Belgium’s Arthur van Doren achieved the unique double in 2017 when he was crowned both the Rising Star of the Year and the Male Player of the Year.
This year he joins hockey legends Teun de Nooijer and Jamie Dwyer as one of three players to win consecutive male Player of the Year awards.
Van Doren is unquestionably one of the finest defenders in the game at the moment. Add to that his willingness to join the attack, and you have the perfect all-rounder.
Van Doren’s rise has coincided with the fortunes of the Red Lions. A silver at both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 Rabobank European Championships, were followed by a gold at the 2018 Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar and a historic place at the top of the world rankings.
Hockey was nearly not blessed with Van Doren’s skills. He is also a skilful tennis player and, aged 13, had to make a choice between the two sports. Luckily for Belgium, hockey won. The decision came down to his love of being part of a team.
“I would always pick a team sport over an individual sport. I love the team vibe, the way you work to get to a goal together; and if you reach a goal, there is pretty much nothing better than that feeling.”
On receiving the award for the second consecutive year, Van Doren said: “I am immensely proud! As a team we have enjoyed a very special year. I feel fortunate to play with such quality players. It is an award I share with them.”