(Photo: FIH)

A stalwart of the hockey scene in South Africa, David Metter was inspirational in the growth of hockey in the country, and is credited by many with keeping the flame of hockey burning in South Africa during the days of apartheid. The 89-year-old died peacefully in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, and Steve Jaspan, senior vice president of the African Hockey Federation and executive member of the FIH has paid tribute to the former President of the South African Men's Hockey Association and member of the Council of the FIH.

In his tribute, Steve said: "Few will know that Dave had, on a number of occasions, met the (then) President of the FIH, Rene Frank and (then) Honorary Secretary General, Etienne Glichitich and had pleaded the case not to expel South African hockey from the FIH but to rather “suspend” it from competing in international competitions. Dave was of the view that the abhorrent apartheid regime would be toppled and ultimately sport normalised in South Africa and when that happened South African Hockey must have a sound foundation to launch competitive teams chosen from the length and breadth of a democratic South Africa."

Dave's playing career was interrupted by the Second World War where he served in Italy and was wounded. After his convalescence and discharge from the army he returned to South Africa and continued to play hockey, gradually moving into international umpiring and administration.

Steve added: "It will be very difficult to find a kinder, warmer, more compassionate person with an enduring love of hockey, the many friends he cherished in the game and his family. His warmth, impish sense of humour and joie de vivre which were legendary. Our thoughts go out to Helen, his incredibly supportive wife, and his surviving children, Jeffrey and Karen, grandchildren and extended family."