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VIDEO: Rare footage of Dundee Rockets’ 1984 Grand Slam victory

The footage includes captain George Reid lifting the trophy and the lap of honour.
Graeme Strachan
Rockets fans in full voice in the footage. Image: Supplied.

Rare footage brings to life Dundee Rockets glory run in the 1980s.

ITV World of Sport covered all three British Championship finals when the Rockets swept all before them and made history between 1981 to 1984.

The footage was painstakingly sourced from surviving VHS tapes.

It will be seen for the first time in decades when the Rockets share a stage at the Whitehall Theatre to mark 40 years since that final Grand Slam victory.

The flagship afternoon magazine show presented by the legendary Dickie Davies brought a mix of live sport including racing, wrestling and football results.

The footage shows highlights of all three Grand Slam finals won by the Rockets and the unbreakable bond with their travelling army of fans that few could match.

Dave Lanning was the commentator

World of Sport started covering ice hockey when the Rockets defeated Streatham Redskins 3-2 in the British Championship final in April 1982.

Dave Lanning provided the commentary and Gary Newbon was sideline reporter.

It was hugely popular.

Dundee Rockets team photo from the 1981-82 season.
Dundee Rockets glory run began in the 1981-82 season. Image: Supplied.

The team was made up of fantastic local talent like Dougie Scrimgeour, Jock McGuff, Kenny Urquhart and brothers Ronnie and Ally Wood.

George Reid was the captain with an additional three full-time import players, who were Chris Brinster, Roy Halpin and Kevin O’Neill from Concordia University in Canada.

Kevin left Kingsway Rink afterwards and was replaced by Allard Leblanc.

The Rockets won a second Grand Slam after defeating Durham Wasps 6-2 in a memorable British Championship game at Streatham Ice Rink in April 1983.

This video of the 1984 final is a teaser of the footage being shown

Rockets owner Tom Stewart built the foundations of ice hockey in the city and managed the Rockets during the Grand Slam successes.

He was known for his blunt, no-nonsense approach.

Stewart delivers some memorable lines from the bench.

What if you can’t take the puck?

Take the man!

Allard Leblanc, Tom Stewart and Roy Halpin in 1983. Image: DC Thomson.

Newbon asks if the Rockets really are the very best in Britain and if he is going to make it three in a row following success in 1983.

“We’ll be back next year,” said Tom.

He was right.

The Rockets were invincible in the 1980s

Scotland international Dougie Scrimgeour worked for Tom Stewart’s scaffolding business Monday to Friday and played for the Rockets at the weekend.

Dougie Scrimgeour with his Dundee Rockets scrapbook.
Dougie Scrimgeour with his Dundee Rockets scrapbook. Image: DC Thomson.

“It was stardom at the weekend playing at places like Wembley before you were brought back down to earth and grafting again on a Monday morning,” he said.

“Playing for the Rockets at that time was special and we made history and put Dundee on the map.

“I was lucky to be part of something which was unforgettable.”

The Rockets continued where they left off and won a third Grand Slam.

Mike Walker arrived to replace Allard Leblanc and the Rockets won the British Championship final 5-4 against Murrayfield Racers.

It was a classic final at Wembley.

The footage includes George Reid lifting the trophy and the lap of honour.

The players celebrate following the victory in 1984. Image: Supplied.

These were heady days.

Roy Halpin, Allard Leblanc and Chris Brinster are among the favourites returning to mark the 40th anniversary at the Whitehall Theatre.

The players will meet the fans while sharing stories and cherished memories.

Roy Halpin became a record-breaker

Roy scored over 400 goals and 350 assists between 1981 and 1985.

He even found his way into the Guinness Book of Records during 1981/82 for the most goals in one British League game, netting 14 against Durham Wasps.

Roy Halpin during his days with the Rockets.
Roy Halpin during his days with the Rockets. Image: Supplied.

He told me: “After I scored an 11th goal early in the third period, the announcer tells the fans over the speakers that I had just tied the British ice hockey record.

“The Durham Wasps corrected him!

“The record was 12 as it was a Durham Wasp that had accomplished that feat.

“Until the announcer mentioned this record, no one was aware of how many goals I had scored including myself.

“The Wasps proceeded to put two players covering me for the rest of the game.

“The boys agreed that I would simply avoid touching the puck until I was near the Wasps net where they would try to create an opportunity for me to score.

“I managed to score three more goals on great set-ups by Chris and Ronnie to reach the 14 goals total as published in the 1983 Guinness Book of Records.

“Of course these records are uncommon and are a matter of circumstances and luck.

“This record was a team effort as emphasised by the final game result of 24-1.”

Short life and fast times of Dundee Rockets

The Canadian winger was also the holder of the British senior record for a season with 151 goals and 254 points in 48 games in 1981/82.

The Rockets were invincible when they were at the height of their powers.

The footage backs that up.

Screengrab from footage of Dundee Rockets' 1984 British Championship victory, which won them their third Grand Slam.
The footage of Dundee Rockets’ glory run in the 1980s when they won three Grand Slams in a row. Image: Supplied.

The 1987 season marked the end for the Rockets dynasty.

Tom Stewart relinquished his ties with the team and the Rockets were no more.

They were renamed the Tayside Tigers in 1988 before being dropped from the top flight in 1989 following the closure of the Dundee rink.

Chris Brinster went back to New York but returned to play for the Dundee Tigers in 1991 and won the Scottish First Division title.

He went back home when the Kingsway Rink was demolished.

Still from footage of Dundee Rockets at Wembley in 1984.
Footage of Dundee Rockets at Wembley in 1984, after their third Grand Slam victory. Image: Supplied.

Chris said: “The biggest highlight and thrill for me besides winning is the relationships that I made during those years playing for Dundee Rockets.

“Not only with the players but many of the fans too.

“It is important to keep those memories alive and pay it forward.

“I can’t even put into words how it is going to feel to meet and share those memories when I arrive in Dundee for the 40th anniversary celebrations.

“It is trip of a lifetime down memory lane reminiscing again about everything that took place all those years ago.

“I can’t wait to join everyone on June 26.

“It is going to be a blast.”