Rupe Fresher, one of the leading lights of the legendary Brighton Tigers ice hockey team, has died at the age of 86.

Fresher played in the early 1960s for the Tigers, whose exploits thrilled packed houses for years at the old Brighton Sports Stadium in West Street.

His thrilling rushes down the right wing produced chants of “Ruuuuuuuupe” from his adoring fans, a sound that newcomers to the sport often mistook for boos.

Standing only 5ft 9in and weighing 169lb, he was known for great muscular strength, developed in his trade as a scaffolder.

He was also renowned for his fiery temper and could often be found stewing in the sin-bin.

During his five seasons wearing No.12 in the gold and black, he scored 201 goals and assisted on 111 more for 312 points while spending 199 minutes in the cooler.  

He was capped 18 times for his country, playing at the World Championships in 1952, 1961 and 1962.

Fresher, who was born in Mitcham, spent a lot of time in Canada after his retirement from the rink.

He suffered for some years from Parkinson's disease and last year tripped on an escalator in Toronto, where he died in hospital this week.

Gar Vasey, a Canadian who played three seasons on defence for the Tigers in the 1950s, scoring 21 goals and 36 assists for 57 points in 121 games, died in Mount Forest, Ontario, last month, aged 88.

He was married to Peggy for 61 years and she and their four children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren survive him.