THE name James Foster is not one which gets mentioned very often, if at all in fact, when Scotland’s greatest ever sports men and women are being discussed.

Jim Clark, Andy Murray, Eric Liddell, Denis Law, Ken Buchanan, Sir Chris Hoy, Liz McColgan, Sandy Lyle, Sir Jackie Stewart, Andy Irvine, Stephen Hendry, Sir Kenny Dalglish, Eve Muirhead and Alan Wells will invariably be included in the conversation.

But Jimmy Foster? Few people in his homeland have even heard of him. But they most certainly should have.

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The Glasgow-born goalie won a gold medal with the Great Britain ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics which were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany - the Alpine town in Bavaria where the Scotland squad is based during the Euro 2024 finals – back in 1936.

It was a feat which was not matched by any Scottish athlete for another 66 years.

It was only when Rhona Martin, Debbie Knox, Fiona MacDonald and Janice Rankin beat Switzerland in the final of the women’s curling event at Salt Lake City in 2002 that his achievement was finally replicated.

The Herald: Foster was born and brought up in Glasgow. But in 1911 when he was six his family emigrated to Canada. He took up ice hockey in his new home town of Winnipeg in Manitoba and excelled. He played for the Winnipeg Argonauts, the University of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Winnipegs, the Elwood Millionaires and the Moncton Hawks.

He once went an unprecedented 417 minutes, a new Canadian record, without conceding a goal and unsurprisingly became renowned as “the world’s finest goaltender”.

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Foster almost missed the Olympics because he had been suspended by the Canadian amateur Hockey Association for not seeking permission to play internationally with Richmond Hawks in London the year before. 

The Ligue International de Hockey sur Glace ruled that he was ineligible to compete. His ban was only lifted on the eve of the opening match. His Great Britain team mates were grateful it was.

The player who was nicknamed “The Parson” because he had once considered entering the church, conceded just three goals in seven games and kept four shut outs.

The Herald: The 1936 Winter Olympic Games lacked the controversy of the Summer Olympic Games which were held in Berlin five months later.

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The Nazis removed antisemitic signage around Garmisch-Partenkirchen before the competing nations arrived and allowed, under pressure of a boycott by the United States, the Jewish player Rudi Ball to represent the German ice hockey team.

Adolf Hitler, who attended the opening ceremony and several events, would not have been best pleased when his country was held to a 1-1 draw by their British opponents in the second round and failed to progress to the final round.

The Olympic-Eissport-Zentrum where Foster, who passed away aged 64 in 1969 and who was posthumously inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame last year, won his gold medal is where Scotland have set up their media centre during Euro 2024.

Hopefully, national team goalkeeper Angus Gunn performs with the same prowess as his illustrious but little-known compatriot against Germany, Switzerland and Hungary in the coming days.

The Herald: