To members of the Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Indian hockey communities, Dipak Dheda was the man you went to when you needed help getting something done.

Whether it be umpiring, coaching, team selection or various other responsibilities with a range of hockey clubs and associations, Dheda would quietly but effectively go about his business.

He died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He was 47.

Roger Broad, who played hockey with Dheda for many years and whose children were coached by him, said the Rotorua hockey community had lost an "irreplaceable, well-liked man".

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"He was a very genuine guy and he loved the game of hockey, it was just in his blood. He'd do anything for you and later on in his life he took on fostering children which he loved.

"People who have come through his coaching and experienced his love for hockey, it didn't matter if you couldn't hold a stick properly, by the time you spent a few sessions with him you'd be right.

"He did marvellous things with anyone who wanted to enjoy the game of hockey and put a lot of time into the game - weekends, time out of his own life, to be umpiring other games," Broad said.

He said even as a player Dheda would take the younger players in the side under his wing.

"As I say he'd do anything for anyone. He enjoyed a beer after the game, in our younger days when we used to play away and come back in a minibus he was always there looking after the younger players. He was a great mentor of the game.

"I'm going to miss the man, it's a huge loss to Rotorua hockey."

Bay of Plenty Indian Sports Club treasurer Hasmukh (Hari) Chhagan, who had known Dheda since he was a child, said Dheda had been the club's secretary since 2010.

"The secretary is the backbone of the club. He spent a lot of his time doing secretary work for the club - I'm the treasurer and I needed his assistance often. He was always there for me.

"To me Dipak was a very quiet person, he got along with everyone and you never see him angry in meetings. He always did his work as decided by the committee and I can say that we have lost our main man. We will always miss him.

"During my involvement with Dipak we hosted two national tournaments in Rotorua and he did most of the work - communicating with the main body, promoting the event and making sure everything went smoothly. There was a lot of work involved.

"He never did any of it for recognition, he just wanted to help," Chhagan said.

As well being the Bay of Plenty Indian Sports Club secretary, Dheda was an executive member of the New Zealand Indian Sports Association and had been awarded life membership of the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Hockey Associations.

"As a friend, he was always helpful, if I need any help for anything he will actually come to my place. It's very sad for all of us, losing someone like that, he will be very hard to replace," he said.

GLORY: Dipak Dheda, second from right, celebrates with the Bay of Plenty under-18 side he helped coach to a national title last year. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
GLORY: Dipak Dheda, second from right, celebrates with the Bay of Plenty under-18 side he helped coach to a national title last year. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Bay of Plenty Hockey Association rep co-ordinator Marilyn Downey said Dheda had been a selector for Bay of Plenty representative teams for "many years".

"He umpired for my tri-series when I've got visiting teams here, like Auckland, North Harbour and other associations, he umpires at those, in fact he did it just a week ago.

"He also fills in and takes trainings when a coach can't make it," Downey said.

Perhaps the best example of Dheda's willingness to go the extra mile was last year when he travelled to a national tournament in Invercargill with the Bay of Plenty under-18 boys side when a coach was forced to pull out at short notice.

"I asked Dipak if he would come, because he had worked with and selected the team, so he came down and we finished first," Downey said.

"He was a very fair and honest person and he knows his hockey, that's why we used him for selections. He's not biased and he picks them on their skill and what they can do.

ON THE BALL: Before becoming involved in the administration of hockey, Dipak Dheda was an excellent player in his own right. PHOTO/FILE
ON THE BALL: Before becoming involved in the administration of hockey, Dipak Dheda was an excellent player in his own right. PHOTO/FILE

"As a person he was fantastic. A very quiet, humble sort of person, never in your face and he'd give you his honest opinions. He was also good at AGMs because he'd ask the right questions and if someone was jumping out of their tree he'd calm them down. He was an honest, caring person.

"He leaves a huge hole, from my point of view. I'm going to have to find someone else to fill that gap - he did so much for the Bay, our selections and keeping everyone honest," she said.

Dipak Dheda's funeral service is being held at the Rotorua Girls' High School Arena at 11.30am today. In memory of Dipak, and in lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Heart Foundation and Open Home Foundation, Rotorua (for vulnerable children).