One of New Zealand hockey’s most loyal servants, Jeff Archibald was selected for four successive Olympics, from 1972-84, and captained New Zealand from late 1984-1986.
The Aucklander’s first appearance in the New Zealand side was on the 1970 tour of Australia. As an 18-year-old, he’d earned selection with an impressive performance in that year’s North-South match. Like many of his team-mates, Archibald was disappointed that New Zealand managed only a ninth placing at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
He was inside right in the gold medal-winning 1976 team, though he sometimes switched to the left wing.
By 1976, there was a vast reservoir of experience in the New Zealand side. Of the team that went to the Montreal Olympics, Paul Ackerley, Thur Borren, John Christensen and Tony Ineson, plus Barry and Selwyn Maister, played for the University club.
Besides the core of Christchurch players, others in the team with previous Olympic experience were Alan McIntyre, Trevor Manning, Greg Dayman, Ramesh Patel, Archibald and Arthur Parkin.
The New Zealanders, coached by Ross Gillespie, caused a shock at Montreal by beating Australia 1-0 to win the gold medal. It was not a triumph easily achieved - they won a thrilling play-off match against Spain 1-0 just to squeeze into the semi-finals. There they caused an upset by beating the impressive Netherlands side 2-1 in the third period of extra time.
The final, a torrid affair, tipped New Zealand’s way when their captain, Tony Ineson, smashed home a penalty corner shortly after halftime.
Archibald was named as vice-captain of the New Zealand team that was to defend its Olympic title at Moscow in 1980, but because of the American-led boycott, the hockey team never got to the games.
He bowed out after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, in which New Zealand finished seventh.
Archibald has filled a variety of roles since ending his playing days. He was one of the principals in the junior academy for New Zealand, has served as a club and Auckland administrator and has become an umpire.
Through the years, Archibald has done a variety of jobs, usually of an outdoor nature. His son, Ryan, went on to become one of New Zealand’s most capped and best-performed players.
The 1976 hockey team was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.