Arthur Van Doren:
Impressive track record
There are few athletes with a track record like Arthur Van Doren at only 24. In team, he’s won no less than ...
Interview: Muriël Kuypers Photography: Ed Mohogany
Impressive track record
There are few athletes with a track record like Arthur Van Doren at only 24. In team, he’s won no less than 4 medals at the European Hockey League– one silver and three bronze ones–, he became World Champion in 2018, and he achieved Olympic silver in Rio just last year.
Individually, he received the prestigious Golden stick award three times and was chosen as the Rising Star by the International Hockey Federation. The following year he claimed the rising star award again, but more impressively, he won the Best player of the World award in Berlin, making him the first player to win both honours. And him? He stays humble, barely able to believe he wins such prestigious prices.
Whether or not his X-factor is due to his hair, we will leave in the middle for now, but his favourite animal is a lion for sure. Before he joined the Red Lions, Arthur was already a multi-talented sports fanatic in heart and soul. He even almost became a tennis player just like Roger Federer, one of his biggest idols. At age 5 he became a member of the KHC Dragons in Brasschaat, the local Field hockey club that raises a remarkable amount of talent and the biggest supplier for our Red Lions.
His talent didn’t go unnoticed for long, because at 15 Arthur was selected for their very strong men’s First team. Barely a year later he joined the Red Lions, becoming their youngest player.
Arthur Van Doren
“The beautiful part is that my parents always gave me the freedom to choose what I liked doing. I was never pushed into a certain direction. I did the things I liked. The only thing that was expected from me was commitment. Once I made my choice, they thought that I always had to give everything at every training and every game. That was not a problem for me. Despite the busy sports schedule, my brother and me were still able to find the time for extra practice in the garden.”
Stephen Butler (CEO OSAKA HOCKEY, ex-team player)
“Arthur joined our team when he was 15 years old. What caught everyone’s attention was that he played like a 25-year-old. No, he actually played like a 30-year-old. Smart and very all-round. What a talent!”
Shane McLeod (Head coach Red Lions)
“Tuur has many qualities that help him to be the best player of the world. His pride in performance is what sets him apart from others and what helps him continue to develop. From the simplest skills to the most impossible tackles, he has the same attention for what he does. He also has the skill of making others play better. He buys time for them by covering their mistakes and by delivering passes on a silver platter. He is just from another planet when it comes to hockey.”
Loïck Luypaert (Team player and roomie)
“The past few years Van Doren evolved from a promising talent to a world class player that has an impact on each moment of the game. On the field he is a winner who will play to win until the very last second. Off the field he is laid-back and easy-going. In recent years, we have skimmed high tops together and gone through deep valleys, but we never stopped laughing and we never forgot where we came from.”
'My friends often call me ‘chansaar'
You will never catch Arthur on vanity or magnification. Down-to-earth as he is, he remains remarkably calm under all praise, success and prizes.
Arthur Van Doren:
“My friends often call me ‘chansaar’, which translates to lucky bastard. You only have to play a bit of hockey, they tell me, but while they go out on a Saturday night, I’m in my bed sleeping. Before they finally get out of bed on their lazy Sunday, I’ve already spent hours on the field. It’s true that I’m lucky that I can do what I like most every day, yet top sport requires sacrifices and you must be prepared to make them every single day. Every top athlete knows what I mean.”
If you ask him if he received this award due to an extraordinary talent or because he just works better and harder than the rest, he references Antwerp:
“Maybe I just have good hands?”
Winning the World Cup
The best hockey player in the world does not have long term plans, winning the world cup in December is enough of an objective to focus on. His team is key in everything he does, their goal is his goal, and in everything he says and does, they are central to his actions.
Arthur Van Doren: “I’m unbelievably honoured to win both awards, all the more because the other nominees are incredibly talented athletes and formidable opponents. I did not see this coming, no. However, nothing would have been possible without my team mates, the staff and the coaches. They made me into the athlete I am today, that's why all the gratitude I feel goes out to them. I’d like to dedicate these prices to all of them.