Jack Kilpatrick was only 18 when he became the youngest Briton ever to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
In Great Britain’s famous 1936 Triple Crown triumphs in Bavaria, he played left wing in the opening game, a 1-0 win over Sweden. He nearly made it 2-0 but his effort was called back for off-side. Though it was his only appearance, it qualified him for a winners’ medal.
Jack spent only a brief time in England, living most of his life in Canada where he emigrated with his family at the age of four. It was when he won the scoring championship on his juvenile team in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan that he was spotted by Scotland-born netminder Ronald ‘Scotty’ Milne, who recommended him to Wembley Lions as ‘the most promising English-born youngster playing in Canada’.
He dressed for the Lions in 1935-36 and 1936-37 but was used sparingly in a checking role as their seventh forward. In those days of two-line hockey and low scoring, however, his eight points (five goals) with four penalty minutes were not to be dismissed.
After returning to Canada in 1937, he played eleven seasons in the West Kootenay Senior League with Nelson (British Columbia) Maple Leafs on either side of World War Two.
Before being called up in 1944 for war-time service, he played three years of senior hockey in Victoria, British Columbia. He was invited to join the NHL’s Chicago Black Hawks for the 1942-43 campaign but never iced for them, insisting later that their offer was ‘not good enough’.
John Kilpatrick was born on 7 July 1917 in Millom near Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and died on 18 December 1989 in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 as a member of GB’s 1936 Olympic team.