The Brighton Tigers

Cover of programme for Brighton Tigers ice hockey match, October 1950
From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

In the latter part of 1935 a new phenomena was about to change the fortunes of the Sports Stadium. For the first time in the history of Brighton the town was to have its own ice hockey Team, called the Brighton Tigers.

The people of Brighton immediately took the Tigers to their hearts, with as many as four thousand people turning up for the game on a Thursday evening. The roar of the crowd could be heard half way up West Street, as the supporters cheered their home team on to victory. The first official match was on Thursday the 24th of October 1935 against the Richmond Hawks, who they beat 4-2. The Brighton Tigers went on to dominate the game of ice hockey as champions for many years to come.

The Canadians come to Brighton
The 1935 team was composed of manly Canadians, as the game of ice hockey was relatively unknown in Britain at the time. This would eventually turn out to be the norm, as very few Englishmen were to attain the very high standards achieved by the Canadian players. One of the outstanding players of the 1935 team was a Canadian called Jimmy Borland. Under the watchful eye and guidance of coach Percy Nicklin, he went on to represent Great Britain in the 1936 Olympics.

The Tigers, clad in their familiar black and yellow kit, continued to pack the crowds into the rink, right up until the beginning of World War II. They were particularly admired by the local girls and very soon had their own fan clubs. With dashing good looks, Gordie Poirior was the star of the Tigers, newly arrived from Montreal, where he was crowned Champion of Champions. The crowds would scream the roof down as he scored one goal after another, leaving the opposing team players in total disarray.

Bobby Lee, the new hero
But Gordie’s days as the “Tigers” star were numbered, when a new player called Bobby Lee joined the team in 1936. Bobby Lee was to be the new hero of the Brighton Tigers, with his dark good looks and amazing hockey skills. The crown remained Bobby’s for many years to come, as he went on to be captain and coach. Bobby Lee will be remembered in the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, as one of the few men in the history of British Ice Hockey to score four hundred points in his career.

Comments about this page

  • Found this site by accident while doing research on an old Brighton Tigers program. I think this a very interesting and informative site. It was sad to see the picture of the demoliton of the stadium. Cheers from Canada.

    By Carol Lee (08/03/2005)
  • Carol Lee. Would you be the same Carol Lee of Bobby Lee fame? If so please contact me at my email address.

    By Trevor Chepstow (Sports Stadium Brighton Archive) (09/11/2005)
  • When my parents, Frank and Rosa Larkin, lived in Brighton in the 1930’s, they were avid fans of the Tigers.  We have a few photo’s of them with successive teams.

    By Judi Lunt (01/10/2006)
  • My Father played ice-hockey at the Stadium for Sussex in the 1930s. My Uncle played for the “Tigers” just after this, before he moved to Southamton and became Captain of the “Vikings”
    I have many photos and scrap books covering these days.
    When I was 16 I had an interview with Alan Weeks and was invited to join the “Brighton Tiger Cubs”, a youth team he set up in those days, we practiced Sunday mornings, and went to watch the “Tigers” Sunday night.
    Those were the days!

    By Derek Hammond (04/03/2007)
  • Hi, anyone with memories of Jimmy Borland, or details about the very first Tiger’s side in 1935, I’d be very grateful if you could please contact me.

    By Steve Thompson (02/10/2008)
  • Derek I have a framed picture depicting Brighton Tiger Cubs. It is actually painted on glass, if you are interested in seeing it I will photograph it. Hoping I can manage to eliminate the flash. It shows a tiger head and the wording

    By Garry Lockwood (29/01/2011)
  • Was there a ladies’ Tigers hockey team or maybe a club to learn and practice higher skating? I ask because an elderly lady I visit tells me she used to skate for the ladies team and also took part in ice shows. Can anyone pass on info to me? Thanks

    By Rachel Howell (08/02/2011)
  • Hi Gary, I would be very pleased to see the photo you have of the Tiger Cubs, maybe you can also help me as I am trying to get some info. on the Sussex Ice Hockey Team 1936-1937 for whom my Father played. I have two photos on my computer, one is of the team sitting on the barrier and all the players have signed their sticks. Any info. from you or anybody else would be appreciated. My email is:-

    By Derek Hammond (06/11/2011)
  • I would love to see the picture that Garry Lockwood has of the “Cubs”. My father Fred Knight I think practiced with them.

    By Terry Knight (09/03/2013)
  • I guess it would help if I left Garry my email:

    By Terry Knight (11/03/2013)
  • As the years speed by and just having had my 80th birthday, I often think of the people I knew in my hockey playing days. Friends, team-mates and opponents at Harringay, Streatham and Brighton. Sadly, some have passed away. The beauty of not seeing people that I knew so long ago is that they remain forever in their teens, twenties or thirties in my memory. I am the only one that has got older. Anyway, I would like to share best wishes to anyone that remembers Margaret, my wife, and I. 

    By Ray (Podge) Partridge (26/12/2014)
  • Just read the piece by Podge Partridge and would like to thank him and the rest of the Tigers for many happy memories at the old SS.

    By Roger Russell (19/08/2015)
  • While clearing out my attic I found numerous press cuttings etc regarding Brighton Tigers. Would they be of interest to anybody? By the way I briefly played with the Tiger Cubs and would be interested to see the photos mentioned.

    By Mel Bowden (29/12/2016)

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