Breaking the ice – Torquay Winter Olympian

Ice hockey originated in Canada in the early 19th century, based on several similar stick-and-ball games played in Europe. The first Olympic ice hockey tournament took place at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, with a men’s competition. At the time there was little international competition, so these Olympics were also considered to be the first Ice Hockey World Championship.

Canada initially dominated the sport on the world stage, but their dominance was ended at the 1956 Corina games when the Soviet Union won gold, the first of nine Games dominance.

australia 1960 Olympics ice hockey

Australia’s ice hockey team has participated in just one Winter Olympics: the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley, California. The team scored ten goals in six games and finished ninth, conceding 87 goals. The team had previously tried to attend the 1956 games in Cortina, Italy, but never received approval from the Australian Olympic Committee.

John Nicholas Ice Hockey

John Nicholas (1930-1966) was a member of this valiant 19-man Australian team in 1960. He spent many summers in Torquay being an active member of the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club for twelve seasons. He was a patrolling member, successfully competed in Surf Ski events at club level and became Victorian Single Ski Champion twice in the mid-1950s. John was the Club Board and Ski Captain in 1956. In the 1955/56 season, he was the club Double Ski Champion with Owen Yateman.

During his youth, he was a graduate of the St Moritz practice sessions held towards the end of the Second World War, going on to represent Victoria for five consecutive years, 1948 to 1952 and again in the 1960s, being proficient in ice hockey in both offence and defence.

In addition to ice hockey and surfing, John excelled in skiing, water polo and sailing.

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