Bob Wilkinson has become the first person to appointed as an honorary board member of Ice Hockey UK.
He has been involved in ice hockey in the UK for more than 35 years and has served in numerous high-profile roles within the sport, including chairman of IHUK.
His love of ice hockey began in Durham way back in 1982 after he retired from the army following 23 years’ of service.
Bob first ran the Durham juniors and then the under-19 team, before taking over as England U16 manager in 1984.
Two years later, he was asked by the then British Ice Hockey Association to form the first Great Britain Under-16 team.
He also helped form the first Conference tournament in 1987. In 2001, Bob was appointed as a director of the EIHA and tasked with running their junior section.
Bob oversaw massive growth within junior ice hockey and the expansion of age groups across the EIHA structure.
He went on to be appointed as director for the England national teams.
In 2002, he was appointed to the IHUK board and had the responsibility of overseeing Great Britain U20s, GB U18s and Great Britain Women.
During his time in charge of these programmes, he was part of four gold-medal success, four silver and four bronze.
He also served as chairman of Ice Hockey UK between 2005 and 2008 and continues to serve on the EIHA board.
EIHA chairman, Ken Taggart, said: “Bob Wilkinson has always had the sport of ice hockey as his priority and youth as his speciality.
“An enormous number of players have benefited from his efforts and the vast number of teams he has been part of show his success and commitment over a vast number of years.
“Few realise how deep his involvement has been over the years – and especially during the early 80s – when many rinks were built in the UK and the sport expanded and leagues were formed.
“For Bob to be the first honorary member of IHUK is proper recognition. All involved with ice hockey at GB and IHUK express a debt of gratitude to Bob Wilkinson for his service, dedication and love for our sport.”
David Hand, chairman of Scottish Ice Hockey, said: “This is a very deserved honour for Bob and I would like to congratulate him.
“He has done so much for hockey in the UK, especially junior hockey.
“He was the pioneer in so many areas of junior hockey and a lot of people have been helped by Bob over the years.
“Bob is a well respected man throughout ice hockey and this is a fitting honour for someone who has worked so hard for the sport.”
General secretary of Ice Hockey UK, Andy French, added: “Bob Wilkinson has to be one of the most decorated man with World Championship medals I know.
“He has been involved as long as I can remember and has done so much for the sport over the years. He should be very proud.
“In some cases, Bob has not got the recognition that he deserved.
“He was the frontrunner of the Great Britain Under-16 Men many years ago taking them to tournaments and being the father of this team for many years before it became England U16.
“I have worked with Bob for a very long time at Conference, England, chairman of IHUK and director of IHUK.
“It is great to see him being honoured by the board of Ice Hockey UK and I, for one, can’t thank him enough for what he has done over the years for the sport of hockey, especially the junior side of hockey.”