Portrait of an Umpire: Hashpal Singh

Name: Hashpal Singh
Umpiring Grade: Grade 1

25 years old Hashpal Singh, is no stranger to the Singapore hockey scene. Aside from being a grade 1 umpire, the full-time accounting and finance student in SIM-UOL is also an avid player of the sport, playing for Sikhs Sports Club in the NHL Division 5 and also being a part of the indoor hockey training squad for SEA Games 2017. Recalling his early days in his hockey journey, Hashpal stated that the sport’s challenging nature got him hooked: “The ‘Indian Dribble’ was not easy and took a lot of time to get used to. Also, I wanted to have the ability of being able to control my hit since the ball can be lifted and this can be dangerous.”

Often a heavily criticised role in any sport, we asked Hashpal what pushed him to pick up umpiring given the pressure and spotlight attached to it.  “After I graduated from Temasek Polytechnic, I had extra time to spare until my NS (National Service) enlistment.” But the greater motivation in attending the umpiring course was his participation in the Level 1 Coaching Course. His eagerness to better appreciate the game of hockey and to look at the sport from different perspectives (coach, umpire and athlete) is the fuel for his continuous involvement in all things hockey. He added: “It made me realise what the umpires are able to notice that we as players don’t. Players should learn to respect the umpire’s decisions sometimes. They might after all be trying to play a good advantage.”

Umpiring your first game can be an extremely nerve-wrecking experience for many. The worry of making a wrong call or dealing with disgruntled players and spectators for calls made during a game can leave even the calmest person nervous. For Hashpal, he remembers his umpiring debut as “not difficult.” The confidence and knowledge he exhibited got him promoted to a Grade 3 umpire within weeks of his debut. “There definitely were a few challenges, such as managing difficult coaches and athletes. But, as I did more games, these challenges became easier to manage as all it needed was good communication between us.”

Despite having only 4 years of experience, Hashpal’s heavy involvement in umpiring has earned him countless of unforgettable memories. From mistakenly showing an athlete a red card instead of a yellow, to witnessing top notch goals unfold right before his eyes, Hashpal believes there will always be something new to experience. One unique opportunity he took up was umpiring a high school tournament at Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan. To umpire in an air-conditioned indoor hockey stadium was something new and unusual to Hashpal then. “Umpiring in Japan was definitely unique! What’s more, the players spoke to me in Japanese. I have no knowledge in the language at all!”

Given his regular umpiring and his strong performances, Hashpal has been given the privilege of being appointed as an umpire for the MHC U-14 Milo Cup, held in Ipoh, Malaysia from 8-17 December 2017.

Continue to follow his journey and the journey of our local umpires and the fraternity right here on singaporehockey.org and our social media channels.