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Edgar ‘Chirp’ Brenchley

Ed Brenchley, always known as ‘Chirp’, was one of the stars of GB’s 1936 Olympic, World and European title winning side, scoring four times, including three game-winners, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria.

Playing in all seven of GB’s games in the memorable event, he tallied the only goal of their first contest with a long shot against Sweden in the opening minutes, and in their second outing he beat the Japanese netminder after ten minutes for the first marker in Britain’s 3-0 shutout.

With the teams tied 1-1 in the vital encounter against world champions Canada, Chirp came up trumps again with barely 90 seconds left on the clock.

Brenchley’s family emigrated to Canada when he was a child and he learned the game from the age of 11 while living in Niagara Falls. A smart right-winger, five feet, nine inches tall and a lightweight at 155lbs, he played his first adult hockey in 1934-35 in North America’s Eastern Amateur Hockey League (EAHL) with Hershey B’ars (sponsored by Hershey chocolate bars). His love of talking, or chirping, earned him his nickname.

On his return to Britain, he joined Richmond Hawks for the 1935-36 season when they ended as runners-up in the new English National League, tied on points with champions Wembley Lions. Hawks were coached by Percy Nicklin, who was also in charge of the GB team, and when Nicklin moved to take control of the fledgling Harringay Greyhounds in 1936-37, he took Brenchley with him.

Under Nicklin again on GB’s 1937 squad, he scored eight times in the nine games held in London. His finest moments came against the Swiss when his quick backhand broke a 0-0 tie in the second overtime period, and his two goals against Germany when GB’s victory earned them the European title for the second straight time.

After those two heady campaigns, he returned to North America where he resumed his playing career in the minor leagues, mostly in the EAHL, scoring 494 points (165 goals) in 705 games. He was also a successful coach with various teams for 15 seasons between 1953-54 and 1965-66.

When Pittsburgh Penguins were granted an NHL franchise, he scouted for them in 1966-74 and then performed the same service with Washington Capitals in their inaugural NHL season.

Edgar Brenchley was born on 10 February 1912 in Sittingbourne, Kent and died on 13 March 1975 in Hamilton, Ontario. He was inducted into the Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame in 1990. In 1993 he was inducted into Britain’s Hall of Fame as a member of GB’s 1936 Olympic team.