A key innovator in Canadian field hockey is being inducted as part of the Builder’s Category in Field Hockey Canada’s 2020 Hall of Fame class. Peter Buckland is a former national player and administrator who helped the game transition from being played on grass to artificial turf.
Buckland grew up near the University of British Columbia (UBC). During that time, UBC was one of the only hotbeds for field hockey in Canada. He was introduced to the sport through FHC Hall of Famer, Harry Warren, who would bring him and other youngsters together to play the sport.
“It was the only area in Canada probably playing the sport,” said Buckland. “Our competition was private school girls’ teams.”
Buckland took a liking to the sport, and he started to develop into a nationally renowned player. In 1964, he was selected for the Men’s National Olympic Team at 23 years old. That team was the first Canadian field hockey team, men or women, to ever compete at the Olympic Games. The 1964 Games were held in Tokyo, Japan.
After the Olympics, Buckland’s playing career wound down, but he quickly became involved on the administrative side of the game, developing a reputation as a hard worker and innovator.
His work as a committee member for the Joker’s Field Hockey Club helped him become the president for the BC Field Hockey Association in 1971. Three years later, he was then selected to be the president of the Canadian Field Hockey Association. As president, Buckland was a key facilitator in helping the game transition from grass to artificial turf.
“Right from the get-go, it was so obvious that it (artificial turf) makes the game that much better and more exciting,” said Buckland
Buckland and his team met with executives around the world to propose the idea. He went out of his way to give a keynote speech in Brussels about the benefits of transitioning to turf. They then brought out some key executives to a 1975 tournament in Montreal to see the turf in action.
“That [tournament in 1975] convinced the world to play the game in artificial turf,” said Buckland. “I don’t think nowadays you can play an official game unless it’s on artificial turf.”
Buckland remained as president through the 1976 Olympic Games before leaving in 1977. Since then, he has dedicated his life to re-building and maintaining Cougar Annie’s Garden north of Tofino, BC. Buckland is a pioneer in the game of tidal hockey, which is a modified version of field hockey played on a beach.
Congratulations to Peter Buckland for being inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame.