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Throwback: When Britain’s controversial golden ice hockey generation shone in Germany

8th February 1936:  The British goal being attacked by Sweden during an ice hockey match at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Olympics, Bavaria, Germany. The British team went on to win the gold medal.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

February 16, 1936

Great Britain have not always necessarily been renowned for being in the higher echelons of the ice hockey fraternity, but they were the first European side to win ice hockey gold all the way back in 1936.

Up until that point, Canada had been the dominant force on the ice but they lost out to GB at the last Games before the outbreak of the Second World War.

There were complaints about the make-up of the British side in the build-up to the Olympic Winter Games in Germany as, while just one of the 13 players on the roster was born outside the UK, the majority had grown up in Canada.

The complaint led to the initial expulsion of two players, Alex Archer and James Foster, who both were born in the UK but moved to Winnipeg in their youth. But that decision was overruled when the Canadians withdrew their appeal.

Gold was decided in a round-robin format between the four best-ranked teams after the qualifying round. Great Britain beat Czechoslavakia, drew with the United States 0-0 after six halves while Canada surprisingly lost 2-1 to the British line-up with Edgar Brenchley scoring with just 90 seconds left on the clock.

The other British goal of that game had come just 40 seconds into the match from Gerry Davey, who had come out of his sick bed to play in the line-up. Daley scored a total of 43 international goals during an illustrious career, a national record which still stands today.

The team’s captain, Carl Erhardt, lends his name to one of the conferences set up for the Elite Ice Hockey League in Britain, which took up the name in 2012 in his honour.

Many of the players would go on to fight in the war, Robert Wyman reaching the rank of lieutenant commander with the Royal Navy.

A multi-talented sportsman in his youth, Wyman was an English schoolboys long jump champion at the age of 15 and also a speed skater. After winning gold in 1936, he stayed on at the Games to commentate for the BBC.


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