BORN JUNE 18TH 1923 IN AMSTERDAM NETHERLANDS, he became a defenseman in the Eerste Divisie (First Division), the country's top level amateur ice hockey league. From the age of 16, he played for AYHC Amsterdam and Amsterdam Blue Six in the 1939, 1940 and 1941 seasons. He was 22 years-old when he joined Amsterdam Ijsvogels in 1945-46, for the inaugural season of the Eredivisie (Premier League), the nation's top level of ice hockey with teams in Amsterdam, The Hague and Tilburg.
A representative player in the 1946 Dutch National team, he remained at the Ijsvogels for 4 seasons. The championship was not played the next season but he left the club to join the Tilburg Trappers (now Destil Trappers), the 1946-47 Dutch champions and the Ijsvogels' arch rivals. In 1949-50, the fifth season of the Eredivisie, he was the highest scoring defender in his team with 11 goals and an assist from 19 games. Ironically, his former team won the championship, and the Trappers finished last. Soon after, in March 1950, he represented Netherlands in the World Championships in London, finishing 8th of 9 competing nations. He was also a pointscorer when Tilburg defeated a team from the American Air Force in London in 1950. Unfortunately, the Eredivisie back home went into a hiatus from which it did not emerge for the next fourteen years.
He immigrated to Sydney Australia later that year and first played local club hockey for St George Dragons in the New South Wales Senior A-grade league. He played for New South Wales against a Canadian navy team on Wednesday evening, April 11th 1951. The visitors were from the Canadian cruiser Ontario and over 3,000 people turned-out for the game at Sydney Glaciarium. Played over three 25-minute periods, the Canadians were held scoreless until the last 15 minutes but New South Wales lost, 4-2. Groenteman, Percy Wendt and Doug Russell — Glebe's recent arrival from Scotland via Victoria, were reportedly the best players for the locals.
"Any team would give their eye teeth," announced a program towards the end of his career with the Prague Bombers, "to have a man out there like Dickie who covers so well in goal mouth scrimmages and at times seems like he is actually doing the goalkeeper's job for them." He possessed a smooth, fluid style of skating on the ice and a remarkable turn of speed. "Dick favours the attacking bustling style of hockey and stands out alone in the Bombers who specialize in the European pass-and-feed idea, and his rink-long, bull-like rushes are a feature of his play". A left hander, he filled Left Defense for New South Wales for the first time in the 1951 series won by Victoria, and continued for a total of fourteen occasions without ever winning a Goodall Cup.
His first state line-up was coached by Percy Wendt and included Ukrainian, Emil Butchasky, who was to figure prominently in the Dutchman's hockey future. They became foundation captain and coach of the Bombers IHC that year, with club president, Viv Chalwin, goaltender Carl Huegell, Jiri Chladek, Milos (Mila) Mueller, Roman Drexler, J Berlicky, S Slavic and H Garden. They adopted their club's constitution on September 1st, 1951, only to lose 3-1 to a combined Australian team in Sydney on October 28th, 1951. But that was not the shape of things to come. He was 29 years-old in 1952 when the Bombers won the state championship in their inaugural year — the first of six from their next seven seasons. He captained the team in 1953 and 1960.
The club became Warringah Bombers when they moved headquarters to Groenteman's Warringah Ice Skating Centre. About 500 people usually went to the games, with capacity crowds of "over a thousand" for the playoffs. Located north of Sydney at 18-20 Lagoon Street in the beachside suburb of Narrabeen, this arch-trussed rink was purpose-built on the shores of Narrabeen Lagoon in the 1970s. A rink was still operating there in the early 1990s, by which time the Bombers had acquired sufficient silverware to become the most successful New South Wales ice hockey club of all time.
A president of the NSW ice hockey association, he was also involved with the national association. He built the first rink at Newcastle, the rinks at Narrabeen and Blacktown and the ice suface of the rink at Thebarton in Adelaide. His sons Ron, Elliott and David also played hockey. Elliott won Goodall Cups in 1983, 1988 and 1989. David played for the AIHL Sydney Ice Dogs. Ron Mann became a captain and coach of the Bombers, playing coach of the first Newcastle North Stars in 1980, founder of the NSWSL Macquarie Bears and a two-time Goodall Cup champion representing New South Wales in 1970 and 1985. He played for Australia in 1979.
Ross Carpenter, 'Groenteman, Dick (1923 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio_groenteman.html, accessed online .