The South African Hockey Community were saddened last week by the passing of the legendary Don "Bags" Perry. Don was an integral member of the South African Hockey family, particularly in Kwazulu Natal where he served in various different roles and achieved tremendous success. 

In 1969 Bags got called up to the National team as an injury replacement but was not utilised and ultimately never got to play for the country. He was however a manager for the national team, convenor of selection and arguably the most successful provincial coaches in South African history. He was a gifted player but an incredible coach and people manager. Leaving a wake of inspiration wherever he went. 

Don was integral in setting up hockey lunches and the Protea dinners where former players / coaches and managers got together to reflect on their respective journeys. Don made South Africa a better place and more importantly made the hockey world a better place. We will all miss him! 

Gordon Pentecost paid tribute to his friend Don Perry:

"It is with a heavy heart that I advise you of the passing of Don (Bags) Perry in the early hours of this morning.

As you are well aware, Don’s health had deteriorated recently, and he collapsed over the weekend. Fortunately, an ambulance was called, and he was admitted to Hilton Lifestyle hospital.  Unfortunately, he was suffering from organ failure but passed away peacefully. 

Don’s contribution to South African Hockey and in particular Natal Hockey was immense. He played for Natal for many years and then after his retirement took on the role as President of Natal Hockey (prior to the breaking away of Midlands), which position he served with distinction.

He coached the Natal Men’s team to a multitude of Interprovincial titles and has without doubt been the most successful Natal Coach. After his retirement as Coach, he took on the mantel of Convenor of the South African Men’s Hockey Selection Panel. However, it is not what he achieved which made Don stand out as a person.

Hockey was his life and he kept contact with hockey players old and young- frequently meeting them for lunches and breakfasts to reminisce over the old times.  In addition, he set up lunches both in Durban and in Pietermaritzburg where hockey players could meet and remember the old times.  It is this brotherhood of hockey players he established that he will always be remembered for.

I know each and every one of you has a memory of Don which you will cherish and just spend a minute thinking of Don, of a man we all loved and respected. To each and every one of you, stay safe and take care."