Tony Boyd, inducted in the 2021 Hall of Fame class as a builder, played a big role in establishing the Canadian Field Hockey Association (CFHA), bringing Canadian field hockey to the olympics, and bringing field hockey to the Pan American games.
Boyd grew up in Dublin, Ireland and was introduced to the game at Avoca school when he was 11 years old. However, he didn’t take the game seriously until his university years at Trinity College in 1952. He played for a couple of years before taking a big leap and moving to Toronto in 1954. While settling in, he found that there wasn’t much of a field hockey presence in the city.
“I knew ice hockey was played here but field hockey had a very low profile,” said Boyd. However, the game somehow followed him from Ireland while wandering around the streets of Toronto. “Suddenly, I saw a person on-board the streetcar who was carrying a field hockey stick, so I went over to him and asked if he played field hockey, and it turns out he was going to practice,” said Boyd.
This interaction led to Boyd connecting with the Toronto Field Hockey club, and playing for two years before moving to Vancouver in 1957. It was in Vancouver, where he joined the Red Bird Field Hockey club and began to think like a builder.
“I was interested in trying to get the Vancouver leagues into a greater collection of the national and maybe the international events,” said Boyd.
Boyd’s ambition and desire to get adjusted in the community led him to being elected as president of the B.C. Field Hockey Association, while simultaneously being a player.
“One of the main reasons I was elected then was I indicated a real interest in doing that sort of thing. I was an immigrant that didn’t know too many people,” said Boyd.
“It was a great opportunity to meet people, and I was quite happy to spend my time looking after field hockey at the same time as working as well as playing.”
One of Boyd’s big goals as President was to establish a national governing body for Canadian field hockey.
“I tried to develop the game into a better recognized game in Vancouver and later on in Canada,” said Boyd.
Boyd ended up accomplishing his goal and helped create the CFHA in May 1961. He took on the role as Treasurer with the organization, and helped get the CFHA to be members of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in 1962.
All the steps were now put in place for his ultimate goal, which was for the team to play in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
“Our long term target was the Olympic games. It’s the pinnacle of hockey in the world, and we wanted to get there,” said Boyd.
The national team, which included Boyd as a player, was then sent to a qualifying tournament in Lyon, France. The team ended up doing enough to qualify and become the first Canadian field hockey team to qualify for the Olympics in history. Boyd considers qualifying and playing in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to be the proudest moment in his career. His efforts in bringing the field hockey team to the Olympic games led to him taking on a new role as Vice President of the CFHA in 1965.
As Vice President, he looked to change the game once more by introducing the entire sport to the Pan-American games. Boyd collaborated with multiple countries to put together a strong case in making field hockey a Pan-American games sport.
Not only did he succeed, but his work ultimately led to the Pan-American games being a deciding factor in qualifying for the olympics.
“Well, it gave me a great sense of achievement, I think we had done everything that we had set out to do and probably even more,” said Boyd.