AN OUTSTANDING former ice hockey star has died aged 81.

One-time Brighton Tigers player Jack Dryburgh was an immense presence in British ice sports.

Nicknamed “The Wee McGregor,” he was celebrated for his speed and goalscoring ability on the ice, and the way he helped others improve their game after he retired.

Jack was an excellent all-round sportsman. He was a child tennis prodigy and a gifted footballer. Clubs including Rangers and Sunderland both showed interest – but Jack turned them down to focus on ice hockey.

His career started with the Murrayfield Royals in 1956-57, followed by spells with Nottingham, Wembley, Southampton and Brighton. He made only one appearance for the national team at the World Championship, where the unbeaten side finished as runners up following a 5-5 draw with Norway.

It was at Brighton, from 1961-65, that he was at his peak. Over his four seasons there, Jack finished top scorer with 205 goals and 262 assists in 131 games.

The Brighton Tigers were the most successful team of their era, securing win after win. Jack was awarded the Sussex Sports Personality of the Year in 1964, when the runner up was England Cricket Captain Ted Dexter.

When the Brighton Ice Rink closed in the mid-1960s, Jack moved to Europe to play professionally with Liege in Belgium and then Kitzbuhel in Austria.

He retired from playing in 1968, and moved into leisure management before settling in his native Kirkcaldy, where he was charged with turning the fortunes of the faltering Fife Flyers around. The team went from strength to strength under his watch.

Jack later served as chairman of the British Ice Hockey Association. But his impact extended further than ice hockey. As a sports administrator and events organiser he was responsible for establishing the Aviemore Summer Skating festival, national and international curling events, and the 1978 World short-track speed skating Championship.

He was renowned for his anecdotes and insight, and was widely respected. A man of great energy, he was also known to hold court in night-long sessions at the ice rink, where he was always happy to share his knowledge and experience.

Tributes have poured in on social media from across the country’s ice sports communities following the news of his death.

Dryburgh was one of the foremost personalities in the history of British ice hockey, and was inducted into the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

He is survived by his four children from his marriage to the late Jacquie Dryburgh, Carolyn, Stewart, Douglas and James, and his long-term partner Joy Walker.