Wellingtonian Alan McIntyre is the youngest player to have represented the New Zealand men’s team at hockey.
McIntyre’s family came from Wanganui, where they established a reputation as outstanding hockey players.
After the 1964 Olympics, wholesale changes were made to the New Zealand team and in 1965 McIntyre, just 15, was called into the team as centre forward.
He proved to be a talented player with good vision and hockey instincts and was chosen for the 1968 Olympic team that finished seventh. Surprisingly, he missed selection for the 1972 Munich Olympics, but he was back in 1976, when coach Ross Gillespie used him as an impact player at inside right, bringing him on with about 20 minutes remaining in most matches during the Olympic campaign.
By 1976, there was a vast reservoir of experience in the New Zealand side. Several players were from the champion University club in Christchurch, where they had been well-tutored by one of New Zealand hockey’s best coaches, Cyril Walter. Of the team that went to Montreal, Paul Ackerley, Thur Borren, John Christensen and Tony Ineson, plus Barry and Selwyn Maister, played for University.
Besides the core of Christchurch players, others in the team with previous Olympic experience were McIntyre, Trevor Manning, Greg Dayman, Ramesh Patel, Jeff Archibald and Arthur Parkin.
The New Zealanders 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, Ineson, smashed home a penalty corner shortly after halftime.
McIntyre continued to be a leading New Zealand player and was chosen for the team to defend its title at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but did not get to the games because of the American-led boycott.
McIntyre worked most of his adult life in the Department of Statistics. He has coached hockey at various levels for many years, including a spell in the 1980s with the Wellington representative team. His children have shown unusual ability at hockey, with two sons reaching representative level.
The 1976 Olympic hockey team was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.