Ben Acton

Ben Acton, a plumber from Footscray, captained the Australian Ice Hockey team at their first Olympic campaign in Squaw Valley in 1960.

Acton started playing Field Hockey in 1941, playing for Australia in the fifties, and also became a utility player on the ice, equally talented in attack of defense.

In 1960 Acton was nominated captain of both the Olympic Field Hockey team to compete in Rome, and the Olympic Ice Hockey team to compete at Squaw Valley, California. However, he could only afford to participate in one event. His image (above) shows him flipping a coin to decide, although his true love was Ice Hockey.

Squaw Valley was a David and Goliath battle for the Aussie team, who were actually at their peak in 1956 but a shortfall in funds meant that they had to wait until 1960 for an invitation and financial help from the Americans to get there.

The Australian team mainly comprised tradesmen who had gravitated to suburban ice rinks in search of entertainment after World War II. All the players except Sydneysider Rob Dewhurst were from Victoria, and they competed in one of Australia's few Ice Hockey leagues - practicing for an hour a week at the St Moritz rink in St Kilda.

The team arrived with just a couple of days before competition, with no time to acclimatise to the Valley which was 1500m above sea level. The rarefied air, fast ice and the fact that all players were amateurs in the true sense of the word, meant that they had a difficult tournament ahead.

The team played six games and lost all of them - scoring 9 goals but conceding 83. They placed ninth.

Olympic Results

Games Attended