BORN ABOUT 1928 IN SCOTLAND, he skated at the Premier ice rink in Perth from around the time it opened in late-1962. He was one of a half-dozen to respond to Larry Deghelli's call for prospective ice hockey players early in 1963, with fellow Scot, Norm Taylor and Canadian Jim Gray. He helped set up boards, netting and goals, then set about equipping players.
Goalies wore cricket pads, welder's gloves, pieces of foam, carpet fibreglass, felt and old house mats usually belonging to his wife, Marina, pooled with anything that was soft and available. The players modified army shorts and sewed footy socks together to produce socks long enough to cover their shin pads. Regulation wood sticks were not available in the west and usually took a year after ordering to arrive from the eastern states, and so they organised a boat builder to mould fibreglass sticks.
By 1964, four teams consisting of 6 players each were competing 4 at a time on the tiny ice rink. In 1967, he was the State association's first secretary-treasurer and a committee member along with president Larry Deghelli, Norm Taylor, Jim Gray and Marty Grant. They financed the association through car washes, barbeques and raffles. On top of playing and coaching, he and Deghelli handled the bulk of the administration as president and secretary-treasurer, respectively. In 1976, their efforts were finally rewarded when the national association officially sanctioned the State, 11 years after it was founded.
He coached the 12-man Brown Trophy team with Deghelli in Melbourne in 1977, WA's first representative ice hockey team. The boys from the west were not allowed to compete without uniforms, but they returned to the Brown Trophy tournament hosted in Brisbane the next year, where they were winless, but competitive. A few years later in 1980, his State shocked everybody by tying Victoria for first place in the Brown Trophy. The underdog giant killers went on to crush Victoria and win its first ever national ice hockey championship televised by the ABC. That year, he and Deghelli received the first Life Memberships of the state association.
In 1981, he helped organise the first junior ice hockey games in Western Australia. With the opening of Ice World at Mirabooka in February 1982 came sponsorship for both the Junior league and A-grade teams. In June, the State had 15 coaches with Level 1 National Accreditation following a course conducted by National Coaching Director Elgin Luke and Bob Blackburn from Melbourne. Game quality had also improved dramatically, producing 3 Australian All Stars from the Under-21 series in Melbourne in 1982 (Mike Christmas, Chris Operchal, Lincoln Paiva), and 3 from the Goodall Cup series in Brisbane (Grant, Rod Hare, Jeff Wilford).
In 1983, he coached the U13 national champs with Team Director, Larry Deghelli, unbeaten and outscoring opponents 41 to 0. The same year he was also coach of the state's first Tange team (U17). His coaching clinics for youngsters continued with Larry Deghelli and the Association registrations exceeded one hundred for the first time.
By that time the Junior League (U17 and U13) had 4 teams — the Red Wings, Falcons, Ice Runners and Cobras — thanks in large part to the clinics and school programs they ran. His wife was on the tournament committee of the first national staged in Perth in 1983, acknowledged as perhaps the best run and most successful in the history of the Australian game. Over the years that followed, he coached many other local and state teams.
Awarded the S M and H C Hudson Sportsman of the Year trophy for 10 years of continuous service to Australian Ice Hockey in 2006, he is the only Western Australian recipient since the trophy was first established in 1964. A Life Member of the national association In 2011, he was the second Western Australian Member of all time after Dave Minson (2005).
A Life Member of the Hawks IHC and its eldest member, he was still actively assisting the Hawks Pee Wee teams in recent times. "Larry Deghelli was the backbone of WA hockey," said Greg Eeles. "And Jim Bremner is the rock." His hockey career here has extended well over 50 years.
Ross Carpenter, 'Bremner, Jim (1928 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio-bremner.html, accessed online .
1. Some historical detail from the article The History of Ice Hockey in WA, June 1983, publication unknown.
2. 1983 WAIHA Hockey News, WA Ice Hockey Association