1970's Summary - The Original Grand Slam Team
There was silverware aplenty in the 1970s for Fife Flyers, but almost all of it came in the latter half of the decade. Hockey remained a regionalised sport with the NIHA widely perceived as the ''stronger'' half, but Flyers didn't figure among the early champagne celebrations.
They were well beaten in the final of the 1971/72 Icy Smith Cup -- losing 18-5 on aggregate to Murrayfield -- but claimed their first trophy the next season, lifting the Autumn Cup ahead of Whitley Warriors after the competition had been run on a league basis.
Between 1974/75 and 1978/79 Flyers won honours every single season, culminating in a remarkable Grand Slam in 1977.
The squads were very much ''Made in Kirkcaldy'' and was based around stalwarts such Kenny Horne, the Latto brothers, Dougie and Gordon, Les and Lawerie Lovell, and Chic Cottrell to name but a few. Other skaters included Dave Medd, Robert Petrie -- a future Flyers coach-- and Gus Cargill.
They all came through the ranks via Kirkcaldy Kestrels who were launched in 1972 and it was only after establishing themselves as senior players thast Fife started to motor.
Chic Cottrell was the league's rookie of the year for 1970/71, the same season Les Lovell was its player of the year. There were several other personal landmarks -- Law Lovell was coach of the year in 1975/76, Gordon Latto was three times the player of the year in 1976/77, 1977/78 and 1978/79 while Ally Brennan took the honour once (1972/73).
Les Lovell also set a new records for the fastest goal, netting in just six seconds in 1975, while Brennan set a new benchmark for assist in a game (9) in 1976, equalled the following season by Gordon Latto.
But the highlight of the decade was the 1976-77 Grand Slam; a campaign which saw the team notch the club's longest ever winning sequence ... a staggering 32 games unbeaten from March '76 for a full 12 months. The momentum had been clearly building over a couple of season with victories in the Skol Cup, Autumn Trophy, Northumbria Cup and the Slapshot Trophy over the previous 24 months.
The Grand Slam team will go down as one of the greatest to don the gold, white and blue. They swept the boards in the NIHA with a 100 per cent record. No Scottish club had previously gone through a campaign without dropping a point, and throughout the history of British hockey only one other club, Streatham Redskins, has produced such perfect returns ... and they did it four times!
Law Lovell was the player-coach who lead Fife to their first Grand Slam and the league table shows a record of 14-0-0 although Flyers only played 13 games -- Dundee Rockets played all their matches on the road for double points. Flyers went on to win back to back British championships in 1977 and 1978, beating the now defunct Southampton Vikings in both finals.
One other significant landmark from the 1970s: March 1977 saw touring side Toronto Airport Raiders come to Scotland, and their game in Kirkcaldy drew around 2,500 fans -- Flyers biggest crowd for some 15 years. More significantly it was the first time in that era that the hockey club had drawn a bigger gate than Raith Rovers.