Jan Boye, Danish Handball President, passes away

It is with great sadness that we today receive the report that Jan Boye passed away last night. Of course, the real shock came about two weeks ago in the form of the news that Jan had suffered a massive stroke, and that there was virtually no hope for a recovery. Jan’s passing came at the age of 49, at the height of multi-faceted career. We send our deepest sympathy to Jan’s family and to everyone in Danish handball.

Jan Boye was elected as President for the Danish Handball Federation just three months ago. This seemed like an excellent decision at a moment when the otherwise formidable Danish ‘handball machinery’ had suffered some setbacks at the managerial and institutional level. Jan was an experienced politician, who had served several years as mayor of Odense, Denmark’s third largest city and, among other things, famous for being the home town of Hans Christian Andersen. Jan had an energy and enthusiasm that seemed to inspire people and to get them to pull in the same direction.

But Jan was not just a career politician; he had his roots in handball. The reason for my feeling compelled to write about Jan’s passing is that I had the privilege to get to know him personally in his capacity as a top level international referee (where his partner was Bjarne Munk Jensen, currently member of the IHF Rules and Referees Commission). They performed successfully in both Olympic Games and World Championships, following in the footsteps of many great Danish referees. What I especially remember about Jan was his unflappable presence on the court and, above all, his disarming smile. Indeed, he really personified the famous ‘Danish smile’… May he rest in peace!