans, closing the gap between juniors and top level. Improved marketing of the game will also help attract people to play the game and others to come watch it. More spectators equals more corporate interest, which equals higher budgets, which equals better players and a more attractive league. It all seems so simple when I write it down...

This year our top division will, hopefully, consist of seven teams. That is the most it has been for years; only a few seasons back we had just four. There is good hope that Utrecht will join the top flight from the first division next season, which would bring the total to eight. Despite all the problems surrounding the game in Holland I am cautiously optimistic. If we could just get some coverage on tv...

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07-31-2007, 11:43 AM
  #3
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I've got some questions for you too, if you don't mind.

My German team (2nd league) has signed Dave Bonk to be our #1 center next season. A Tilburg fan told us Bonk was the best player in the Dutch league last season. What do you think about him? I know he had great stats there and the year before in the ECHL but we've had other ECHL imports that weren't all that great. What kind of player is he? Our only experience with your league so far has been hiring former Geleen coach Mannix Wolf as our head coach...

Btw, since the Austrian league is now accepting clubs from Slovenia and Hungary to become bigger and more stable, do you think a mixed Dutch/Belgian league could work? Or are the Belgian clubs that much worse? Thanks in advance.

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07-31-2007, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
I've got some questions for you too, if you don't mind.
No, I don't mind

Dave Bonk
I was very impressed by Dave Bonk during his time in our league and I do feel he was one of the top players in Holland last season. He was selected RBK/IJshockey.com Player of Month in November 2006.

The cold stats say that he was the second best goalgetter in the league with 43 goals, third best on assists with 54 tallies and top of the league with an impressive 97 points. In eight playoff games he notched eight goals and seven assists. But of course stats don't always tell the whole story.

I would say he is definitely an impact player. He does not hesitate to go into the corners and has scored key goals throughout the season and the playoffs. Definitely the type of player who is there when you need him most.

Now, whether he will be up to 2nd Bundesliga standards is difficult for me to say. Who I can compare him to is TJ Caig, who switched from the Dutch league to Heilbronn in the Oberliga last year. I am sure you know he did very well there and was an impact player on that level. I think you can expect from Bonk what you could expect from Caig.

On the other hand we also had Dan Tessier in the Dutch league and he was a star over here. He is now starting the season in Duisburg, along with Bonk's Tilburg Trappers teammate Jeff Paul. Tommie Hartogs and Leo van den Thillart used to play for Krefeld in the DEL, both players who now play in the Dutch league.

To make a short story long, we have had a few players in the Dutch league who moved to various levels in Germany and did well. There is no way for me to be sure of how Bonk will do, but if I were a 2nd Bundesliga team I would be very comfortable signing him. He may not be top of the league, but he will surely do his best to get there.

Belgian/Dutch League
Been there, done that, have the nightmares The Dutch and Belgian leagues most recently had a joined competition two and three seasons ago. It was called the 'Coup der Lage Landen', which means 'Cup of the Low Lands'. At the end of the competition all the Dutch teams were in the top half of the table, while the Belgians were in the bottom half. There were loads of lopsided results, including 21-0's. It was big news when a Belgian team beat a Dutch team.

It was terrible for both players and fans. At that time the difference between the two leagues was just too big. I am not saying that may not change over the next few years. If things keep going the way they are now, the overall level in The Netherlands could drop. Belgium on the other hand have been working to improve their league and may well be closing the gap. So who knows, we may try again in a few years.

By the way: a couple of seasons ago (seven or eight) we had the two top teams from the Belgian league join the Dutch league, much like the Austrian setup. They were also consistently bottom of the league however and that experiment was also shortlived.

Let me know if you have any other questions

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08-26-2007, 08:48 AM
  #5
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Actually I know very little of hockey in the Netherlands even though I live here. I've always thought there isn't really any NHL type of player here, and I still think so....

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08-27-2007, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacob-KingsVisnovsky View Post
I've always thought there isn't really any NHL type of player here, and I still think so....
Ehm... No, you are not likely to find many NHL type of players in The Netherlands. During the most recent lockout we had Karl Dykhuis in Amsterdam and Zarley Zalapski played there also. Eaters Geleen was reportedly very close to snatching Sean Avery during the lockout season, but missed out in the end. A bit further back in time we had a few import players who went on to play in the NHL, but I am talking 20-30 years ago now.

