Netminder Art Child was a member of Great Britain’s famous 1936 team which won the Triple Crown of Olympic, World and European titles. One of the finest stoppers in Europe, he was unlucky to get stuck behind first choice Jimmy Foster, who was probably the world’s best amateur goaltender at the time.
An integral member of the team, Child appeared in all the group and informal photos taken at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, but he was overshadowed by Foster’s brilliance and was not tested in any of Britain’s games.
An outgoing character, he was interviewed on the first ever television transmission featuring ice hockey, answering questions about the 1936 Olympics in the BBC’s Alexandra Palace studio.
A Londoner by birth, Art and his family emigrated to Canada when he was three and he went on to become an outstanding minor league keeper. An adventurous teenager, he once spent a summer travelling across Canada to the Pacific, jumping freight trains and walking.
At the age of 20 he came to England on the cheerful assumption that someone would give him a game. His optimism was rewarded in January 1936 when he was recruited by Wembley Lions to guard their net.
Happy to play wherever he was needed, after the Olympics he spent part of the 1936-37 campaign at Earls Court, acting as back-up goalie on the Rangers and Royals, and as a temporary replacement minder with Southampton Vikings. He even strapped on pads for the west London-based Perivale Rovers, a recreational team backed by the manufacturer of Philco Radios.
He got a starting position again in season 1937-38 back at Wembley, this time with the Monarchs. According to the few statistics that are available, he had four shut-outs as the Monarchs ended runners-up in the English National League. In the National Tournament, he posted a creditable goals-against average of 2.42.
He stayed with the Monarchs for two more seasons, though in 1939-40 he was moved aside in favour of the little-known Scots-born number one Alex McKendrick.
His involvement with war-time government work resulted in him setting up a munitions department at the huge American Can Co. and he became their director of marketing. Later on, he formed his own marketing company, Arthur Child and Associates Ltd.
Hockey remained important to him and he enjoyed a ten-year senior career with Hamilton (Ontario) Tigers, winning six provincial championships and going to the Allan Cup finals in 1945-46.
His colourful and varied life even included four years, 1955-59, in the Canadian Parliament as the Member for Hamilton.
Arthur John Child was born on 15 September 1915 in West Ham, London and died of a heart attack on 30 June 1996 while playing golf in Canada. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 as a member of GB’s 1936 Olympic team of which he was the last survivor.