Great Britain player and coach Tony Hand MBE has been recognised by the International Ice Hockey Federation with the Richard “Bibi” Torriani Award as part of their 20th induction class into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
The Torriani Award recognises an outstanding career by a player from a non-top hockey nation.
The IIHF citation recognises his playing career at every level of the British domestic game as well as the unique distinction of playing for Great Britain in Pool A, B, C and D as part of his 91 IIHF tournament appearances.
Speaking to Ice Hockey UK, Hand said: “I am honoured to receive this award, it really is fantastic.
“I would like to thank my family, all the coaches I have worked with and all my former team-mates.
“I would also like to thank the IIHF committee for this nomination, it is something very special.
“This is something I will really cherish and I feel proud to be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.”
The IIHF Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place in Cologne, Germany, on May 21 – the final day of the 2017 World Championships.
The Full IIHF Citation
b. Edinburgh, Scotland, Great Britain, 15 August 1967
A Scottish mix of Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe produced Great Britain’s greatest hockey player. In the manner of Gretzky, Tony Hand recorded more than 200 points in a single British Hockey League season four times. And in the manner of Howe, Hand played in the BHL and its successors for 32 years!
Starting with the Murrayfield Racers of the BHL in 1983 as a 14-year-old, Hand went on to play in the British ISL (Ice hockey Super League), the BNL (British National League), the EIHL (Elite Ice Hockey League), and, finally, the EPIHL (English Premier Ice Hockey League). By the time he retired in 2015, he was 47-years-old.
From 2001 to 2015, he was a player-coach, most notably with the Manchester Phoenix for whom he became full-time head coach in 2015 after finally retiring as a player.
Early in his career his play was so impressive that Edmonton Oilers’ general manager and coach Glen Sather, drafted Hand 252nd overall in 1986, the first British-trained player ever selected. Hand attended training camp two years running but was homesick and worried about being buried in the team’s junior system.
Internationally, Hand has the unique distinction of playing at the World Championship in A pool (1994, the last time Britain appeared at the top level), B pool / Division I (1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007), C pool (1991, 1992), and D pool (1989, 1990). He also played in three U20 events (C pool) and in all played in 91 IIHF tournament games.
In 2004, Hand became the first ice hockey player ever honoured with the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
Click here to read the full Hall of Fame news at IIHF.com