Brighton Tigers Net-Minder, 1946-1953

Gib Hutchinson in St Moritz
From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

Canadian born Gib Hutchinson was considered one of the most brilliant net-minders of all time and will be best remembered from his time with the Brighton Tigers.

Originally from Swift Current in Saskatchewan, Gib came to Britain in 1936 to play for the Earls Court Rangers. Unfortunately Gib only survived one season with the Rangers and, with his future looking bleak, he was forced to seek employment as a carpenter at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London.

Net minder
Gib’s gainful employment was short-lived due to a hockey injury to the Rangers goalie and an SOS was sent out for Gib to step into the position of net-minder. Had it not been for that quirk of fate, British Ice Hockey might have lost one of its finest net-minders!

Gib’s war
Gib played for the Rangers until the start of the Second World War and went to work at the Hawker aircraft factory, occasionally playing during the war years as guest for the RCAF Ice Hockey Team. With Wembley re-opening after the war, his first stop was to apply for the net-minding position with the Wembley Lions.

The Tigers
Eventually, when the English National League resumed, he joined his old pal Bobby Lee at Brighton. With Gib in the net and Bobby Lee at the helm, they took the Tigers to their first League title. The period from 1946-1953 turned out to be the glory days with the Tigers scooping every trophy in sight!

Gib’s last official game was on Thursday 30th April 1953 where the Brighton Tigers won 8-4 against Nottingham Panthers. After retiring from hockey he became stage manager of the Tom Arnold Ice Shows at the Brighton Sports Stadium and later ran a number of public houses in Sussex.

Gib was married to the daughter of British Heavyweight Champion, Bombardier Billy Wells. (Billy Wells was the man who banged the large gong at the start of all Rank films).

Gib Hutchinson died peacefully in his sleep on December 30th 1996, at the Mile Oak Inn, Portslade near Brighton at the age of 84.

Comments about this page

  • I knew Gib in the 1960s when he had The Mile Oak Inn. What a great laid back character. My group played in the public bar (now the function room) for some period of time and quite often at the end of the evening he would treat us to a Gondola Grill at the Gondola Coffee Bar in Church Road, Hove. I recently returned to The Mile Oak for my 25th wedding anniversary and, apart from the stage area, little had changed since we last played there. Very nostalgic, especially as four of the group and some of our 60s fans came along for the party.  I last saw Gib at The Gardeners Arms and at that time, although we had not been in contact for about twenty years, it was like we’d only seen each other the day before. He had just returned from a trip to Canada to see his ‘Mom’ who he said still lived by herself, I think she must have been getting on for 100. I don’t believe that she out-lived him. My sister, brother-in-law and my next door neighbour were great fans of the Brighton Tigers and they, as many others, rated Gib as the best goal minder the Tigers had.  I never saw him play but he was, to say the least, pretty stocky – the opposing teams must have found it pretty difficult to get the puck past him.

    By Dave Cresdee (12/09/2007)
  • Greetings from Australia.
    Earl’s Court rangers fan here, remebering Gib well as a great keeper. The Olympic champions in this period was the RCAF team, and in an exhibition played against Streatham which I went to watch, the RCAF keeper had been injured and they invited Hucthinson to play for them.

    By Mike Montague (05/06/2008)
  • So lovely to read these comments about my father. He is still remembered by so many and missed so much by his family.

    By Mary Pratt ( Hutchinson) (08/05/2012)
  • Apart from his consistent, bloody-minded goalminding, the amazing thing about Gib was that he never seemed to be injured. Even for those pre-slapshot days it was remarkable when goalies never wore masks.   

    By Martin Leach (21/03/2017)

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