As the boss of Murrayfield ice rink, Willie Kerr was the driving force behind ice hockey in Edinburgh and Scotland for almost a quarter of a century from 1959.
Willie’s family bought the rink out of bankruptcy in 1957 and he became managing director two years later. To his face he was always known as Mr Kerr, but his common touch was apparent from his affectionate nickname of ‘the old man’.
His knowledge and experience of ice sports, especially hockey, were only a telephone call away to anyone seeking them. When the sport was suffering bad times, he did much to keep it going by offering ice time at Murrayfield to amateur teams from Dundee, Falkirk, Glasgow, Kirkcaldy and Perth.
An influential voice on the game’s governing bodies, in 1962 he helped to create the Scottish Committee of the British Ice Hockey Association and four years later played a major role in forming the Northern Ice Hockey Association.
His Murrayfield Racers were a founder member of the Northern League when it began in 1966-67, and were one of the league’s powerhouses during its 16 seasons.
Among the players who developed under his auspices were several who played for Great Britain and were later inducted into the Hall of Fame – forwards Derek Reilly and Les and Lawrie Lovell, and defenceman/coach Johnny Carlyle. His son, Willie junior, represented GB in the 1976 World Championships.
William Kerr was born on 29 January 1912 and died on 10 August 1983. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.