Born January 27th 1924 in Hampstead London, John Murray served British ice hockey as a player, coach, manager and as a BIHA Council member.
Educated at Harrow Technical College, John Murray began skating at the age of eleven, the year after the Empire Pool, as Wembley Arena was then known, opened and he soon joined the junior hockey scheme, run initially by ex-NHL netminder Clint Benedict and later by Lions favourite Lou Bates. By the November of 1936, John Murray had gained a regular place with the Cubs who played their games as the curtain raiser to the National League games of both the Wembley Lions and Monarchs. In March 1938, he scored in the Cubs 2-1 Hunter Cup Final win over Princes.
At the start of the 1939/40 season, John Murray played a handful of games with the Lions scoring two assists, but the outbreak of the Second World War interrupted his budding hockey career. He volunteered for the RAF in 1941, later transferring to the Royal Engineers where he attained the rank of Captain by the time of his demobilisation. With the war over, he soon became a regular member of the Wembley Lions line-up, however his ice time as the seventh forward was again limited in the Canadian-dominated English National League of that era. He also played regularly for the Wembley Terriers, serving as captain and then coach during the seven years of the Southern Intermediate League. Throughout this time, he was never out of the top ten scorers, twice finishing second and winning the title in the 1950/51 season with 37 points, 13 goals and 24 assists, in 13 games.
John Murray won his first international honours when selected for the England squad of 1947 and made his last appearance on the international stage in 1962 at the age of 38. His first call-up for the GB squad came in 1948 for the Winter Olympics held in St.Moritz, the last occasion that Great Britain competed in the Olympics. He played a total of five tournaments, two in Pool A and three in Pool B, scoring 8 goals in 23 appearances.
In 1952, he was captain, coach and manager of the all-English team, which took the Pool B title in liege Belgium and he retained the triple role for the following seasons campaign. For the next seven seasons Great Britain did not contest the world championships, but for both the 1961 and 1962 tournaments, John Murray was involved as player and manager.
When the Empire Pool closed its doors, temporarily, on hockey in 1960, Murray spent three seasons with the Southampton Vikings and it was during this time that he was elected onto the HIHA Council. With the re-opening of Wembley in 1963, he again donned the red and white uniform of the Lions to spend five seasons as player/coach until his retirement in April 1968.
John Murray became one of the two BIHA vice-presidents in 1982 and also spent a short time on the International Olympic Committee. Always an exponent of clean hockey evidenced by his amazingly few penalty minutes in a long playing career, John Murray was always and remained after he retired a strong advocate for the native British player.
Whilst full statistics for the pre-1940 domestic and International games are unavailable, the Hall of Fame is proud to publish his known career numbers as follows:-
|English National League Competitions||323||26||37||63||14|
|Southern Intermediate League 1949-56||67||81||100||181||16|
|Official Competitions 1960-68||113||112||129||241||4|
Compiled with research, provided by Martin C.Harris - March 1996.