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Looking back: What happened to city’s ice hockey?
7:00pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
“Brighton is back on the ice hockey map. And make no mistake about that,” Argus reporter John Freemantle said.
Writing about the Brighton Royals’ winning start to the 1982/83 season, Freemantle was clearly excited about the rejuvenation of ice hockey in Brighton.
Freemantle’s optimistic tone is unsurprising given the illustrious history of ice hockey in Brighton.
The city’s first side, the Brighton Tigers, was one of the most successful English teams of their era.
Playing weekly at the SS Brighton in West Street, the Tigers recorded one of the most famous wins in English ice hockey history when, in 1957, they beat the USSR 6-3.
Disbanded Unfortunately the choice by the council to demolish the Brighton Sports Stadium in 1965 led to the end of the Tigers who disbanded in the same year.
Following their formation in 1977 the Royals were an amateur team established by two former Brighton Tigers, Mike Green and Kevin Bush.
The side comprised largely of older former Tigers, but also featured a great number of younger players.
This blend of young and old evidently worked for the Royals, who won trophies domestically as well as abroad.
The Royals, who often struggled to find a home stadium, won the Avon Sports Centre Cup in Bristol as well as the Tilburg Midnight Players trophy in Holland.
Notable wins for the Royals included a 17-1 goal annihilation of the Hasting Monarchs in 1986 as well as a whopping 17-0 destruction of Solihull in 1983.
The Brighton team also produced players of an international standard, as 19-year-old Robert Breskal was called up by Great Britain Juniors for the European Championships in 1983.
Some controversy, however, surrounded this south coast starlet as, following an off-field incident with a Hastings player and fellow team mate Phil Ray, Breskal was banned for five-months for ‘bringing the game into disrepute’.
The Brighton Royals played their last ever game in April of 1988, ending on a high after beating the Telford Tornadoes 6-2 in Bracknell.
ON THIS DAY
1835: Melbourne is founded.
1914: World War I: Germans defeat the Russians in the Battle of Tannenberg
1937: Joe Louis defeats Welshman Tommy Farr in an epic fight in New York to retain the world heavyweight boxing title.
1939: The great evacuation of children from British cities begins. With the Second World War four days away, thousands of youngsters are moved to the country to avoid anticipated German bombing.
1945: Hong Kong is liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.
1995: NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces.
1998: Second Congo War: Government troops and their Angolan and Zimbabwean allies recapture Matadi and the Inga dams in the western Democratic Republic of the Congo.
1999: East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a referendum.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
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