Ben Tijnagel

Tijnagel first appearance in the Nijmegen-squad was in the 1979-1980 season as a 15 year-old teen. Mainly under the guidance of Alex Andjelic Tijnagel continued to develope his talents as a teenager. It was for everybody apparent that this young Nijmegen player had qualities unseen at this age. As a youngster that first season he picked up 7 points in 36 games in a Nijmegen team with players like Ron Kennedy, Mike Fedorko and Dave Morrison. His strong points were his leadership, speed and natural goal scoring abilities. Furthermore he was a feared special team member in the Nijmegen powerplay.

When Tijnagel became 22 years of age he moved to big spenders Rotterdam Panda’s together with the likes of Bill Wensink and Jan Bruysten and became one of their offensive scoring-leaders. During his stay in Rotterdam Tijnagel scored 260 goals and made 160 assists. In this period with the Panda’s he picked up several championships and even became Most Valuable Player (MVP)in the Dutch League in the 1989-1990 season. Even in Europe the Rotterdam Panda’s made it to the semi-finals playing against teams such as CSKA Moscow, coached by the legendary Viktor Tikhonov, Bern and Turku.

Tijnagel admitted that he had his chances to show his offensive skills abroad but said: ‘It is a pity but on the other hand I had to think about my business and my wife. Perhaps if I was a bachelor it would be different’. Also when Andjelic left Nijmegen and went to Chur in 1985 he asked Tijnagel but Tijnagel stayed loyal to the Nijmegen organization at that point in time.

After his tenure with Rotterdam he returned home in the 1992-1993 season to become Nijmegen’s new scoring leader and captain. His first season back in Nijmegen he scored 32 goals in a total of 60 points in 35 games. But the most important thing was the fact that he brought the Dutch Championship home to Nijmegen after a play off series against Smoke Eaters Geleen drenched with tension and suspense.

Nijmegen teammate at that time Andy Tenbult even said that Tijnagel was good enough to play in the NHL. After his second year back with Nijmegen Tijnagel retired from Dutch icehockey. Although he officially retired he made short comebacks to help out. This was during the 1994-1995 season, helping Nijmegen to clinch a spot in the play-offs. And during the 1997-1998 and 2000-2001 seasons.Especially in 1998 he made an impact as he was instrumental in helping Nijmegen win another championship in the Dutch League.

Tijnagel scored a total of 322 goals and notched 270 assists for a total of 592 points in 363 games for Nijmegen during his 11-year tenure at the club. For the Dutch national team Tijnagel scored 41 points in 56 games.

He is, with no doubt, the best Nijmegen-born player of all times. Unfortunately Tijnagel died in a tragic car accident in 2005.

His number (#11) has been retired by Nijmegen and will not be passed out to any other player.