Grief as hockey player dies in his sleep at age of 27

A FORMER Scotland hockey player has died at the age of 27 – just months after becoming a father for the second time.

Richard Docherty, a defender for Inverleith Hockey Club, failed to wake from his sleep on Sunday morning.

The cause of his death is unknown. He had type 1 diabetes, but it is not yet known if this was a factor. It is understood that a post-mortem will be carried out.

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The National League Division One player had spent Saturday evening with his brother – Holland and Great Britain hockey international, Laurence Docherty – who was visiting from the Netherlands and had been to fly home the following day.

Fellow hockey player and friend Graham Stuart, who had known Richard for around 20 years, today spoke of his shock and sadness at losing a "loyal" friend, who was also the best man at his wedding in 2007.

Mr Stuart, 31, said: "Richard would do anything for anybody, you only ever had to ask. He had one of the biggest hearts and he loved his family – he was a big family man. He was fiercely loyal to his friends and would never let you down."

The friends met after joining Inverleith Hockey Club's junior side when Mr Docherty was just eight, and went on to play together at Edinburgh Hockey Club for around six years.

Mr Stuart, from Gorgie, returned to Inverleith Hockey Club as a goalkeeper around four years ago, while Mr Docherty rejoined the team last year.

Mr Stuart added: "He played rugby at schoolboy level for Scotland as well as hockey, and he had a few football clubs including Nottingham Forest looking at him too, but he decided to concentrate on hockey. He was a very good looking guy and he was just good at everything."

Although Mr Docherty did not play for the senior Scotland hockey side, he won plenty of caps at youth level.

Mr Docherty, who worked as a tradesman for a letting agency and lived near Easter Road stadium, leaves behind his fiance Karen and two children – Cameron, two, and Millie, five months.

The last hockey match that he played in was the Scottish Cup semi-final against Glasgow side Western in May.

A comment issued to the Evening News by Mr Docherty's family stated: "Richard was a much loved member of the family and he will be dearly missed."

Assistant coach for Scotland junior and senior men's hockey teams, David Reid, 51, has been involved with Mr Docherty since he was a youngster and coached him at Inverleith.

He said: "The kid was totally enthusiastic about the sport and his enthusiasm always rubbed off on everybody else round about him. "

Mr Docherty also previously played for Grange Hockey Club and represented Scotland at all youth age levels.

Mr Stuart added: "He was a genuine, true friend – and you don't get many of them in your life. He was one of the real good guys."