They are definitely exceptions, as there are many, many leagues of difference in quality between the NHL and the Dutch league.

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02-18-2008, 09:06 PM
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I know it's an older thread, but I was recently looking into it and this came up on google. Convenient. Fintan, I'm not sure if you would know the numbers on this, but would you roughly know the salary that the teams pay out, on average? And perhaps the Belgian league if possible.
Thanks in advance.

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02-19-2008, 03:07 AM
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fintan74
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Originally Posted by VLoo View Post
I know it's an older thread, but I was recently looking into it and this came up on google. Convenient. Fintan, I'm not sure if you would know the numbers on this, but would you roughly know the salary that the teams pay out, on average? And perhaps the Belgian league if possible.
Thanks in advance.
Are you looking for the salaries that players can make or an idea of the budget of teams? Neither of these figures are released by teams in The Netherlands, but I can give you an educated guess...

Quite a few Dutch players will play for a minor fee, which sometimes translates to little more than travel expenses. Top imports at the top teams probably fetch something like euro 500,- to euro 700,- per week, plus housing, plus use of a car, plus medical insurance.

A team needs a budget of about euro 200.000,- to be able to make it through a season. The cost of ice is usually a large chunk of this and can be as much as 25% of the budget. With what type of budget the top teams work is not clear, but it wouldn't surprise me if they had two to three times that amount of money to spend.

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02-20-2008, 06:49 AM
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"One of the best speed skating countries + One of the best field hockey countries + reasonably sizeable population + MANY canals which freeze in the winter + lots of flat land, which would surely make the best outdoor rinks in the world = Elite hockey country?"

From a Swede (and european) view:

I dont think it's cold enough to have natural ice rinks in Holland. In these days it's hardly cold enough for a large part of Sweden (the part that has most of the population).

So that leaves it to artifical ice rinks, which cost a lot of money to run and build. Of course though since skating is popular in Holland, there ought to be some interest in the sport??

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02-21-2008, 06:50 AM
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I can say that the problem in Tilburg (hockey capital of the country) is ice availability.

We've got one rink for 200,000 inhabitants. This rink is shared between the hockey club, curling players, figure skaters, recreational hockey teams, free skating for everyone and maybe a few more things.

This means not anyone can just join a hockey club over here.

In total there's not even 20 rinks in the entire country I think. I don't have the exact number. There's hardly ever a possibility to play hockey on natural ice. Maybe once every 5-10 years.

As we're on of the top flying field hockey and speed skating countries, hockey should have quite a lot of potential.

Lack of ice is a reason why it has never really become very popular, and lack of money and attention as well. There's a few games a year which get a few minutes of airtime on tv. Not a lot.

So, as reasoned before in this thread, there sure is potential. There is a lot of potential I'd say. But with limited attention, money and hockey rinks, this isn't going anywhere fast. Onfortunately.

Maybe the NHL should come to the Netherlands.

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01-03-2012, 08:04 PM
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Kris Versteeg is dutch if that helps

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01-04-2012, 06:23 AM
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I watched a GB v Netherlands World Championships warmup game last season, was very impressed by the Dutch goalie, he kept them in the game. I think it was Ian Meierdres

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01-05-2012, 12:49 PM
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Kris Versteeg is dutch if that helps
Kessel and VanRiemsyk both have Dutch last names

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01-05-2012, 03:14 PM
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In the end it comes down to the lack of rinks.

The Netherlands should be ideal for ice hockey and the NHL. A large, well-educated, well-off population that speaks English. You see this with other North American sports, all of them have their niche there. I go over there a lot (my aunt lives there and I love Holland), and I get people talking to me all the time about baseball or American football.

I did actually meet a Dutch hockey fan last year at a bar in the Jordaan, couldn't stop talking to me about the Blackhawks winning the Cup.

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01-24-2012, 04:17 PM
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Any word on Reinier Staats?

