Senior ice hockey in decline
The 1958/59 season was not so successful in the League for the Tigers, although they did win the Autumn Cup. At that time British ice hockey at senior level was in decline, many of the older Canadian players who had been around in the glory days of the immediate post WWII years had returned home, and were not being replaced in any number by younger guys.
Too much rough play
Ice hockey was not the exciting fast flowing spectacle the more mature fans enjoyed watching in the early days. Sadly there were too many stoppages and fouls – many for rough play and fighting which of course resulted in the offending players receiving penalties and time spent in the sin bin therefore, upsetting the flow of the game.
Tigers v Paisley Pirates
I recall a home game – April 5th 1959 Tigers v Paisley Pirates. The match degenerated into a shameful spectacle. The Pirates team received 65 minutes of penalties in 60 minutes of play. Tigers won the game that night 6-2. Subsequently, the Tigers manager received many letters of complaint describing that game as a disgrace and another nail in the coffin of a once great sport. However, it was sweet revenge for the Tigers who in the previous weeks game up at Paisley were trounced 9-2.
Supporters club coach trip
Does anyone remember the supporters club coach trip Easter 1959 to watch that game? I was 14 years old and together with my school friend and his Father made that epic journey to Scotland; we both thought at that time, it was a trip of a lifetime. Paisley Pirates had won the British League that season, mostly by playing hard forceful hockey. It is a great shame that two or three of their players gave the team such a bad name that year – (no names mentioned). The Tigers finished second from bottom or third from top – sadly there was only four teams left in the British League at that time, Harringay Racers having dropped out at the end of the previous season.
Click on the photo to open a large version in a new window.