Prolific Scots forward Lawrie Lovell held the record for the most points scored in the Northern League when he retired in 1984. One of the cleanest players ever to don skates in this rumbustious sport, he also represented Great Britain over 30 times in the World Championships.
The second hockey-playing son of Les Lovell Snr, a Canadian who came to Britain in the late 1930s, Lawrie started skating at the age of three and progressed through the ranks at Murrayfield, joining the Royals for the 1962-63 Scottish League campaign. The following season he crossed the Forth to Fife and matured quickly, finishing fifth in the Flyers’ scoring table with 26 goals in 25 games (plus 18 assists) and was voted the year’s Best Young Player in a poll conducted by the national magazine The Hockey Fan.
Back home with the renamed Racers for 1965-66, his skill around the net became legendary when the Northern League got underway 12 months later. The lanky centreman played ten league campaigns at Murrayfield with nine terms on the Flyers sandwiched in between. His scoring feats, which earned him personally four All-Star team places, were one of the keys to the Racers winning four league titles and two Grand Slams (in 1969-70 and 1970-71), and the Flyers capturing two league crowns in the years he was in their line-ups.
Throughout the 1970s he was consistently among the league’s leading scorers, winning four Earl Carlson Trophies (two on each team) as top pointsman in all official competitions. By the close of the 1981-82 season when the league ended, Lovell headed its all-time scorers’ list well ahead of a host of future Hall of Famers. His total of 1,451 points (713 goals) from 420 official games was over 250 more than his nearest rival – his Racers’ line-mate Derek Reilly – while his 91 penalty minutes were even fewer than those taken by his equally imperturbable elder brother Les.
His most memorable campaign was probably in 1975-76 when he doubled as player-coach with the Flyers, and they won the Autumn Cup and play-offs and finished as league runners-up behind his old side Murrayfield. Lawrie himself took the overall scoring title and was voted onto the All-Star ‘A’ team as coach. His brother Les was the All-Star ‘A’ centreman.
Lovell retired 12 games into the Racers’ 1983-84 season. His son Lindsay was starting to make a name for himself so Lawrie was content to hand over to the third generation of hockey-loving Lovells and concentrate on his electrical sales business.
He wasn’t lost to the sport, however, as his fine work as coach of the Flyers – and his brief spell in 1979-80 at the new Aviemore club – led to his appointment as coach of Britain’s under-18s, whom he twice guided to promotion in the European Junior Championships. Among the rising generation on the squad during his rookie year of 1982 were Tony Hand and Stephen Cooper. He remained with the youngsters until 1991.
He was a regular choice to represent Scotland, missing only one Home International against England between 1969 and 1980. With the GB senior team he was capped 31 times, scoring 20 points (11 goals) in five World Championships between 1966 and
1979. He again missed one tournament when he had to drop out in 1977 due to illness and work commitments.
Lawrence Lovell was born on 14 August 1944 in Edinburgh. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.