Aucklander Mohan Patel first represented New Zealand at the 1975 World Cup, at Kuala Lumpur. Though he played in just one Olympic Games, in 1976, he picked a good one, because that was the year New Zealand shocked the hockey world by winning the Olympic gold medal.
Patel was one of the few members of that Olympic team who hadn’t attended a previous games.
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, Jeff 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.
Patel continued representing New Zealand until 1982. He maintained his links with hockey by becoming a board member of Auckland Hockey and by playing at club and masters level, as well as being involved in club administration.
He became the deputy principal at Mangere College.
The 1976 hockey team was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.