JACKSON McBRIDE was one of ice hockey's finest British-developed players, skating for various Scottish clubs during his 26-year career and appearing in three World Championships for Great Britain .
Born in Paisley , Scotland on 28 August 1946 , Jackson was brought up on the town’s Seedhill Road and educated at the John Neilson Institute. On leaving school he served an apprenticeship as a fitter with Thomas Lamont’s in Paisley .
He learned to skate as an eight year-old at the old Paisley Ice Rink and started his ice hockey career aged 16 with Paisley Vikings in 1962. Moving on to the Paisley Mohawks, where he benefited enormously from experienced team-mates like Billy Brennan, Bill Crawford, Dave Ferguson and Joe Brown, he developed into an outstanding left winger on Paisley’s all-conquering squad of the mid 1960s, earning an All-Star ‘B’ Team honour in 1968-69.
Jackson ’s father was based in the fire service at Ayr , and the family moved to the west coast town in 1968. The following year Jackson , just turned 23, was invited to take over as Player-Coach of Ayr Bruins. A First team All-Star in each of the three seasons from 1969-72, he was the Northern League’s Player of the Year in 1974-75 (when playing for a struggling Ayr team, reformed after a two-year hiatus following the closure of the Beresford Terrace rink in 1972, who had to play all games away from home) and was the driving force in Ayr’s British Championship win in 1976.
Jackson was good enough to still play Heineken Premier Division hockey in 1987-88 for Ayr , when aged 41, having been Coach of the Bruins at the start of that season. He had been Player-Coach of Irvine Wings in the Scottish League during 1984-85 and subsequently coached Irvine in their only season of British League hockey (1986-87). In addition, he had spells as coach to Glasgow Saints in the British League Division One, and the newly-formed Kilmarnock team in the Scottish League from 1989.
Jackson was still player-coach of the recreational Ayr Jets team up to his untimely death, aged 56, on 10 July 2003 . (Jackson, a manager with British Aerospace in Ayrshire, had been on a business trip to one of the company’s factories near Blackburn , Lancashire , when he died suddenly in his Clayton-le-Moors hotel room. Fittingly, he had taken part in a recreational hockey practice at Blackburn Ice Arena on the evening of his tragic death.)
On the international front, he represented Great Britain in three World Championships (1971, 1973 and 1976); he also played for Great Britain in Denmark ’s Pondus Cup tournament in 1975 and appeared for Scotland against England on a number of occasions.
As well as coaching at senior level, Jackson had also coached various junior teams at Ayr over many years, and he was an inspirational figure to the many junior players he helped develop.
Jackson’s elevation to the Hall of Fame is fully endorsed by former goaltender Tommy Newall, who played with him for Paisley Mohawks and both the Ayr Bruins and Ayr Rangers: “It’s about time that he was recognised because Jackson was a hell of a player and a real good guy. He was one of the best stickhandlers I’d seen and he could pick up bad passes behind him and make them look good. His attitude was just right; he’d train every day if he had to.
All the old players had respect for him, even as a youngster – it was obvious he was going to be a star.”
Canadian goaltender Jim Graves, his former Bruins’ team-mate on the Championship-winning squad of ‘76, always maintained that Jackson was the one British player most likely to have succeeded in North America, had such opportunities been available for British players in the late 1960s. He was the prototype ‘power forward’ before such a phrase had been coined, being a superbly fast skater, skilled stickhandler, hard shooter…and someone who also relished the physical aspect of the sport.
This is a view also shared by Tommy Newall: “ Jackson , with his size, skating and stickhandling, could’ve made it in North America .”
Jackson is survived by his widow Ayleen, sons Ryan and Blair and daughter Krista. (Both Ryan and Blair followed their father into the sport through Ayr ’s junior development programme; latterly, Ryan played with Solway Sharks while Blair assisted Paisley Pirates.)
Jackson McBride's career stats in senior hockey are as follows:
|1962-1988*||294||260||303||563||464||Paisley Vikings;Paisley Mohawks; Ayr Rangers; Ayr Bruins; Glasgow Dynamos; Irvine Wings.|
|1971||4||3||2||5||4||Holland||World Championships - Pool C|
|1973||7||1||1||2||2||Holland||World Championships - Pool C|
|1976||4||0||1||1||4||Poland||World Championships - Pool C|
Profile by David Gordon, 2008, member of IHJUK