Tony Hand MBE gets his just rewards at last

‘Tony Hand inducted into IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame

 ‘Tony Hand MBE, former Belfast Giants’ player coach and Great Britain player and coach has been inducted into the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Cologne, Germany.

As part of the 2017 inductees the 49-year-old received the Richard ‘Bibi’ Torriani Award for an outstanding career by a player from a non-top hockey nation.

Tony Hand and Rene Fasel

Tony Hand MBE (R) with Rene Fasel (L) recieving his award

The Edinburgh-born former forward scored over 4250 points in an illustrious 34-year playing career. ‘Tony Hand became the first British-raised player to be drafted by an NHL side when he was picked up by Edmonton Oilers in 1986.

During his successful stint in Belfast ‘Tony, who should have starred in the NHL with Edmonton Oilers was a Giants’ coach. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland he has done it all in the UK. You could write a book, and several have been completed on the host of teams ‘Tony has played and coached for including the GB International squad.

Rob Stewart and presenter Wayne Hardman with Rob's certificate to UK Ice Hockey Hall of Fame

Rob Stewart and Wayne Hardman with Rob’s certificate to UK Ice Hockey Hall of Fame

He took over from Rob Stewart during the 2004-2005 season as a player coach and took the squad to the playoffs. Hand was always a home person and travelled from Scotland most weeks to coach and play for the team. It was no surprise the following season when he player/coached for his cousin Scott Neil for the Edinburgh Capitals, and then for Manchester.

‘Tony Hand spent just one year in Belfast and proved to be one of the greatest British born and trained players of all-time. Playing top line centre as well as coaching the team he helped the Giants to second in the league. His set-up play was a joy to watch as he could find passes nobody else could. He lead the league in scoring and did not look like slowing down despite being in his later thirties. For many it was a disappointment that ‘Tony only stayed one season in Belfast yet his replacement as coach, Ed Courtenay was another gem.

After leaving the Giants ‘Tony went on to coach and play for the Manchester Phoenix.

Tony’s statistics with the Belfast Giants:

          G/P— Regular Season —   —— Playoffs ——

G/P  G   A   PTS  P/M    P/G  G    A   Pts  P/M

2004-05   50   19   50   69   60           8    0    5    5      34

TOTALS

50   19   50   69   60         8    0    5    5   34 ———————————————————

 

GB Head Coach Tony Hand

GB Head Coach Tony Hand

In a two-year stint as GB head coach, he led the national side to the final qualifying stages for the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. Hand was presented with his award by IIHF president, Rene Fasel.

An emotional Hand said, “I am honoured and privileged to be here to accept the award. I am overwhelmed. I started playing hockey when I was nine. My father passed away when I was seven and my mum brought us up. The sacrifices she made for me to get to here. It is such an honour”.

Hand continued, “I would like to thank the IIHF council members for the nomination. I would like to thank my team-mates, my coaches, Ice Hockey UK and the fans who have supported me through my career. I would also like to congratulate my fellow inductees, it is an honour to be here with you.

I would like to thank my wife Melissa, son Paul, daughter Sarah and my brothers Paul and David. It is the pinnacle of my career to get here, something I never ever dreamed of.”

Ice Hockey UK chairman, Richard Grieveson said, “This is a special moment for ‘Tony and one he fully deserves. He is a legend in UK ice hockey and has done so much for the sport in this country. This shows the respect ‘Tony has worldwide and I would like to congratulate him on his award.”

ID Photo Written by Wayne Hardman

 

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