Banbridge Hockey Club, a prominent sporting institution in Northern Ireland, recently announced the appointment of Dr William McCandless as its new President. Dr McCandless, known affectionately as “Doc” in the community, brings with him a wealth of experience and a deep-rooted passion for the sport.
Originally from Dromore, Dr McCandless attended Methodist College in Belfast, where he excelled in rugby. However, it was his three sons who introduced him to the world of hockey when they came home from Banbridge Academy with hockey sticks in hand. This marked the beginning of Dr McCandless’s longstanding connection with the sport and the club.
Dr McCandless served as a family GP in Banbridge for an impressive 44 years before retiring in 2021. Throughout his career, he seamlessly merged his professional skills with his passion for hockey. As the club doctor, he was a familiar sight on the sidelines, often seen stitching up players, including members of the opposing team when necessary.
His commitment to hockey extended beyond the local club level. During his son Bruce’s tenure as an international hockey player for Ireland, Dr McCandless served as the team doctor for the national side on a voluntary basis. This allowed him to travel the world with the squad, further enhancing his reputation for dedication to the positive development and progression of hockey in Ireland.
In recognition of his unwavering dedication, Dr McCandless was awarded honorary life membership of Banbridge Hockey Club in 2005. This prestigious title highlights his significant contributions to the club’s growth and success over the past three decades.
The sense of family at Banbridge Hockey Club is an important aspect of its identity, with Dr McCandless’s own family deeply immersed in it. He fondly recalls the challenges of Sunday lunches when his three sons, Scott, Ross, and Bruce, were regular first-team players. Despite the occasional tensions caused by losses, it was clear that their shared love for the sport and the club always prevailed.
This deep connection to the club continues to inspire Dr McCandless. Recently, he spent a Thursday evening watching his granddaughter take part in primary matches at Havelock Park, symbolising the intergenerational bond that makes Banbridge Hockey Club truly special.
On his appointment, Club Chairperson, Sheree Totton had this to say, “I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside Doc. His longstanding commitment to our club is truly remarkable, and I couldn’t be happier that he has been awarded the position of President. With his ability and passion, I am confident that together we will accomplish great things for our beloved club. Let’s embark on this exciting journey and make this upcoming year one to remember!”
Expressing his gratitude for his new role, Dr McCandless remarked, “I’m honoured to have been asked to fill the role of President of such a prestigious club. I hope to be able to encourage further progress in areas such as fundraising and the social aspect of the club. My aim is to provide new opportunities for young players coming up through the ranks.”
With the appointment of Dr William McCandless as President, Banbridge Hockey Club can look forward to a new era of growth, development, and inclusivity. Dr McCandless’s experience, dedication, and passion for the sport will undoubtedly inspire the club’s members and ensure its continued success for years to come.
Hockey Ireland would like to wish Doc all the best in his new role.