The UK Ice Hockey Hall of Fame committee are excited to announce the 2023 inductees as Professor Bill Harris, Simon Kirkham, Danny Meyers and Stephen Murphy.
The Hall of Fame has been part of UK ice hockey since 1948 and the selection committee recognises individuals each year who have rendered outstanding service to British ice hockey.
Professor Bill Harris has been single-handedly responsible for maintaining, developing, co-ordinating and delivering the ice hockey programme in Cambridge for over a quarter of a century. He led a 22-year-long fundraising campaign, turning the initial million into £5.5 million. Many obstacles had to be overcome along the way, including finding the land and acquiring planning permission.
Thanks mainly to Bill, the dream eventually became a reality. The 1,000-capacity Cambridge Ice Arena – known locally as the Gattiker Ice Rink – was completed and opened in August 2019. It now hosts seven teams and is proving to be highly popular with the new generation of hockey players in Cambridgeshire. A plaque in the changing room honours his role in its creation.
Harris said: “Wow! I think this honour is really for the rise of the sport at university level, which has been kept alight for a century by Oxford and Cambridge, until the rise of the BUIHA and the exciting games between teams from dozens of universities across the country.
“If I’ve contributed to the great game that I love, it’s been by trying to make it more accessible to everyone and especially for my support of the sport at the university level.”
Simon Kirkham played an important role in the growth of ice hockey officials not only in Britain, but also in many other ice hockey nations.
During his 36 years as an official, he wore the striped jersey in over 1,300 games, including 10 World Championships, 11 league championship finals weekends and several top international events. He became the UK’s Referee-in-Chief and travelled the ice hockey world as a Referee Supervisor for the world governing body, the IIHF.
Kirkham said: “To be inducted in the Hall of Fame is a great personal honour and one that I had never given much thought to during my time being involved in the game, both on and off the ice.
“I would just like to thank all those that have helped me in my career over the past 36 years. It has been a blast and full of great memories all of which I will continue to treasure.”
Danny Meyers made 59 appearances for his country, winning a World Championships bronze medal with Great Britain in 2009 and a silver in 2011 and playing in three Olympic Qualifying competitions.
He began his domestic career in Basingstoke and went on to have huge success in the Elite League with Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers.
He completed with his club career with three campaigns in Guildford – near his birth place in Ascot, Berkshire – winning the English Premier League’s Playoffs and Cup in 2015-16.
Danny has also been the driving force behind the construction of the Ozone rink in Bracknell, which he runs with the assistance of 21 staff, many of whom are friends and family. The rink is the official Olympic base for under-16s three-on-three ice hockey.
Meyers said: “It’s an incredible honour that I share on behalf on my wife and two sons, as well as the enormous support I have received from my parents throughout my career.
“We are all extremely proud to get this prestigious award.”
Stephen Murphy was capped 68 times for his country, playing in 13 World Championship tournaments and two Olympic Qualifiers after making his debut as a 19-year-old in Slovenia in 2001. He retired from international competition after helping his country win a gold medal at the 2017 World Championship in Belfast.
He began his 23-year career in his native Scotland in the British National League with Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars. A glittering career in the UK followed, with stints also in Sweden and Norway.
The Dundee-born netminder settled in Belfast in 2009 and spent the rest of his playing career with the Giants, leading them to an array of trophies including the Elite League title in 2012 and 2014.
Murphy said: “It is such an honour to be recognised to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“There are so many people who have had an influence on my career and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me.”