John Rost served ice hockey in just about every capacity as player, coach, manager, club chairman and member of the governing British Ice Hockey Association.
The first time the Londoner came to public attention was in 1962 when The Hockey Fan voted him Britain’s Most Promising Young Player at the end of his rookie season with the Brighton Tigers. He remained loyal to the famous club even after the Sports Stadium closed, joining the Tigers in a handful of games, mostly at Wembley’s Empire Pool, until they finally called it a day in March 1967.
John was then chosen to play for his father Sonny’s old team, Wembley Lions, for their very last games at Wembley in October/November 1968. With scarcely any ice rinks left outside northern England, he then hooked up with several other London-based players as the Wembley Vets, who were forced to play all their Southern League games on the road.
When the sport was eventually reintroduced at Streatham in 1973 after an absence of more than a decade, Rost was one of the founding players, captaining and later also coaching and managing the team, alongside Alec Goldstone. Under their leadership, Streatham won the Southern League or its equivalent six times between 1974 and 1981 and the English National League in 1981-82. For 16 years John was also chairman of the club – known from 1976 onwards as the Redskins – and did much to encourage the players who passed through the junior ranks at the south London rink during the 1980s.
He managed Great Britain junior teams in the World and European Championships from 1979 to 1991 and coached the Richmond Flyers in the 1989-90 season. He was for many years a member of the ruling Council of the BIHA, the sport’s governing body.
He can also claim the distinction of being the first son of a Hall of Famer to be inducted alongside his father. Defenceman Sonny Rost, who became a member in 1955, was one of the first Canadians to come to this country to play in the 1930s. The family’s tradition in the sport continued into a third generation with John’s son Warren.
John Rost was born on 28 March 1944 in Islington, London and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.