Jim Borland was one of the immortal Great Britain team that won the Triple Crown of Olympic, World and European titles in 1936.
Born at Stalybridge just outside Manchester, England, he was raised in eastern Canada and learned his considerable ice hockey skills at Montreal’s McGill University. A versatile player, 5ft 9ins tall and weighing 168lbs, he was equally capable in defence or on attack.
On his return to his native country in 1933, he was recruited by the Grosvenor House Canadians, a club run by Canadian businessman Freddie Summerhayes and based in the hotel on London’s swanky Park Lane. With Borland on defence alongside another future GB cap Gordon Dailley, the all-Canadian squad won the league in 1933-34. The national team’s selectors snapped him up for the side which entered the World Championships and he scored twice in their five games in the Palazzo del Ghiaccio in Milan.
After 12 months away from the sport, he was back in 1935-36 as centreman on the second attacking trio of the newly formed Brighton Tigers. A natural for the national squad selectors again that February, his versatility was one of the keys to his side’s epic success. His performance on defence first helped GB shutout Sweden 1-0, and next day when he switched to forward, he scored in the 3-0 defeat of Japan. In his third appearance, GB was victorious over Italy, 4-1.
Back for his third domestic season, he was appointed captain of Brighton but a serious knee injury after a collision with a Toronto Dukes player in early November required the cartilage to be removed. He iced in only 13 games in total before he was forced into retirement.
Early in World War Two, he volunteered for the Canadian Air Force where he served until his hockey skills were recognised and he was appointed player-coach of RCAF Eastern Canada. An electrician by trade, after the war he was employed by Northern Electrical in Montreal.
A right-handed shooter, Jim was said to be even-tempered, cheerful and a good mixer. He enjoyed golf, fishing and baseball.
James Andrew Borland was born on 25 March 1911 and died on 31 January 1970 in Montreal, Quebec. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 as a member of GB’s 1936 Olympic team.