Moray Hanson is the only Brit in the modern era to have competed at the highest level of the World Championships as a netminder and a referee.
Hanson’s playing career began by chance when, aged ten and “not fancying anything on TV”, he joined his father at a game at the city’s rink in Riversdale Crescent. Loving what he saw, he went along to a training session and on being handed the netminder’s gear, he went between the pipes, and was hooked.
Seven years later Alex Dampier, one of Edinburgh’s most celebrated player-coaches, gave him the nod and Moray made his brief debut for the league-winning Racers at the end of season 1980-81. He never looked back.
The very next year he topped the netminders’ percentages in the Northern League. Nicknamed ‘Super Mo’, he and the Racers reached six Wembley finals and won the Heineken British League twice in 12 seasons.
Apart from one year with rivals Fife Flyers, and one and a bit with Dumfries, he stayed with his home town team for his entire career. Consistently one of the league’s top three netminders, he played in 558 official games.
The pinnacle came when he was the last line of defence in the 1994 World Championships A Pool in Bolzano, Italy. He was chosen as Britain’s best player in the tournament, which included facing the might of Canada.
Hanson had previously represented his country in 1989 and did so again two years later. Earlier he had been selected for the GB under-18s and under-20s.
After laying down his pads in 1997 he reinvented himself as an official. His progress was such that after four years he was appointed an International Ice Hockey Federation official. Choosing as an official a former goalie from a nation that rarely mingles with the world’s best was an exceptional one.
He went on to referee in six consecutive World Championships, culminating in four elite division games in Prague in 2004, just ten years after being at the top in goal.
He retired from the sport, due to poor health, at the Elite League play-off finals in Nottingham at the end of the 2011-12 season. It was his record eighth consecutive final with the ref’s whistle. Unusually for a ‘stripey’, when he skated round the ice, the crowd at the National Ice Centre gave him a tremendous reception, including many who had never seen him play.
Moray Hanson was born in Edinburgh on 21 June 1964. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.