Ice Hockey
Journalists UK

Inevitably amongst the membership of the IHJUK, we have our share of statisticians and trivia collectors. Here on this page, we give them free rein to demonstrate their extra-ordinary talent for the weird, the wonderful and, in some cases, the wackiest of facts or stats.

Captain of the victorious GB team at the 1936 Winter Olympics Carl Erhardt in his book ‘Ice Hockey Skating and Dancing,’ written in 1938 tells of humorous moments he can recall from the event. One came during the game against Hungary when Adolf Hitler took his seat whilst the game was in progress. A team-mate skated to the bench and said in a loud voice, emphasised by a Canadian accent, “Say! where is that guy Hitler anyway”. Accents have not changed much on the Great Britain bench in the 65 years since!
GB have met France more times than any other country at World and Olympic level - 19 in all. Britain playing record is 10-8-1 with France having won the last eight encounters since their last defeat in 1965.
Following France, Britain have met Switzerland 18 times, but have failed to beat them since posting two shut-out victories in 1937! That’s twelve games producing a 0-3-9 playing record.
One of the most unusual venues for an ice rink was located in the basement of the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London and was home to a Championship ice hockey team Grosvenor House Canadians played out of their below stairs location in the early 1930’s winning the English League in 1933/34. Now a ballroom, it had a 1500 capacity for ice hockey.
One of the greatest pioneers of English/British ice hockey was Major B.M. ‘Peter’ Patton. A name sadly lost in the in the sport despite the efforts of Britain’s distinguished hockey historian Martin C.Harris. Few British fans these days have heard of a name that should rank this side of the Atlantic along with Lord Arthur Stanley and North American ice hockey. Major Patton founded the first ice hockey club in Britain, Princes, in December 1896. He was then twenty-one and he continued to play for 34 years. He was captain of the GB side that won the first ever Championship of Europe in 1910 at Les Avants, Switzerland. Patton founded the British Ice Hockey Association (BIHA) during the 1913/14 season and was its first President - a post he held until 1934. He ressurected the BIHA after the First World War in 1923.
Manchester Arena set a then European attendance record for an ice hockey fixture played indoors with the closing ISL fixture of the 1996/97 season between Manchester Storm and Sheffield Steelers. The game, which was shown live on SKY Television attracted a crowd of 17,245 with over 1500 fans unable to obtain tickets.
The first radio broadcast of an ice hockey match in Britain was in 1932 from the Grosvenor House Hotel ice rink when Canada beat England 7-0.
The first of what can be termed ‘British Championship Play-Offs’ were contested at the end of the 1929/30 season when London Lions beat Glasgow Mohawks 2-1 for the Patton Cup. The game remains to this day as the lowest scoring Play-Off Final, although equaled when Cardiff beat Nottingham by the same scoreline in the 1999 Final.
Although the ensuing regional league’s held end of season play-offs with mixed interest (not even held in two instances!) and the British Champions were recognised as winners of the ICY Smith KO Cup from 1976-81, the third British Championship play-offs did not take place until the 1981/82 season and have run continuously ever since. These are referred to as the modern-day British Championship Play-Offs.
The Scottish League Champions received the Canada (CCM) Cup from the 1930/31 season and unlike their English rivals, introduced end of season play-offs, although not until the 1946/47 season.
The remarkable Dundee Rockets sides of the early 80’s contained such names as the legendary Roy Halpin, Chris Brinster, Kevin O’Neill, and Ronnie Wood at his best etc. Halpin, who scored in each of his three Final appearances, was inducted in the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986 after his playing career was brought to a end by a back injury in January 1985.
A miniature of the Patton Cup was presented to Clarence Campbell during the 1928/29 season for services to Oxford University IHC. He later became President of the National Hockey League for over thirty years between 1946-77.
Great Britain were the first nation to break Canada’s stranglehold of the Olympic Ice Hockey Championship in 1936 when they became the very first team to sweep the triple crown of Olympic, World & European Championship titles. It was also the first time a team outside North America had taken the World crown.
