Wembley Lions’ right-winger ‘Sandy’ Archer was a member of Great Britain’s memorable ‘Triple Crown’ squad which won the Olympic, World and European titles in 1936.
The team was memorable as much for the controversy that surrounded the eligibility of its players as for its still unequalled successes. Archer’s early life gave the authorities headaches. He was born in London, emigrated to Winnipeg with his parents at the age of three, learned to play there, spent eight years in the senior leagues and only returned to this country when he was 27.
Sandy was undeterred by all the politics and when he was eventually cleared to play in the Olympics, he iced in all GB’s seven games and scored twice before collecting his gold medal.
At the subsequent Championships in 1937 and 1938, he helped GB to win World silver and European gold medals. Capped 24 times for his country in all, he scored an impressive 14 goals and 24 points. He was short-listed to coach the team in the 1948 Winter Olympics but decided that his club side, Wembley Monarchs, was his priority.
Elusive and hard to check, Archer was an excellent skater. He had returned to this country for the 1935-36 season, joining Wembley Lions where spent five seasons in the English National League, scoring 82 goals and 159 points while helping them to win six trophies, including two successive league championships.
His ranking among the top ten scorers in most of the competitions earned him a place on the Ice Hockey World’s All-Star ‘A’ team for three consecutive seasons from 1937-38 to 1939-40.
His playing career was sadly brought to an abrupt halt in March 1946 when he suffered a fractured skull during an international at Wembley against Swedish club, Hammarby. Turning his talents to coaching, he was the first man on the bench for the new Nottingham Panthers in 1946-47, his rookie efforts earning him another All-Star accolade, this time as coach on the ‘B’ team.
In two seasons back at Wembley, this time coaching the Monarchs, he was an All-Star ‘B’ team member in 1947-48 and led them to the Autumn Cup and National Tournament in 1948-49.
When Edinburgh Royals were formed in 1952-53, he was appointed to manage and coach the squad, eventually retiring from the sport in 1954 to became manager of the Murrayfield ice rink.
Alexander Albert Archer was born in West Ham, London on 1 May 1908. He married Doris Cutler, who was a sister of a Lord Mayor of London. He died in Exeter, England on 15 June 1979 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 as a member of GB’s 1936 Olympic team.