27 Bolton Street
LONDON W1Y 7PD
BRUCE A. NORRIS LIONS Chairman
JOHN A. ZIEGLER LIONS Vice Chairman
JOSEPH G. BESCH LIONS Managing
ALAN WEEKS LIONS DOUG BARKLEY
TRAINER: AL COATES
Bruce A. Norris
Born 19 February 1924, Chicago, Illinois. Bruce was the youngest member of one of hockey's best known families and ran the Detroit Red Wings for 27 years. On June 22, 1982, Norris sold the Red Wings to Mike Ilitch thus ending nearly half a century of his family's ownership. Norris was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969. Died 1 January 1986.
John A. Ziegler
Born 9 February 1934, Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Ziegler studied law at the University of Michigan then joined the prestigious Detroit firm of Dickson, Wright, McKean and Cudlip. His association with the league went back to 1959 when he took on Bruce Norris and the Olympia Stadium interests as a client. In 1977 Ziegler became President of the NHL. During his presidency the NHL reached an accommodation with the World Hockey Association which led to the addition of the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and Winnipeg Jets in time for the 1979/80 season. Ziegler stepped down as NHL president in 1992. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987.
Joseph G. Besch
Besch was an executive of the Norris Grain Company in charge of international affairs. An article in Finnish newspaper Aamulehti (Tampere) in May 1973 also refers to him as "the former president of IHL", i.e. the International Hockey League. Besch also had a long association with the Detroit Red Wing organisation and headed television and film producing companies in the Norris Group. The European Ice Hockey League press release of 14 September 1972 refers to him as "interim and acting President of the League". His headquarter during the stint with the London Lions was in Vienna, Austria. Besch had been there before. It was in Vienna where he - as an American officer - had met and married Austrian actress Gusti Haber after WW2. One of their daughters, the late Bibi Besch, became an actress while twins Andrew Besch and Drea Gillogly work as television marketing executives in the US. The four grandchildren of Joe Besch includes actress Samantha Mathis, daughter of Bibi and thus a 3rd Generation actress.
Born in 1924 in Bristol, Somerset, England. Weeks grew up in Brighton where he became a fan - and later Publicity Manager and secretary - of the Brighton Tigers icehockey club. Broadcaster with BBC TV for 45 years 1951-96, covering seven Winter Olympics, five Summer Olympics, five Commonwealth Games and four football World Cups. He was a member of the BIHA Council, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain and president of the English National League in 1981-82. Elected to the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. Alan Weeks retired from the BBC in March 1996 through illness and died on June 11th the same year at the age of 72.
Douglas "Doug" Norman Barkley
Born 6 January 1937 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Barkley played in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1957. He was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in 1962-63. Barkley's playing career was tragically ended when an on-ice accident on 30 January 1966 left him without vision in his right eye. After his injury, Barkley joined the Detroit front office, working in public relations. He turned to coaching in 1968 and over the years he coached the Wings' farm teams in Fort Worth, Norfolk and London. He took over as the Red Wings' head coach for the final 40 games of the 1970-71 season and lasted through the first 11 games of the 1971-72 season before being fired. Barkley got a return engagement as the Wings' coach at the start of the 1975-76 season, lasting 26 games before being fired again. Barkley eventually settled in Calgary.
Born in Listowel, Ontario. Coates played hockey at and graduated with a business administration degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now University) in Toronto. Then he worked on Jim Bishop's training staff with the Oshawa Green Gaels when they won the 1969 Canadian Junior championship. Coates went to Europe in the early 70s, unsuccesfully trying to secure a spot as a hockey player in Austria. Instead he went to the Netherlands where he launched a hockey program in a new rink in Utrecht, teaching hockey to kids from 7 to 47, coaching teams and running in-house leagues. After a year, he wrote to Bishop, then part of the Detroit Red Wings organization, saying he wanted to use his business degree. The Red Wings gave him the job of launching their Norfolk franchise as its business manager. After the experiences with Tidewater/Virginia Wings and London Lions, Coates spent the next five years as a part of the Red Wings front office staff. In 1980-81 he joined the Calgary Flames after the franchise moved from Atlanta. He was the general manager of the Flames from 1996-2000. After spending three years with the New York Rangers, Coates recently became the general manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He now lives in Yorba Linda, California, with his wife Jane and three children Katie, Carlee and Jeffrey.
John Cumming Carlyle
Born in 1929 in Falkirk, Scotland, where he played hockey for the Falkirk Lions in the 1950s. In 1955 he moved south to join the Harringay Racers. Carlyle was in the line-up when the Racers played 3-3 against the Soviets in December 1957. He took to coaching in 1960 with the Edinburgh Royals. Internationally, Johnnie Carlyle played nine times for Scotland and appeared for Great Britain in the World Championships of 1950 and 1951. He was player/coach to the squad in 1961 and also coached the national team in 1971 and 1973. His role as "Scottish representative" may have been a first step to add a Scottish team to the proposed European League. Carlyle was elected to the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
John "Bunny" Ahearne
Born 19 November 1900, County Wexford, Ireland. Ahearne lived most of his life in England. He was a travel agent whose efficiency and organizational skills guided him up through the ranks of the British Ice Hockey Association. IIHF officials elected him vice-president in 1955, and he became president two years later. He continued to serve in both capacities until he retired 20 years later. Ahearne was an early advocate of the involvement of television in sports. He played a major role in securing profitable broadcasting rights to international games, while also popularizing the idea of selling advertising space on the boards in arenas. In 1977 Bunny Ahearne was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category and in 1986 he was elected to the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. He died 11 April 1985.