Wednesday 22 July 2020

Book Review: Brighton Tigers - A Story Of Sporting Passion

A lot of modern ice hockey fans probably won’t know that the Brighton Tigers were a big part of hockey history from the opening of their superb SS (Sports Stadium) in the 1930s right up until it was controversially closed in 1965 just when British ice hockey was slowly edging towards its next golden era.

However, I have been watching ice hockey just about long enough to remember the valiant Brighton BVH Royals team who kept the hockey flag flying for the South Coast in Division 3 of the British League where they had to play all of their games away for double points so - as a keen reader of Stewart Roberts’ excellent Ice Hockey Annual over the years, I have always followed the various campaigns to get a new ice rink built in Brighton and, when Stewart announced that he was working on this history of the former Tigers team, I knew it would be something special.

While the main thrust of this book is, obviously, the Tigers teams of the 1930s to the 1960s there is a very interesting introduction that tells of earlier rinks in the Brighton area – namely the Victorian circular rink that operated from 1897-1901 and then a more modern facility at Hove (1929-1932).

This book is an absolute mine of information. Who knew, for example, that while most leisure facilities were closed for the duration of World War 2, the Brighton Sports Stadium had ice hockey matches on every week featuring a mixture of local players and visiting Canadian servicemen…?

There is a complete player directory of everybody who ever turned out for the Tigers teams - and that is quite an achievement in itself bearing in mind the scarcity of statistical information from the pre-war and immediate post war periods - as well as lots of great photos of many of the stars.

I may be slightly biased as this is the sort of book that I like to produce myself  - as well as to read - but it means that I can easily appreciate the huge amount of work that is involved in putting this sort of thing together  – seeking out all the facts and figures, getting permission for all the photos, checking and rechecking all the data…  It’s is a huge undertaking and even more so when a lot of the people are dead and there is nobody around to ask anything!

Whether you’re a modern hockey fan – or a bit of a nostalgia fan like me – or maybe know nothing about it and want to find out more, this book is definitely worth read.

And you don’t have to take my word for it – here are comments that a few other people have made:

“Book arrived yesterday, thank you. I've got to say how very impressed I am with it. You should be very proud. An everlasting history of the famous Brighton Tigers and an absolute must for Tigers (Bengals) fans everywhere and for sports fans generally in Brighton.” - Gordon Wade, Heineken League statistician.

“Received through the post yesterday a copy of your book on Brighton Tigers. It is excellent - superb lay-out and illustrations. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement that provides a comprehensive record of the sport in Brighton. And can be used as a powerful PR tool to 'sell' Brighton to any potential developers as the place in the UK to locate a new ice facility.” - David Gordon, ice hockey historian and member of Britain's Hall of Fame committee.

“Thanks for sending the book so quickly. I’m having fun dipping in and out of it from time to time and it’s really interesting to hear and see what went on before I was even born. I think it’s a fabulous book, very striking and smart-looking and very well put together.” - Vicki Gardner, Brighton resident.

“Really enjoying the book - Great work! And a real history lesson too, makes me wanna get the skates on!” - Gary O'Brien, son of Tigers' legend Mike O'Brien.

You can order your copy of the book via Amazon HERE