THERE aren’t many former Fife Flyers players around who can claim to have played in a Grand Slam winning season and met Charlie Chaplin – but Joe McIntosh can.
Joe, born in Grangemouth in 1932, was an outstanding defenceman whose playing career spanned 25 years, including appearances for Great Britain at four World Championships.
He won major honours with five different senior clubs - starting with Falkirk Lions Play-Off triumph in 1954 and ending with Fife Flyers’ stunning Grand Slam season of 1976-77.
In between he won championships with Edinburgh Royals, Dundee Rockets and Crans-sur-Sierre of Switzerland, where he was introduced to screen legend Chaplin, who had a ski chalet in the area.
Earlier this year, Joe marked his 80th birthday by being inducted into the Ice Hockey Journalists UK (IHJUK) Hall of Fame - fitting recognition for a career that sparkled from start to finish.
His seven years in Fife proved to be among his most successful as he helped Flyers to a number of honours, most notably the televised BBC Grandstand Trophy.
Joe finished his playing days in Kirkcaldy, retiring at the age of 44, before settling in the area, marrying local girl Betty Ross, who worked at the ice rink for 38 years.
Joe recalls: “I played alongside some great players at Flyers, all local guys like Kenny Horne, Jonny Taylor, Gordon Latto and Jack Drummond.
“It was a great club. Winning the Grand Slam in 1977 was the highlight, but I retired after the last game so I missed the team photo with all the trophies!
“The mentality in the dressing room was all for one and one for all, and that’s what helped us be successful.”
On the international front, Joe represented GB at World Championships in 1965, 1966, 1971 and 1973.
His last appearance earned him the title of Great Britain’s oldest ever skater at a World Championships - aged 40 years and 161 days.
It’s a record that Joe puts down to one simple thing: “I just made sure I kept myself fit.”
Joe also coached the GB team on two occasions in the late 1970s, as IHJUK notes “with relative success given the low standing of the purely amateur sport at the time”.
Joe, who lives on Tweed Avenue, no longer watches Flyers in action, although he has taken in NHL games on visits to his see brother-in-laws in Edmonton.
“The Oilers get 18,000 going to their games and the speed is incredible,” he said.
“Stopping the two-line pass has made the game too fast now.
“There isn’t the same stick handling skill that there once was.
“Players don’t take each other on as much – it’s more pass, pass, pass.
“You need to be super-fit to play nowadays.”