Pawel Linkowski, not a familiar household hockey name perhaps, but that’s because the man behind the whistle went about his business in his own quiet way.
Yesterday Pawel umpired his final game at the Terravita Polish Cup. He was, without doubt, one of the best indoor umpires in the world, umpiring World Cup Finals (2015 and 2018) and was a permanent feature at the top EuroHockey Indoor Championships apart from many outdoor appointments.
His quiet manner, confident decision making and extreme empathy for the players were the traits that made him one of the greats.
At the end of his career, the umpire from Gniezno was partnered with his friend and colleague of the final duel Marcin Grochal.
Marcin, speaking about Pawel said ” The possibility of leading his last match with Paweł is a great honour for me. I remember that when I tried to break through, umpiring with Paweł Linkowski, an umpire who was on high places on the world lists, gave me a lot. I will definitely remember him as the umpire who was widely liked and always aroused positive emotions, which is a phenomenon in the case of an umpire.”
Speaking after the game Pawel said “Today I’ve umpired my last game as umpire. It’s a great occasion to say “THANK YOU MY HOCKEY FAMILY” for the last 27 years and also a good reason to share with you my ideas.
I’ve always wanted to stay in a shade to give the players the opportunity to shine and respect their passion for my beloved game. More than I expected and dared to dream have been returned to me.
I met new friends, visited many countries in the world, I got support from different people, I felt like a part of something bigger. Today, at the end of my umpiring career I can say that I became a better man because of hockey. I received 100 times more then I sacrificed and expected.”
From the whole of the hockey family, we say thank you Pawel and we hope to see him again on the side of a pitch somewhere….
Main Photograph: Pawel is honoured by Polish Hockey (Mariusz Orzeł (c))