The tremendous strides made by international hockey in the last quarter of the 20th century were made possible by the work of a few energetic individuals in the 1920s and 1930s. One of these visionaries was Paul Loicq one of the most dedicated organizers in the history of the game.
Born in Brussels, Belgium in 1890, Loicq studied at the city's renowned university specializing in law. During World War I he served with distinction and received a citation for bravery.
He started skating as a teenager and eventually suited up for the Belgium national hockey team for the first time in 1919. Loicq was a solid player and team leader for the Belgians at the 1924 Chamonix Olympics after which he retired. Even as a player he showed an affinity for management by being an energetic supporter of the movement to make ice hockey an official Olympic sport.
Loicq focused on refereeing and administration after retiring as a player. He served as the president of the Skaters Club of Brussels, the Belgian Federation of Skaters and the Belgian League for Winter Sports. In 1927, Loicq was elected president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and went on to serve for two decades. He earned respect for his project management skills while continuing to work as a referee at the international level. He worked 65 official matches split between the Olympics, and the European and World championships. Loicq demonstrated his dedication to this craft by founding the International College of Referees.
The IIHF made its first significant strides under Loicq's leadership. The popularity of the sport increased rapidly throughout Europe during his tenure. Tied to this growth was the acceptance of ice hockey as one of the marquee events at the Winter Olympics.
Loicq was also a passionate leader in the domestic affairs of Belgium. He was promoted to the rank of colonel during World War II and was an active leader of the resistance against the Nazi occupation. Following the war Loicq served on behalf of Belgium at the war crimes trial in Nuremberg. He was posthumously elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960. The following year the Belgian Olympic Committee formally acknowledged his immense contribution by presenting the Hall of Fame crest to his widow.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.