Thur Borren – his correct Christian name is Arthur but everyone calls him Thur - was one of several talented brothers who made a big impression on Canterbury and New Zealand hockey after being tutored by University club coach Cyril Walter.
One brother, Jan, represented New Zealand with distinction at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics and two others, Frank and Toon, played for Canterbury.
Thur was born in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He was a right wing and represented New Zealand at two Olympics after making his New Zealand team debut in 1969.
He went to the 1972 Munich Olympics, when New Zealand finished a disappointing ninth.
By the time of the 1976 Montreal Olympics, 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, 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 Alan 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.
Hockey was far from Borren’s only claim to fame.
Always of an entrepreneurial bent, Borren has flourished in business. He worked with another former New Zealand hockey star, Bruce Judge, through the 1980s in the Ariadne company. He was for a time Chief Executive of Hellaby Holdings and later became a director of Demi Holdings.
Borren remained close to hockey, coaching the University club in Auckland and being a member of the board of New Zealand Hockey for six years from 1989. His son, Hugo, became a representative player.
The 1976 Olympic hockey team was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.