Without the menace of a German Chancellor to stop them, the new team took to the ice for the first time as a professional outfit on 22nd November 1946 against the Wembley Monarchs. Although the 3–2 victory achieved that night proved to be one of the few highlights of an otherwise disappointing inaugural season, a long standing love affair between Nottingham and its ice hockey team had begun. The opening night victory was the Panthers’ last win for three months and the season would end with the upstarts rooted firmly to the foot of the table.

The 1947–48 season proved little better, but was a greatly significant one. When Alex Archer’s first choice centre pulled out of the team with days to go until the boat set sail, he had little option but to advice a 21-year old Chick Zamick, who had pestered the Panthers coach for a place on the team, that he was now a Nottingham Panthers player. If one man did more than any other to help establish the sport in the city, then that man was Chick Zamick.

The club’s second season was a minor improvement on its first. With 13 wins from 36 games, the Panthers managed to avoid a second wooden spoon by a single point. That the Harringay Greyhounds could be beaten at all can be put down to the 43 goals and 44 assists scored by Zamick. A further sixteen points in the Autumn Cup left the Panthers’ new star centre with an 100 point season, the first of nine he would achieve during his eleven seasons playing for the club.

Although Panthers continued to struggle during their first few years of existence, a few other faces that would come to be synonymous with the original era were already part of the side. Les Strongman and Ken Westman were part of the first ever team and, after Alex Archer resigned as coach in 1948, another Olympic gold medallist in Archie Stinchcombe took over the club. Signs of a break through appeared during the 1949–50 season when the Panthers won the Sussex Daily Cup, but it was 1950–51 when the club finally began to shine.


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