The first international ice hockey tournament was staged in Chamonix in January1909. England, represented by Princes (London) beat France after forty minutes ofovertime in the final match to win the event.
British Ice Hockey had to wait 30 years for its second Championship Play-Offs, held at the end of the 1959/60 British League season (the professional League folded in 1960). Brighton Tigers beat Nottingham Panthers in a two-leg final by a 6-5 aggregate score. It was the first final where overtime was used to decide the outcome when Tigers scored in sudden-death in Game Two at the Nottingham Ice Stadium.
England’s goalkeeper in 1910 was the pioneer aviator and world famous big-class Yachtsman T.O.M ‘Tommy’ Sopwith. He at one time held the longest flying record from Great Britain - 114 miles!
The first Ice Hockey League in Europe was formed in England for the 1903/04 season. London Canadians won the five-team competition from Princes (London).
Another early aviator & ice hockey player, Col. JTC Moore-Brabazon MP, was credited with carrying the first pig up in a airplane to disprove the expression ‘pigs can’t fly.’ He was the first Englishman to fly in this country.
The Ayr Bruins vs Fife Flyers Heineken British League game on January 22nd, 1983 was abandoned when the ice cracked up to an inch wide in places. Extreme cold weather was blamed for the problem!
The hat-trick scored by GB captain Steve Moria against Denmark in the 2000 World Championship Pool B tournament was the 25th time that three or more goals had been scored by an individual in World/Olympic competition since Britain re-entered the fray in 1989.
The 1936 National Cup game between Southampton Vikings and Earls Court Rangers had to be halted after two minutes when the referee spotted an attendant standing on the ice selling programmes. Rangers went on to win the Final when they beat Manchester Rapids over two legs.
The Patton Cup was presented to the English League Champions in the developing years and the 1930 British Championship Play-Off was the only time a Scottish team was linked with the trophy. The 1929/30 season was the first for the newly organised Scottish League.
Joe Watkins (20) turned a few heads when he posted a shut-out in his on-ice debut for GB against Holland in the 2000 World Championship Pool B tournament in Poland. He was not the first goalkeeper to achieve this feat. Scott O'Connor blanked North Korea in his first full game in 1992.
The first ITA (Commercial Television) game to be featured on the small screen was the Harringay Racers vs Brighton Tigers fixture on November 2nd, 1955. The programme, produced by Bill Perry, featured the third period
Manchester Rapids (Paris Rapide) and Southampton Vikings (Francais Volants) opened the 1936/37 season playing in the 'Ice Hockey League' out of Paris. The two clubs relocated to England during November 1936. Neither side survived to appear in the English National League the following season.
Three other goalkeepers have had a share of a shut-out on their World Championship debuts for GB - John 'Bernie' McCrone, David Graham and Jeff Smith.
Former British Ice Hockey Association's Chief Referee, and Hall of Famer, Nico Toeman was a linesman in the USA vs USSR game in the 'Miracle on Ice' Winter Olympics at Lake Placid in 1980.
Tony Hand's 9 points (2+7) against New Zealand in a 1989 World Pool D game are the points and assist record in modern play for GB. This game and another between hosts Belgium and Romania, both played on the opening day, were mysteriously declared 0-0 a month after the competition was completed after evidence of drug-taking! It was a four-team competition.
The Duke of Edinburgh attended his first game of ice hockey in Britain on December 4th, 1952 when he witnessed a League All- Star team beat Wembley Lions at the Empire Pool (Wembley Arena).
The first set of rules for ice hockey were drawn up in the summer of 1879 by students at McGill University, Montreal. They were a mixture of field hockey and rugby rules and a few others.
When Wembley opened it’s doors to ice hockey in 1934, Grosvenor House Canadians moved across London to become the first Wembley based side along with the newly formed Lions.
The former USSR did not enter the World Championship until 1954 when they shocked the ice hockey world by winning the tournament staged in Stockholm, Sweden.
Scott Morrison's seven goals against China in Pool B action in 1993, stands as a modern era record for goals by an individual in a single 'full' International game.
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