Londoner Bob Wyman was capped for Great Britain 20 times in four World Championships in the 1930s, including their iconic 1936 Winter Olympic gold medal winning team. One of only two home-grown players on the squad, the defenceman helped them to shutout the Japanese national side 3-0.
The archetypal defensive blueliner, he never scored more than two goals and three assists in one season. GB’s coach Percy Nicklin selected him for his “accurate and formidable bodycheck, which is as good as any Canadian’s.”
He first made his mark for his country in the 1935 World Championships, playing either defence or forward in all seven games, and scoring the only goal in a victory over the French, which helped Britain to earn the bronze medal. He was capped 12 more times in the 1938 and 1939 Championships.
An athletic teenager, Wyman was the schoolboy long jump champion of England before learning to skate and play hockey in the late 1920s and early 1930s in the six ice rinks then operating in London.
His first season in senior hockey, with Grosvenor House Canadians in 1933-34, was combined with success in speed skating. The holder of the British half-mile indoor title, he added the national 440 yards outdoor crown at the Rickmansworth (Herts) Aquadrome during a cold snap in January 1934. The triumph was celebrated on a Gallagher’s cigarette card.
In October 1934, he moved with many of his Grosvenor House teammates to the new Empire Pool at Wembley and spent two seasons on the Wembley Canadians before joining Richmond Hawks in 1936-37 for their final winter in the English National League (ENL).
He then donned jerseys for the Earls Court Rangers (1937-38) and Harringay Greyhounds (1939-40) but he was used only sparingly in the heavily Canadian-staffed league. In 1938-39, he opted instead for more ice time with Princes in the lower London and Provincial League.
After wartime service in the Royal Navy when he reached the rank of Lieutenant-Commander, he returned in 1946-47 to play nine games with Wembley Monarchs, but his appearances on the ice gradually diminished. He ended his playing career with Sussex in the Southern League.
As a reserve for GB in the 1936 Olympics, apart from playing in one game, he was on BBC’s radio commentary team alongside Bob Bowman.
James Robert Wyman was born on 27 April 1909 in West Ham, London and died in 1978 in Surrey. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 as a member of the 1936 Great Britain team.