Born in Winnipeg to a Ukrainian family, Chick Zamick is arguably the most talented player ever to wear a Panthers shirt and was rated one of the leading players in European hockey in the 1950s.
A centreman, Zamick arrived from Canada as a late replacement for the 1947-48 season, reputedly with just a few pounds in his pocket and wearing a suit he borrowed from his brother. Despite his diminutive size, he made a huge impact on the Panthers and on British hockey. He ended his first season in second place in league scoring, and went one better the following year, recording ten hat tricks in the British National league alone, winning the league’s Player of the Year and a spot on the all-star team.
When the Panthers won their first league title in 1950-51, Zamick was once again the league’s top scorer and was voted “Most Popular Player”. In the same year, he was voted Nottingham’s “Sportsman of the Year” (the first of two occasions he won the award), beating legendary figures like Tommy Lawton (Notts County FC) and Reg Simpson (Nottinghamshire CCC).
He missed a large chunk of the following season through injury, but still recorded the best points per game average in the league and retained his place on the all-star team! Zamick led the Panthers in scoring in each of the next six seasons, topping the 100-point mark on each occasion, earning another four all-star selections and playing a huge part in the Panthers’ league title triumphs in 1954 and 1956. He was even player/coach of the team in 1957-58!
Chick Zamick eventually left the Panthers in 1958 to take up a coaching role in Switzerland. He subsequently returned to make his home in his adopted city of Nottingham. Along with former team mates Les Strongman and the late Lorne Smith, Chick was a guest of honour at the final game in the old Nottingham Ice Stadium. In November 2005, he unveiled a plaque at the NIC celebrating his scoring exploits and his contribution to Nottingham ice hockey. Sadly, Chick passed away in October 2007.
Zamick led the way in appearances (624), goals (778), assists (645) and points (1423) in the first era of Panthers hockey and is second on the all-time points list. His name is the first on the lips of any Panthers fan from those days, and I only wish I had had the opportunity to see his skills on display for the team.
Profile written by Ian Braisby