An efficient and effective administrator, Jack Wharry was a founding member of the English Ice Hockey Association and twice manager of the Great Britain team during their promotion runs of the early 1990s.
Jack first became involved with ice hockey in 1974 through his two sons, Ian and Billy, when they joined their local club Billingham Bombers soon after it was formed.
Father’s enthusiasm for the ‘new’ sport led him to become the Bombers’ team manager and later club chairman. The integrity and enthusiasm of the ICI works manager became widely recognised and in 1982, he was elected the first treasurer of the new English Ice Hockey Association.
After Alex Dampier took over in 1990 as coach of the Great Britain team for the World Championships in Cardiff, the tireless Wharry was made an assistant manager. When the team won promotion to Pool C, he returned in 1991 as general manager and GB’s delegate to the IIHF’s daily organisational meetings in Copenhagen.
He performed the same duties when GB won a second promotion a year later in Hull with a perfect five wins out of five in a slickly run tournament. His calm demeanour and common sense were credited with helping the team in their dizzyingly swift climb up the international ladder.
His hard work and dedication were recognised in 1990 when he was made a personal member of the BIHA Council where he was able to represent the EIHA’s views on the governing body.
His many tasks took a toll, however. He relinquished his treasurer’s role in 1991, and shortly before the start of the 1992-93 season, he suffered a heart attack in his Billingham home and died, aged 66.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, the EIHA made him their honorary president, and the Northern section of the English Conference was, briefly, renamed the Wharry Division in his memory.
The BIHA’s secretary paid tribute to him at the British Championship finals at Wembley in 1993, saying: “Many people in British ice hockey feel they have lost their favourite uncle.”
Jack Wharry was born on 21 April 1926 in Billingham, Teesside and died on 26 August 1992. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.