There is a sense of deja-vu about the Goalkeeper of the Year award as it is the second time in succession that it has gone to David Harte. The giant Irishman has been key to Ireland’s continued rise up the Hero FIH World Rankings and into the history books.
In 2015, Ireland won their first medal at the European Championships when they picked up bronze, then in 2016, they qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 1908. Much of that success has been credited to the man in goal, whose performances for club and country have earned him widespread plaudits and fans.
“To win this award truly is an incredible honour and one which I am very proud to receive,” says Harte. “Even to be nominated for a second time was more than I could have hoped for, especially given the world class goalkeepers involved, such as Juan Vivaldi, Vincent Vanasch, Jaap Stockman and PR Sreejesh, all of whom are deserving of the title in this category.
“Although it is an individual award, it partly belongs to my teams at both club and country level as I would not have made it here without them.
“On the back of 2016 and overcoming a 108 year wait to compete in an Olympic Games, the Irish men’s team is busy preparing for the first step on our quest to compete in a World Cup in 2018. We start by hosting the Hockey World League Round 2 in Belfast which is incredibly exciting for the Irish hockey community and players alike.
“Having reached an all-time high of 10 in the world rankings, we are all determined to push on from here and hopefully, having inspired the future Irish hockey generations, to climb higher with the Green Machine! A busy 2017 awaits between World League events and the European Championships in Amsterdam and I for one can’t wait to get started!”