He played on a team with Sweden's Viktor Hedberg at the IIHF's International Camp for 15-year-olds a few years back and was very impressive as a two-way defender. Has he made the transition to pro hockey there in the Netherlands and how has he faired?

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01-25-2012, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by KingJet View Post
Kris Versteeg is dutch if that helps
It's so damn hard telling who's Canadian by surnames isn't it
Well except for Tootoo and Cheechoo


Last edited by Alpine: 01-25-2012 at 10:23 AM.
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Old
01-31-2012, 07:40 AM
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Ro Herregraven
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Originally Posted by Tony Piscotta View Post
He played on a team with Sweden's Viktor Hedberg at the IIHF's International Camp for 15-year-olds a few years back and was very impressive as a two-way defender. Has he made the transition to pro hockey there in the Netherlands and how has he faired?
Reinier Staats played in all the junior National teams and has also played one senior World Championship already.

He started the current season with the Eindhoven Kemphanen, his fourth full season at the Dutch Elite level.

At the moment, however, he is temporarily retired due to a military training course he's taking part in.

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02-01-2012, 01:17 AM
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I guess one thing that would be in favour of hockey development in the Netherlands is that Dutch men are the tallest in the world according to most studies on the subject, so size will likely never be an issue.

One thing I noticed while browsing Eliteprospects a while back was that there are 4 Dutch players playing NCAA D-I hockey right now, that puts them tied with Finland as the second most common European nationality. Only one of those four (Nardo Nagtzaam) seemed like an impact player on his team though, judging by the stats.

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02-01-2012, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingJet View Post
Kris Versteeg is dutch if that helps

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02-04-2012, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by IIHFjerseycollector View Post
Ha, nice pic, but that's not Kris Versteeg :-)

That's probably either John Versteeg of Frank Versteeg, who are in fact not related. Not to each other, and not to Kris either.

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02-04-2012, 07:42 PM
  #21
Ro Herregraven
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One thing I noticed while browsing Eliteprospects a while back was that there are 4 Dutch players playing NCAA D-I hockey right now, that puts them tied with Finland as the second most common European nationality. Only one of those four (Nardo Nagtzaam) seemed like an impact player on his team though, judging by the stats.
Mike Dalhuisen is most likely the best defenceman the Dutch National Team has, at the moment. It might not show by just looking at his stats, but I've seen him play at the 2010 World Championship in Tilburg and he was easily the most reliable D the Dutch team had.

Mitch Bruijsten is the current team top scorer of the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Alaska-Anchorage is not a high flying team, which may be the reason why his personal stats don't stand out so much. His older brother Kevin had a try-out with the Toronto Marlies recently and currently plays in the Dutch Elite League with Eindhoven. Their father Jan was the goaltender for the Dutch National Team during the bigger part of the eighties.

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02-05-2012, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ro Herregraven View Post
Ha, nice pic, but that's not Kris Versteeg :-)

That's probably either John Versteeg of Frank Versteeg, who are in fact not related. Not to each other, and not to Kris either.
i know im aware. I just wanted to make some people flip out for a minute..

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Old
02-10-2012, 11:41 AM
  #23
Ro Herregraven
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FYI, Nardo Nagtzaam has been invited to a Washington Capitals prospect camp.

He's not the first Dutch-born player to be invited to an NHL prospect camp, though. Mike Dalhuisen was invited to the 2011 Dallas Stars Development Camp.

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02-15-2012, 11:33 AM
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Not sure if that counts, but

Joel Vermin, who played for Switzerland at the WJC (and might get drafted this year as an overager), got a dutch father. and should develop to a pretty good player...

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Old
02-15-2012, 03:11 PM
  #25
Ro Herregraven
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Not sure if that counts, but

Joel Vermin, who played for Switzerland at the WJC (and might get drafted this year as an overager), got a dutch father. and should develop to a pretty good player...
I don't know whether he has dual-citizenship (i.e. a dutch passport as well). If he does, we could count him as a Dutch player. I'm not sure whether he is still eligible to play for the Dutch NT, though. I'm sure he'd like to further his career in Switzerland instead of The Netherlands.

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